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NMSU regents approve $1.03 million in new funds for Graduate School

President Michael Martin's proposal to pump more than $1 million of additional funds into New Mexico State University's Graduate School was approved by the Board of Regents Friday


"I am committed to growing the graduate program," Martin told the regents. That statement echoes comments Martin made to graduate student assistants earlier in the semester when he told them he would try to find a way to help them with their financial issues

The money will be divided, with $430,000 going to provide a health-care program and $600,000 to tuition waivers and scholarships for graduate assistants. Both topics have been a matter of concern to Martin and to Graduate School Dean Linda Lacey. She has been researching the health-care issue for several months in hopes of finding a way to bring a program to NMSU's graduate assistants.

The topics also have been a source of controversy among the graduate assistants, and that controversy seemed to worsen when it was announced NMSU would be providing full-tuition waivers to 60 new graduate assistants to attract prospective students

Graduate student James Hayes, a senator with the Associated Students of NMSU, met with Martin and Lacey to discuss the situation. Through a series of negotiations they settled on a proposal that would better support current graduate assistants without abandoning incentives to prospective students

Martin said the plan would give 20 full-tuition waivers to incoming graduate assistants, 40 full-tuition waivers to current assistants and 100 scholarships of $1,000 each to current assistants

"We also are encouraging faculty to include money for assistantships and tuition in their grant applications and contracts," Martin said

The university also will cover 70 percent of the cost of a health-care plan offered through Mountainview Regional Medical Center for graduate assistants. The plan costs $971 a year