GSC discusses new status
By Dave Watt
The Graduate Student Council discussed a proposal on Tuesday to offer an "All-But-Dissertation" registration status for graduate students. The GSC also nominated candidates for next fall's officers.
The GSC has been pushing to begin ABD status, which would offer substantially discounted tuition for graduate students who have completed all of their classwork, but have not yet written their dissertations.
But Dean of the Graduate School Frank E. Perkins '55 said he thought it would be difficult to fund a broad ABD status. He estimated that a broadly applied ABD status, which would apply to roughly 1000 graduate students, would cost the Institute $12-18 million per year.
Perkins did say that many faculty members support the idea of an ABD status, but for now, only minor reforms in the current non-resident student status would be possible.
Non-resident student status offers students discounts on tuition if they use no laboratory or office space, take no classes, receive no financial support from MIT, use no computing facilities, and do not live in Institute housing.
Students who remain enrolled at MIT as non-resident students pay 15 percent of normal tuition, or $1170 per term. In addition, they must pay 50 percent of normal tuition during the semester in which they graduate.
About 150 students are now enrolled as non-resident students. According to Perkins, they come primarily from the most poorly funded departments on campus: political science, architecture, and urban studies and planning. Many of these students work part- or full-time while continuing to write their dissertations as non-resident students, Perkins said.
Many other major universities offer various kinds of ABD status, both for master's degrees and doctoral degrees. During his talk, Perkins cited examples from eight other major research universities, seven of which offer some kind of ABD status.
In justifying MIT's inability to offer ABD status to its students, Perkins said that the Institute has historically tried to use federal research grant money to pay for most graduate tuitions, and that making a transition to more MIT support would be difficult.
"MIT has been very successful at leveraging its operation on research support instead of endowed university fellowships," Perkins said.
Candidates nominated for
next year's officers
At the end of the meeting, the GSC accepted nominations for next year's officers. More nominations and elections for officers will take place at the GSC's next meeting.
Rosina Samadani, Mary E. Herndon and Furio Ciacci were nominated for president; Jennifer L. Smith, James Rilbey and Christopher S. Stipp for vice president; Ramnath Subramaniam for secretary; and Jennifer L. Smith for treasurer.
GSC Secretary David G. Steel said that more nominations and withdrawals of some of the candidates already nominated could be expected.