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TA cut backs?

  1. Jan 4, 2010 #1
    This semester my university has a lot of PhD students that are to afraid to graduate or can't be supported by their professors due to a lack of funding. So because of this there are a lot of PhD students forced to teach this semester. Of course this means that there is a huge flood of TAs this semester which the school can't afford. As a result, we are all taking about a 15% pay cut this semester. Just curious if this is happening to anyone else in the US? I always thought academia was always relatively immune to the effects of recession, but I guess not.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 4, 2010 #2
    Lousiana currently has a 85 million dollar deficit. Just like last year, the first proposed cuts are in higher education. I'm currently a RA(with funding from outside the university) and I'm afraid of the effects it will have in the following year. I've roughly 1.5-2 years left. I can only hope to make graduation. Good luck.
  4. Jan 4, 2010 #3
    A lot of the research/students/etc. at my school are funded out of one research center sponsored by a gov't organization, and the funding's been cut pretty bad, leading to all sorts of delays in people getting paid and new restrictions/actually imposing the restrictions on who can get funded.

    My school's public, so it's also been hit with lots of really bad budget cuts, leading to tuition hikes and the slashing of some of our scholarships. (New York's Vollone scholarship is a great example-it was $650 a semester when I started 5 years ago, and it's now down to $250 a semester.)
  5. Jan 4, 2010 #4
    At the places I'm familiar with, pay is stable, but the number of TA's has been reduced. Previously, professors could request graders or aides for their courses (which were assigned as TA's)... but now those non-lab TA's have been largely eliminated... making the competition among graduate students for TA's greater. Generally, first year graduate students are guaranteed a TA position for their first year... and generally upper-level students whose advisers lacked funding could still receive spots. Of course with funding issues, it's also hard for some upper level students to get out of graduate school, which often gives flexibility on the timing of a student's defense based on the start time of a post-doc or other employment (advisers are often nice about letting a student stay on until such arrangements are made).
  6. Jan 4, 2010 #5


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    Oddly enough, at my university TAs are in short supply, enough so that the department has been offering higher-grade TA positions involving more work hours with increased pay. Although I suspect that's because the size of the last two incoming classes of graduate students has been cut by nearly half compared to previous years, and goodness knows the undergrad population isn't getting any smaller...
  7. Jan 4, 2010 #6
    Over here we didn't have a pay cut. However, we didn't get a cost of living increase like we usually do, and we were told it's because the economic situation has left us with no money for pay increases for the grad students. A lot of professors are now being required to teach labs and recitations. Many of the condensed matter students who've been on RAs for quite awhile now were also forced to teach. Strangely, us high energy and astro people weren't affected, since we're on Department of Energy funding. I'm not sure why the DOE is stable, but I'm not complaining.

    Of course my advisor has been in a bad mood lately. Wonder if I'll be back in the classroom next fall...
  8. Jan 4, 2010 #7
    I think there was an article in one of the more recent issues of Science on how even tenure-track are getting cut at the University of Florida. I just skimmed and didn't read it, though, so i can't go into more detail, but I have to say I was quite surprised by the graphs that were enclosed, because this was not a case of one professor getting sacked, it was all happening on a larger scale.
  9. Jun 2, 2010 #8
    What schools are these? I had heard that all schools were cutting down on TA-ships, so I'm shocked to hear that TA-ships are in short supply or guaranteed at some schools
  10. Jun 3, 2010 #9
    Because we had to take fewer incoming first year students for Fall 2010, we will actually have a slight TA shortage for next year. Our pay increase for next year is approximately 1.5%.
  11. Jun 3, 2010 #10
    I do wonder if we're really in a recession or if this is just the beginning of the end of a country. I'm not sure if we'll ever recover.
  12. Jun 4, 2010 #11
    I'm sure we'll recover eventually. It's just a matter of time.

    And at the risk of really seeming like a Pollyanna, things seem to be heating up a bit when it comes to employment out here in Silicon Valley. Not as frantic as it once was... but companies are starting to add people again.
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