General Questions

What is the GSA fee?
The GSA Mandatory Student Activity Fee is currently $85 a semester. It pays for all GSA services, including your departmental club’s budget, conference funding, MDRF funding, special activities/symposium funding, the events we offer, the free Distinguished Speakers Series tickets, and many more components.
Where does the GSA fee go?
Where can I see the GSA budget?
You can find the GSA budget here Board of Directors. The GSA fiscal year runs through August 1 st – July 31 st .
How does the GSA fee differ from the university fees/international student fee? How does it compare to other GSA/SA fees?
The university charges a separate broad-based fee, which is different from the GSA fee. In addition, our fee is separate from the international student fee, which goes to ISSS and other related services. Our fee is currently on the lower end of student activity fees; for example, the Student Association (undergraduates) and the professional schools (dental, pharmacy, medical, law, management) each charge about $100 a semester. Other GSAs across the SUNY system also tend to charge about $100, and oftentimes offer less conference and research funding than we do.
How do I apply for a fee waiver if I live far away or do not make a lot of money?
If you live more than 75 miles away or face significant financial hardship, you can apply for a fee waiver for the GSA fee here: Fee Waiver Application
How much do GSA officers/staff work & how much do they make? When can I run for a position or be hired?
Based on the current budget, each member on the E-Board receives an annual stipend of $20,000. Elections for E-board positions are in April, and their terms begin June 1 and run for 12 months. The E-board tends to work between 15-25 hours per week. The staff, depending on their position and requirements, make between $13,000 – $14,500. These positions are usually filled between July and August, which also run for 12 months. They tend to work between 10-15 hours per week. All positions are advertised through the GSA newsletter, on our website, and through the departmental Graduate Student clubs.
What are some of the things that GSA advocates for? How?
GSA advocates for graduate student needs on a daily basis, but much of it happens behind closed doors. We meet with the Graduate School once a month, and ask for meetings with anybody in the university administration on a needs basis. For example, if you have a problem with on-campus housing, with UB transportation, with one of your professors, or with the lack of services for your needs, you can come to us and we will find the right person to talk to about your issue. Further, the GSA President can and should also advocate for larger issues, such as increasing TA/GA/RA pay, better parking, support for parenting students, more professionalization assistance from UB, more support for online and long-distance students, better integration for international students, and of course always oppose unjustified fee increases. If you have noticed an issue that UB and the GSA do not pay adequate attention to, please tell us! Maybe we are already advocating for it behind the scenes, or maybe we just haven’t noticed yet that the issue exists. Most importantly: get involved by emailing so that we know how to better serve you.
What is the difference between GSA Editorial Services and the Center for Excellence in Writing? Why do we need both?
The GSA Editorial Service provides free graduate student professional editors to all fee-paying graduate students. We are a copy-editing service and, as part of our service, we provide explanatory comments in Microsoft Word Track Changes that elaborate on recommendations, note difficult phrasing, and describe grammatical patterns tailored to each student’s individual needs. In addition, we are always happy to answer specific questions over email or in-person by appointment. We also offer several writing workshops a semester. You can find more information about the GSA Editorial Services here Editorial Assistance Program. The Center for Excellence in Writing, on the other hand, provides writing tutors that do not offer line/copy-editing. Although the CEW caters heavily towards the undergraduate population, graduate students may also make appointments with their tutors.
What services are available for online students?
Online fee-paying graduate students can make use of most of the GSA services: conference funding, MDRF funding, editorial assistance (through the editorial website and email), as well as the advocacy work that we offer for all on and off-campus fee-paying graduate students.

Student Funding

How do I apply for conference funding?
Please submit an application by the respective monthly deadline. You must apply in advance in order to be eligible for funding. Late applications are NOT accepted. You can always submit your application early and then withdraw your request with no penalty if you decide not to attend the conference for any reason. Conference funding is provided in form of a reimbursement of your actual incurred expenses. The expenses you provide in the application are understood to be an estimate of your projected expenses. Conference funding is need-based. Every graduate student is eligible for a certain amount throughout their graduate career. More information is available here Conference Funding
How do I apply for MDRF funding and how much can I get?
Applications for the MDRF are accepted three times a year for three grant cycles (Fall, Spring, and Summer). PhD students can apply for up to $5,000; MFA and Masters students can apply for up to $3,000. Applications, instructions and a number of other resources are available on the website: MDRF
How many people get MDRF funding?
MDRF can award up to $35,000 each grant cycle. The number of grant recipients varies based on how many applications are received, as well as how much each student asks for in relation to his or her degree program.


Why can I not get tickets to SA events?
Most events that SA organizes are fully funded by SA fees, and as a graduate student you do not pay the SA fee. Sometimes we are able to co-sponsor an event, and then you can get a free ticket.
I'm a vegetarian. Will there be vegetarian options at GSA programming events?
Yes, there will always be vegetarian options at events with food.
I lost an item at a GSA event. Is it possible that somebody from GSA picked it up?
The Programming Coordinator generally checks the area where the group was and will bring anything that is found back to the GSA office. You can contact the office during normal business hours to ask if an item has been found or email the Programming Coordinator at