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Graduate Leadership Council


The Gym. Libraries. Safe Ride. Shuttles. Health Services. Childcare Subsidy. Health Insurance Subsidy ... ( Several 'made-up' WTP curves are presented for example) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Graduate Leadership Council

Graduate Leadership Council
Activities Fee Public Opinion and QA
Meeting January 24, 2007
Presentation Overview
  • Introduction to the GLC
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • QA Session with GLC Delegates
  • Public discussion

Graduate Leadership Council
Composition The GLC consists of delegates from
graduate student organizations recognized by The
Graduate School.
GSA Graduate Student Association CGSA Chicago
Graduate Student Association BGSA Black Graduate
Student Association CSSA Chinese Students
Scholars Association G-SALSA Graduate Student
Association for Latino and Spanish
Activities QPGSA Queer Pride Graduate Student
  • Purpose of the GLC is to
  • Promote a successful graduate educational
    experience and act as a platform for voicing
    common graduate student concerns.
  • Facilitate communication and interaction between
    the graduate students and university
  • Assist TGS and the University in planning and
    implementing policies, events, and initiatives
    that concern graduate students.

Frequently Asked Questions
The survey question didnt tell us that we would
have to pay for the U-Pass, or how much the
U-Pass would cost.
This information was included in this survey
10. With the UPASS program through the
university, getting unlimited CTA rides would
cost 50-60 per quarter, which pays for itself in
1-2 round trips per week. Would you be willing to
pay 50-60 per quarter for unlimited use of the
CTA buses and trains (the UPASS program)?
People may be remembering prior surveys which
also had answers saying Yes, but only if
included in tuition
Example (2003)
No, I do not need the UPass
Yes, if the Upass were charged to my tuition
The question should have been wordedDo you
support a mandatory fee for the U-Pass...
You are correct, we acknowledge that once we knew
there would be no opt-out for the U-Pass, we
should have worded the question to make it clear
that the U-Pass would have to be mandatory for
everyone if adopted.
The survey should have been a referendum or
There is some merit to this grievance, we will
discuss this in more detail later, as well as
during the question and answer session.
Why isnt there an opt out?
Opt Out
  • An opt out option was considered, TGS decided it
    involved too much financial risk
  • The university would still have to pay for the
    U-Pass for those who opted out
  • If the program is priced too high or too low it
    could run a deficit.
  • The opt-out has NOT been ruled out categorically,
    just for the next two quarters.

Why was the U-Pass adopted during winter
TGS wanted to provide the service to graduate
students as soon as possible. Talks with CTA had
been ongoing for over a year, and various
administrative hurdles were still being cleared
during fall quarter.
Why couldnt the U-Pass be included in tuition?
U-Pass in Tuition?
  • Administrative reasons why it could not be
    included in tuition.
  • If the U-Pass could be included in tuition, it
    would only have resulted in lower stipend raises
    or lower health insurance subsidies.

More details on the next slide.
TGS Budget
Travel Grants
Tuition Waivers Stipends
Health Insurance Subsidy
Not representative of TGS Budget
All the money comes from the same place.
If the U-Pass were included in tuition, it would
have resulted in less money for stipends or
health insurance (waived tuition is part of the
TGS Budget).
TGS Budget Division?
If not everybody wants everything, how do we
decide where to spend the money? This will
always be a problem.
It is in the best interests of the students for
TGS to provide services that are diverse and that
benefit them as a whole.
Other University Services
  • The Gym
  • Libraries
  • Safe Ride
  • Shuttles
  • Health Services
  • Childcare Subsidy
  • Health Insurance Subsidy
  • Travel Grants.
  • Parking Lots

Included in Tuition
Paid by TGS
Permits only pay for the labor and maintenance,
not the land, a valuable university resource.
We view the U-Pass as in the same category of
services, even though it is being implemented
through a mandatory fee.
TGS Initiatives - Stipend
  • TGS gave a 4 base stipend increase from last
    year, higher than the usual 2-3 increase.
  • GLC recommended this level of increase because
    our stipends were falling behind those of our
    peer universities.
  • While we note this increase we do not present it
    as part of the same initiative the U-Pass and
    the stipend increase were two separate GLC

Why did the GLC rely on the survey for its
decision to recommend the U-Pass?
Graduate Student Survey
  • Sent to all students in TGS via e-mail in October
  • 963 graduate students took the survey
  • 963 32.1 of all graduate students
  • 254 written responses to final survey question
    soliciting concerns for GLC to review, many
    requesting the U-Pass.

