Published: Jan. 12, 2021

I am writing in response to a number of emails that other members of CU Boulder’s leadership team and I have recently received from graduate students about fees.

Graduate students come to CU Boulder to study, to conduct research and to receive training and mentorship opportunities that will enable them to transition into professional careers. We acknowledge and embrace the many roles they play, including the roles as research and teaching assistants, while also recognizing the relationship between graduate students and the university is primarily educational.

For more than seven years, the Graduate School has been working closely with the Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG) and other campus partners to address graduate student financial concerns. To date, the university has invested more than $8 million to provide a 27.1% increase to annual base stipends for graduate student assistants. The university also has eliminated course and program fees, the athletic fee and the student information systems (SIS) fee and has reduced the capital construction fee. It has covered the expense for RTD transit passes for graduate students on appointment, both in the summer and during the academic year; and steadily increased the subsidy to the student gold health insurance plan for eligible students, covering 91% of total cost along with fully paid dental insurance. Last year, it added six weeks of paid parental leave for graduate students on appointment.

The fees that remain in place support all graduate students, providing services and programs that enhance their academic, social, physical and mental well-being. Those services have become more vital to student success since the onset of COVID-19. There is no easy way to simply eliminate them or to shift their funding sources without eliminating or reducing these services, particularly not in these challenging budgetary times.

As always, I appreciate hearing from our graduate students and knowing about their concerns. I wish everyone a healthy and successful spring semester, and I look forward to continuing to work together on these important issues.


E. Scott Adler, PhD
Dean of the Graduate School
Vice Provost for Graduate Affairs