Advocacy & Legislative Platform

Originally Ratified: 04/05/2018
Last Modified: 11/28/2018


  • The GSC supports the rights of students to decide to organize efforts to unionize.

  • The GSC supports the rights of student workers, including: support for a living wage, support for fair employment practices, and support for nondiscriminatory hiring practices. 

  • The GSC supports the recognition of graduate student workers as productive employees of their respective universities.

  • The GSC supports the right of graduate students to access worker’s compensation in the event of accident or injury while pursuing educational goals.


  • The GSC supports the right to affordable education for graduate students, including fees and tuition that are fair, as well as the right to reasonable financial support by their institutions.

  • The GSC supports all reasonable efforts that encourage the transparency of all institutional academic fees. The GSC also supports the right of graduate and professional students to have access to and control over a proportional amount of their student fees.

  • The GSC supports the rights of pregnant and parenting graduate and professional student, including parental leave, access to affordable childcare, and resources, as well as support for student parents (e.g. lactation rooms, sick/emergency/snow care, etc.).

  • The GSC supports the right of students to leaves of absence for personal support, including: family leave, bereavement leave, leave for caretakers, and medical leaves of absence.

  • The GSC supports access to affordable healthcare and comprehensive coverage, including coverage for international students and dependents. 

  • The GSC supports extension of benefits to graduate and professional students that are currently exclusively offered to undergraduate students to the extent to which those benefits are relevant to the graduate and professional student population.

  • The GSC supports open communication between students and administrators about the rights and responsibilities of graduate and professional students, including but not limited to campus resources on mental health, social justice, professional development, and financial support

  • The GSC supports the creation of a Graduate and Professional Student Center which provides resources and activities specific to their needs, including but not limited to diverse career development, interpersonal development, and family and parent support. 

  • The GSC supports all reasonable efforts to include graduate and professional students in all major administrative units and decisions, including the Board of Trustees, Hiring Boards, and University Councils and Senates.  

  • The GSC supports the access of graduate and professional students to a work and educational environment free from hostility and discrimination. It supports student access to mentors trained in best practices regarding mentorship and support. 

  • The GSC supports the development of diverse mentorship practices, including peer-based programs and flexible mentoring programs.


  • The GSC supports the rights of students who are victims of sexual assault and relationship violence, including rights to due process and institutional protection and support.

  • The GSC supports the creation of just systems which acknowledge and respond to the emotional, financial, medical, and psychological burdens of victims and the wrongfully accused. 

  • The GSC supports policies of affirmative consent, including but not limited to policies of “Yes Means Yes.”

  • The GSC supports the rights of students to be free from harassment, discrimination, or violence on the basis of membership in or alignment with an identity- , creed- or social-based group, including but not limited to students of color, students of all sexual orientations, gender identities, countries of origin, and religious orientations. 

  • The GSC supports the right of students to free speech and advocacy, recognizing the important contributions of graduate students to issues that impact social justice and public and/or university policy.

  • The GSC supports the rights of students to fair investigations and hearings regarding institutional violations conducted under the appropriate standards of civil proceedings as well as the protection of the constitutional rights of all parties.

  • The GSC supports an atmosphere conducive to positive mental health, including training for mentors and faculty on the unique stressors of graduate school and access to affordable and comprehensive mental health treatment options. 

  • The GSC supports the right of students to academic freedom and right of expression, free from censorship.

  • The GSC supports programs that will provide support and guidance for undocumented graduate students eligible under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program who face displacement locally and nationally.


  • The GSC supports federal income-based loan repayment programs. In particular we support:

    • Loan forgiveness/forbearance policies for workers in nonprofit fields, public service, and underserved communities;

    • Removing education loans as an exception to discharge from bankruptcy;

    • Federal loan consolidation programs, including seeking more options in these programs in fixed or variable interest rate choices and the ability to consolidate loans.

  • The GSC opposes any measure that would result in increased loan costs to students or that cuts funding from the Federal student loan programs.