  • The demographics of the survey reflect the
    approximate actual distribution of students.

By Campus
Figures from 2005 report. 2006 survey
demographics are similar.
  • Among respondents, the survey showed majority
    support for the U-Pass across all
  • Disciplines
  • Stipend Ranges
  • Campuses
  • Years
  • Commuting Types (including drivers)

What about self-selection bias? Where those who
feel the most strongly about the U-Pass are the
most likely to respond?
Graduate Student Survey
  • Possible.
  • Self-selection bias would exist even if it were a
    vote, not a survey.
  • The survey was not just about the U-Pass, but was
    a general survey, including such issues as
    Stipends, Health Insurance, and Childcare.
  • Health Insurance affects the take home pay of
    students much more than the U-Pass it alone
    merits taking the survey.

  • Everyone should take the survey those who dont
    want change should still take the survey as its
    known to decide policy.
  • Now the situation is reversed those who dont
    want the U-Pass are the ones who want change.
  • Recommending policy based on a school wide survey
    is a fairer way of recommending policy rather
    than listening to those who are the most vocal
    (both before the U-Pass, and after).

Is it legal to give students mandatory fees?
Mandatory Fees
  • Yes, Health Services fees, Facilities Fees,
    Activities Fees are routinely administered at
  • At public schools, they must be approved by the
    state state legislature.
  • At Northwestern the Board of Trustees operates
    like the legislature in this regard the BoT had
    to approve the mandatory fee.

Is it against our student rights to instill a
feewithout a vote?
"Students will have their views and welfare
considered in the formation of University policy
and will be consulted by or represented on
University committees that affect students as
members of the University community." The
graduate student survey and the Graduate
Leadership Council's input are both reasonable
representations of student views, both of which
were considered. It was on the GLC's
recommendation with majority support in the
survey that the U-Pass was adopted, with the
intention of benefiting the graduate student
The TGS website shows
Why doesnt the U-Pass include the Metra?
We would have liked the U-Pass to include the
Metra. A year or so ago, the CTA allowed the
U-Pass to be used for the Metra on a trial basis
for several months. We were disappointed when
they decided not to keep the Metra within the
program.It should be noted that the back of the
U-Pass card is incorrect, the U-Pass DOES work on
PACE Buses.
Does the U-Pass economically benefit our
graduate student population?
Economical? Yes.
  • Based on the survey
  • About 30 of graduate students commute using the
  • Costs are 225 per commuter per quarter.
  • Another 30 of students are willing to pay
    50-60 for the U-Pass.
  • About 2700 students are in the program.
  • Estimated minimum worth to graduate students
  • 2700 x 30 x 225 2700 x 30 x 56 227,610
  • Cost to students
  • 2700 x 100 x 56 151,200
  • Savings 227,610 - 151,200 76,410 per quarter

