Thursday, August 14, 2008

This Just In: Graduate Students Don't Have Money Trees

In the very slim chance that any of the Powers That Be might come across this entry, I merely wanted to point out a very important fact:

Graduate students who front the money for conference and research trips (especially international trips) deserve to be reimbursed in a timely manner.

If a student returns and submits all receipts and paperwork promptly, then everything that can be done to ensure a quick reimbursement should be done, especially in the summer months when many graduate students have little or no funding from their home departments, little (if any) financial aid, and little time to waste on a part-time, minimum-wage job that would take them away from both their families (i.e. children) and their dissertations.

In addition, knowing they will be reimbursed quickly might actually serve as an incentive to those considering conference and research travel but aren't sure if they can afford to go two months without reimbursement once they return.

Seriously people, I need the $2000 I spent in England to be reimbursed, like, yesterday!


mgm said...

Argh, that's so frustrating. And why I decided I have to take a hiatus from conferences. My credit cards just can't handle them right now.

Good luck. I hope your reimbursement comes through soon.

Jennie said...

I hate to tell you, girlfriend, but this isn't limited to graduate school. Imagine a company taking their sweet old time reimbursing a three week trip to China, including airfare and the purchase of technical equipment along the way! On the up side, at least your school will someday reimburse you. My department pays $250 for a conference. Sometimes we can get an additional $300 max if we're one of the two students picked each year for additional funding after completing a long and detailed application process.

M said...

I sympathize, my friend. I actually told our wonderful administrator that I felt like I should be reimbursed for finance charges on my trip to Cambridge given how long it took me to get reimbursed.

Anonymous said...

Jennie is right -- it doesn't get much better on this side of the job market, either. Ugh!

I had to front a huge amount of money to attend MLA for a hiring committee junket, only to be told that I had to apply for a grant to get the money back, and the grant was denied because being on a hiring committee wasn't considered "professional development". This was my first year, when we were still eating the cost of moving cross country for this job. The dean stepped in -- in April. In January, I literally had $15 in my bank account at one point, and was grateful to have the co-pay in case my son became ill. My husband was unemployed for 9 months after we moved here for this job. Yeah, academia... professors are all rich, aren't they? I know a lot of people think we make the big bucks and get 3 months off a year. What a shock for them to find out that neither is true.