  • The GSC urges the Administration and Legislators to maintain or increase the amount of federal funding provided for America’s colleges and universities.

  • The GSC urges lawmakers to increase borrowing limits for federal student loans and to periodically adjust for inflation and the rising cost of tuition.

  • The GSC supports the maintenance and continued funding of the Federal Direct Student Loan Program and urges lawmakers to adjust federal loan program to match graduate student time to degree and expenses. We oppose any efforts to cut funding from Federal student loan programs.

  • The GSC calls for the resetting of loan grace periods after completion of any full academic year to ensure that student with breaks in their education status are not prevented from completing their educations.

  • The GSC urges support for education programs in financial literacy for higher education.

  • The GSC supports legislation that discourages predatory lending practices.

  • The GSC supports graduate fellowship programs as a means of training tomorrow’s leaders of industry, government, education, and research.

  • The GSC urges the Administration and Legislators to provide, wherever possible, additional sources of grant funding for graduate and professional students. Specifically, the GSC supports increased funding for the graduate fellowship programs included in the Higher Education Act.

  • The GSC also supports graduate and professional fellowship programs that are portable and that provide educational opportunities to traditionally underrepresented groups, as well as to traditionally underfunded disciplines.

  • The GSC supports cultural and intellectual diversity and suggests the expansion of federal fellowships for international students.

  • The GSC does not support across-the-board denial of access to financial aid based on a student’s convictions for a drug related offense, nor should any criminal offense prevent access to federal student loans.

  • The GSC supports measures that reduce the tax burden on graduate and professional students, such as the protecting of and broadening tax exemptions and deductions for graduate and professional student expenses.

  • The GSC urges increasing tax deductibility of student loan interest. Additionally, the GSC urges legislators to index the income limitation on student loan interest deductions to the rate of inflation.


  • The GSC urges the Administration and Legislators to adopt policies related to open access for published scholarly material.

  • The GSC supports policies that allow for the creation, dissemination, and use of Open Educational Resources.

  • The GSC supports legislative efforts that encourage diversity at institutions of higher learning.

  • The GSC supports policies that encourage investments in innovation through education and research.

  • The GSC encourages the establishment of a Graduate and Professional Education Advisory Committee in the Department of Education comprised of university and student representatives.

  • The GSC encourages the appointment of a graduate and professional education coordinator within the Office of Postsecondary Education in the Department of Education.

  • The GSC supports federal recognition of the first week of April as an annual celebration of Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week.

  • The GSC firmly opposes any attempt to infringe on the First Amendment rights of students to establish and fund their own programs, to publish scholarly work without fear of reprisal, and to engage in advocacy, lobbying, or debate.


  • The GSC supports international students’ rights to feel secure and welcomed by the culture of their institutions.

  • The GSC supports nondiscrimination against international students in housing and employment.

  • The GSC supports the right of international students to be free from coercion or bullying in employment. International students should have the right to fair hours and the ability to visit their home countries.

  • The GSC urges policymakers, law enforcement, and school administrators to respect international students’ civil and human rights and to uphold their rights to due process.

  • The GSC urges university officials and higher education organizations to work for fairer student visa policies and actively advocate for their students whose visas have been unfairly denied or delayed.

  • The GSC urges lawmakers to make more visas and green cards available to non-U.S. born students who obtain their graduate degrees in the U.S.

  • The GSC emphatically opposes blanket bans on international student entry based on their country of origin and/or field of study.

  • The GSC supports all reasonable efforts to shorten student visa and security check processing.

  • The GSC urges that all student visas, regardless of the student’s country of origin and/or field of study, should be multiple-entry and of a duration consistent with that of the student’s educational program.

  • The GSC supports the right of legal immigrants to pursue a graduate or professional education without impediment, as well as the ability to participate in federal student aid programs.

  • The GSC supports any legislative efforts that encourage U.S. permanent residency, citizenship, and civic participation among graduates from institutions of higher learning.

  • The GSC opposes legislative efforts that unduly discriminate against international students.