More Economic AnalysisWhat if not all the
students had to pay?(Why couldnt we have an
The cost of the U-Pass program is fixed given the
number of students. If students can opt out, the
cost of U-Pass per person would have to go up to
make up the difference.
(Continued on Next Slide )
If we set the price too high or two low, we would
lose money. When the red points the
willingness to pay (WTP) -- are below the cost
curve, the program loses money. The red points
below are only estimates based on the survey.
(Continued on Next Slide )
No one knows what the real WTP curve looks like
(the red points arent even exact), so no one
knows what price would be good for an opt-out.
(Several made-up WTP curves are presented for
Its possible that there would be no fiscally
positive part of the curve for an opt-out.
In the past summer, these WTP points and the cost
curve were plotted. However, during the same
time period, the TGS administration decided to
exclude the possibility of an opt-out due to the
financial risk, so the GLC forewent collecting
more WTP points.One feasible solution could
To collect more points of the WTP curve, and then
set the U-Pass price higher than 56 with an
opt-out, accepting that the program wont pay for
itself, and have TGS pay for the difference.
This would result in a fiscally negative program,
but would put the largest brunt of the financial
burden on those who want the U-Pass, while
spreading the deficit across all graduate
students (resulting in lower subsidies etc., but
substantially less burden than the mandatory
The GLC recommended the U-Pass to benefit the
graduate student population economically and to
encourage public transportation for all the
benefits that come with it.
Continued Surveying
  • GLC will monitor student satisfaction with the
  • First survey will go out before summer
  • The possibility of an opt-out has not been
    categorically ruled out.
  • The survey is important for both those who want
    the U-Pass and those who would want to opt-out,
    in order to set the U-Pass price as low as
    possible while keeping the programs deficit as
    affordable as possible.

Important Information
  • The U-Pass DOES work on Pace Buses.
  • You CAN return your parking permit for a
    quarterly refund. If you return your permit
    through the fifth day of Spring Quarter you will
    get reimbursed 219 (for a full-year permit).
  • Keep your Chicago Card! A new U-Pass card is
    issued every quarter, the U-Pass does not work
    during part of winter break, and during the break
    before fall quarter.
  • The U-Pass does work during spring break, and the
    start of summer.

How to get Involved
  • Sign up to help with creating and analyzing the
    U-Pass satisfaction survey, and other issues
    (sign-up sheet at front)
  • Volunteer with or run for office for the Graduate
    Student Association
  • http//
  • Other issues include Childcare, Health
    Insurance, Graduate Housing, Vacation Time

Some additional questions
  • Can part time students get the U-Pass?
  • The U-Pass is available for full time students
  • What about students studying abroad?
  • Students studying abroad on foreign exchange are
    not included in the U-Pass program.
  • Whats the percentage of students living in
    Evanston? If its large, whats the point of
    having a UPASS?
  • Only a small minority of survey respondents was
    from the Chicago campus. The vast majority of
    survey respondents who were in favor of the
    U-Pass were from the Evanston campus.
  • Do you think UPASS will reduce the car usage?
  • In the 2005 Survey, 1/3 of drivers who took the
    survey indicated that they would use their car
    less often. We hope that those who switch to
    the U-Pass for commuting and general use will
    help ease traffic and parking congestion.

Some additional questions
  • Isnt the NU shuttle enough? Why a UPASS?
  • As mentioned in the 2005 GLC Annual report, the
    expansion of the shuttle system was considered.
    However, there is no way the shuttle system could
    feasibly match the public transportation system,
    particularly for students who live further from
    campus and for whom no logical main route could
    be made.
  • Additionally, expanding the shuttle expansion
    would be very expensive (a bus drivers salary is
    30,000-40,000 a year, even before other costs
    such as gas, buses, maintenance, etc.)
  • Can the shuttle be eliminated and use that money
    to pay for the UPass?
  • No, the shuttles have a variety of uses and are
    used by more than just the graduate population.
  • Can Northwestern buy a bulk CTA passes, at lower
    cost than the commercial one, instead of
    enrolling all grad students in the UPASS?
  • No, to our knowledge the CTA does not offer such
    a program.

Other Parts of the Activity Fee
Student Activity Fee 60/qtr
  • U-Pass 56
  • Legal Services 2-3
  • TGS Community Building 1-2

At large delegates on the GLC?
The GLC is currently comprised of graduate
student delegates from the different graduate
student organizationsThe possibility of using
the activity fee to pay for at large delegates
elected directly from the graduate student
population is currently under consideration
(current and future leaders of graduate student
organizations would not be eligible for these
positions).In the meantime, we will likely have
our first elections for At Large delegates some
time this year, though this year a stipend would
not be part of the position for at large
delegates.We hope that having at large
delegates will increase involvement in graduate
student issues.