The University of Missouri has reversed course on a decision to strip graduate students’ health-insurance subsidies, at least for now. R. Bowen Loftin, the chancellor, said in a statement on Friday that the college would “defer implementation” of the change after consulting “peer institutions, compliance experts, and internal constituents.”
One week ago, the university suddenly announced it would no longer subsidize graduate students’ health insurance in order to comply with guidance from the Internal Revenue Service on interpreting a provision of the Affordable Care Act. (Read about the nuts and bolts here.) Loud protests from graduate students at the college prompted an apology from Mr. Loftin for how the change was handled, and the creation of a task force to “research and propose solutions for providing affordable insurance to our graduate students.”
A group of graduate students calling itself the Forum on Graduate Rights delivered a letter to campus leaders this week threatening to walk out of class next week if the administration did not meet its demands. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that those demands included more affordable housing and child-care facilities.
In his statement, Mr. Loftin said he had received the letter, and that many of the issues raised were “closely linked to the university’s budget.” He went on: “MU’s budget priorities are addressed through shared governance, primarily through the Budget Allocation and Advisory Committee, in which graduate students have ongoing representation.”