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The University is prepared to provide the amount of money necessary to cover graduate student financial aid as calculated on the basis of need, R. Victor Jones, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), said yesterday.
Jones also said that he personally was willing to argue at any level to see that the necessary funds were made available. He also said, however, that "of course, there's a great suspicion that the needed criteria will be geared to fit a certain amount of dough."
Jones spoke yesterday afternoon to an informal two-hour meeting of Faculty members in Boylston Hall. Three members of the Steering Committee of the Graduate Student and Teaching Fellow Union also addressed the meeting and fielded questions from the 24 professors present.
"The Union has never been opposed to introducing a need criteria into these decisions," Mahmood Mamdani, a teaching fellow in Government, said. "But we are fundamentally opposed to the Administration's manner of using need criteria to obfuscate the issue of the paucity of funds."
Jones told the meeting that the issue of tuition abatement and financial aid involves two separate questions--how much money as a whole would be available and how that money was to be dispensed. He said that Dean Dunlop was ultimately responsible for the total working budget of the scholarship program, and that the total amount of money available would increase by $100,000 for next year.
Jones said that the Committee on Fellowships and other Aids--which will meet on Monday--has the final decision-making power on the issue of distribution of aid, and that his personal feeling was that the Committee would adopt a need criteria for aid. "But I would like to get as much input as possible before we decide," he added.
Under the need criteria outlined in a statement released by Jones Wednesday morning, the cost of living for a single student in Cambridge is estimated at $25,000 per year. The Committee on Fellowship tentative proposal that this be established as a ceiling on combined income, savings and aid prompted Union representatives to leave a Faculty Council meeting Wednesday afternoon.
At yesterday's meeting Everett I. Mendelsohn, professor of the History of Science, sharply disagreed with Jones over the issue of need. Analyzing the breakdown of a student's expenses he concluded that the figure of $2500 "as a base level just doesn't make a lot of sense."
Mendelsohn also said that he would like to see the GSAS return to the situation which existed before the financial aid revisions were originally announced so that graduate students could have a role determining the reappraisal of the scholarship question.
Jones clashed with several professors over the nature of the Staff Tuition Scholarship (STS) program which provides money for teaching fellows. In response to the allegation that the elimination of the STS represented a cut in salary, Jones said the STS was not salary but "a very clumsy need-dependent system of untaxed income."
"In my view going back to STS would be a step backward," Jones said. "I feel it is an irresponsible system which I am strongly against.
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