KRC Statement on Temple U’s Decision to Withhold Aid and Benefits From Grad Students on Strike


For Immediate Release:

February 10, 2023

Contact: Kirstin Snow, Communications Director, Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center

Keystone Research Center executive director and economist Stephen Herzenberg issued the following statement today in response to the decision by Temple University to withhold tuition, healthcare benefits from graduate students who struck January 31, 2023, after a year of stalled negotiations over a new contract:

“The simple fact: Temple University does not pay its graduate students a living wage sufficient to cover the cost of basic necessities. Graduate students who work for the university as teaching and research assistants currently earn an average of $19,500 per year. The Philadelphia living wage for a single person with no children equals nearly twice this level—about $34,460. The University has offered graduate students $22,500 by 2026, barely enough to compensate for inflation based on Federal Reserve projections. Now, to add insult to injury, the University has cut striking students’ health benefits and also plans to eliminate tuition remission that covers $20,000 per year, requiring full payment by March 9. This could decimate Temple’s graduate programs, forcing students to leave. For the sake of the University as well as its graduate students, the Temple administration should restore health benefits, rescind the threat to cut tuition remission, and make a contract offer that won’t leave students impoverished and deeply in debt.”