Graduate student assistants across the nation are pushing for a $15 per hour stipend, which they believe is a “minimum living wage.” Graduate students have attributed the 29 percent stipend increase at Emory University to their successful campus advocacy.

The “Fight for $15” for graduate students is maintained by the idea that they are “full-time, full-year employees, even if universities view them as part-time employees or as students learning to teach and do research.” Fifteen dollars times 40 hours per week, times 52 weeks per year, is $31,000 which, “has emerged as a new target minimum annual stipend.” Even on the high end of the stipend range, “it’s difficult to live on a $30,000 salary and cover living and academic-related expenses “such as books and fees, according to one graduate student.

While graduate students may consider themselves “full-time, full-year employees,” many institutions “say they see graduate students as trainees, not workers.” At many universities, graduate students are not allowed to work more than 20 hours per week; making them less than full-time employees. In your opinion, should graduate assistants be paid $15 an hour? Why or why not?

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