There are about 53,500 graduate students in the University System. The cost of student fees, which help fund health care, athletics, transportation and other costs, have been a longtime concern for students. Mandatory fees at some schools are more than $1,000. The University System created a task force late last year to look at student fees. The University of Georgia, which has about 7,500 graduate students, announced in November it would add $100,000 last year and another $100,000 this year to an emergency fund for students facing financial hardship.
State Rep. David Dreyer, D-Atlanta, who also spoke at the rally, said he plans to introduce legislation later this month to address the concerns, particularly wages. Gov. Brian Kemp’s proposed budget includes $1,000 raises for all state workers, including those in the University System, with annual salaries below $40,000. The demonstrators applauded the plan, but say that’s still not enough.