Grad Program Directors’ letter in response to Coinsurance

Prof. John R. Mullin, Dean of the Graduate School
Prof. Jean Kim, Vice-Chancellor Student Affairs and Campus Life
Prof. James V. Staros, Provost

November 28th, 2011

Dear Colleagues,
We, the Graduate Program Directors of 29 departments and programs, are writing to express our deep concerns about the recent and upcoming changes to student health services, particularly the changes to the Student Health Insurance Policy.

Many of our graduate students and their families rely on the care provided by University Health Services, and will be negatively impacted by the cuts in services announced November 1st. Because of the importance of these services to the well-being of our students, we had hoped, and continue to hope, that they might be spared some of the impact of the budget cuts our University is facing.

The new health insurance policy is an especially large burden for our students. Because of its 15%/$5000 co-insurance clause, a pregnancy, illness or accident can have disastrous financial consequences. Graduate student stipends do not allow them to budget for these sorts of contingencies. The Provost sees the improvement and expansion of graduate training as one of the University’s main priorities. In light of that goal, this change is counter-productive, since it will negatively effect graduate student recruitment and successful degree completion. We used to be able to tout our student health insurance plan as amongst the best in our nation’s public universities; it is suddenly no longer something that we can be proud of.

Prof. Tom Braden, Mathematics and Statistics
Prof. Laurie Brown, Geosciences
Prof. Charli Carpenter, Political Science
Prof. Stephen Clingman, English
Prof. Harley Erdman, Theater
Prof. David Ford, Chemical Engineering
Prof. Sanjiv Gupta, Sociology
Prof. Karen Helfer, Communication Disorders
Prof. Flournoy Hollland, English MFA
Prof. William M. Irvine, Astronomy
Prof. Linda M. Isbell, Psychology
Prof. Geunhwa Jung, Plant, Soil and Insect Sciences
Prof. Igor Kaltashov and J.M. Stowe, Chemistry
Prof. Elizabeth L. Krause, Anthropology
Prof. Krishna Kumar, Physics
Prof. Kathleen Lugosch, Architecture and Design
Prof. Jesse Mager, Veterinary and Animal Science
Prof. Sridhar Mahadevan, Computer Science
Prof. Kevin McGarigal, Environmental Conservation
Prof. Barbara Osborne, Molecular and Cellular Biology
Prof. Joe Pater, Linguistics
Prof. Erica Scharrer, Communication
Prof. Manisha Sinha, Afro-American Studies
Prof. Paula Stamps, Public Health
Prof. Banu Subramaniam, Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Prof. Elsbeth L Walker, Plant Biology
Prof. Eve Weinbaum, Labor Studies
Prof. Barbara Zecchi, Spanish and Portuguese
Prof. Enhua Zhang, Chinese

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