I appreciate the good work the University Senate Faculty Affairs and Personnel Committee has devoted to the issue of Health Insurance for Graduate Students. In principle, I strongly endorse the University Senate’s “Resolution on Healthcare Insurance for Graduate Students.” Attracting and maintaining excellent graduate students has long been a priority of my administration. We have worked hard over the years to improve graduate student support through stipend enhancements and other strategies, including strong support of the Graduate School-New Brunswick’s program to provide health coverage for students with external national competitive fellowships. We recognize how important these benefits are to our students.
Within the context of the current fiscal situation, however, extending
health benefits to all graduate students is not practicable. I will
continue to look for new ways to provide greater benefits to our students,
and I welcome the suggestions of the University Senate on creative schemes
to achieve our shared goal of providing a competitive funding package to
attract and retain the best students within the constraints imposed by
current fiscal realities. We have seen a great improvement in graduate
programs over the past ten years, and we will continue to work to protect
these gains while further improving graduate programs.