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Students Approve of New UROP Guidelines

By Ramy Arnaout and Eva Moy
staff reporters

Many students are appreciative of the new three-week acceptance period -- April 1-22 -- for summer Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program proposals.

With this change, "there is no advantage to being first -- that's what we're trying to eliminate," said UROP Director Norma G. McGavern. The window of opportunity for submitting applications before funding ran out last term was about 24 hours, she said.

In addition, summer proposals requesting the waiver of overhead and employee benefits in June will be accepted from April 1 to May 31.

"The three-week period [for submission] gives students more time to hunt for a UROP that's original" and these original projects "are what will get funding," said Eric Fong '95.

"Sometimes it takes a long time to find a good UROP," said Michael B. Davidson '94. The time it takes searching delays a student from turning in a complete, finished proposal, he said.

"Overall, people who did good UROPs [this spring] will work over the summer," so the system works well, Davidson said.

Daniel J. Weber '97 said that with the new longer submission window, "it isn't a matter of people turning in a proposal as fast as they can. [The longer window] gives students an opportunity to decide what they want to do," he said.

"I'm lazy," added Ethan A. Fode '96. "I like the idea of eliminating first-come, first-serve."

Policy change upsets students

On the other hand, students expressed their dismay in the federal government's change in overhead billing policy. As of July 1, the Institute will no longer be able to waive overhead and employee benefit costs on UROP student wages, making students twice as expensive to hire.

"Given the situation as it is right now it's going to make it harder to find a UROP," Fong said. "Being selective is the only solution other than to do some kind of campaign to get more money from the government," he said.

"There's nothing that can be done -- you're too expensive to hire, and the funding is not there," Fong added.

The new overhead and employee benefit costs are "obviously bad because they will narrow the range" of UROPs to choose from, Davidson said. This is because less funding probably means fewer paid UROPs.

Fode believes that students will be more likely to "get [their] work over with early in the summer" to take advantage of a charge-free June.

Andrew Ugarov '95 expressed a different opinion.

The new guidelines "wouldn't really mean that much because you don't get paid that much anyway," Ugarov said. "I see [UROP] more as the experience than the money. ... [In the fall] if I can't get paid I'll just work for credit," he said. "It's kind of foolish to complain."