York University backpedalled on its decision to reduce funding to graduate students in the Master’s of Social Program late last week. Just weeks ago, students were informed they would receive only $6,600 of $10,000 promised in their letters of acceptance. After weeks of protest, graduate studies dean Douglas M. Peers sent an email confirming that students would be awarded the full amount.
York originally told students that they must have misinterpreted their acceptance letters, and that they would only receive $6,600 during their second year of study because the year only consisted of two semesters. However, the acceptance letter (click here to view letter) does not contain any mention of prorated funding. The letter reads, “In recognition of your excellent academic record, York University will award you a minimum of $14,000 in Year One of your full-time master’s study, and $10,000 in Year Two of your full-time master’s study, in the form of a tuition scholarship, teaching assistantship, research assistantship or graduate assistantship.”
In his email to students, Dr. Peers wrote that “normally the funding is prorated for students registered in five-term programs.” But because of the lack of clarity in the admission letters, he wrote, the Faculty of Graduate Studies would make an exception for master’s of social work students and award them $10,000.
“I am very happy that York has decided to honour our funding package,” says master’s of social work student Erinn Michele Treff. “It’s unfortunate that it had to come this far—petition, letter writing campaign, legal advice, and an article in Maclean’s—however, I can buy books and groceries again.”