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Arizona Daily Wildcat,
March 21, 2000
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Many UA graduate students costs have been deferred to better times, more financially sound budgets and more capable hands.

University of Arizona can hope there will be a day - one fateful day when some of the concerns of its graduate students will be met.

The wages will be competitive with other Pacific 10 schools; there will be a daycare center on or close to campus. The graduate housing facilities will squelch the need for adequate accommodations. The university's family housing structure won't be haunted by a threat of toxic mold embedded in carpets.

And graduate students will be provided with university-funded health care for their families, as well as themselves.

Graduate College Dean Gary Pivo said it would be possible for the university to provide graduate students with health benefits. But with the costs swallowed in the process, it is an improbable answer.

Until the day the university can stomach that kind of deficit, UA graduate students must look to other avenues for solutions.

Fortunately, there are other avenues.

KidsCare, a state- and federally-funded insurance program may give some coverage to graduate students' families, according to Pivo. It provides health care services for children under age 19 and could cost families as little as $20 a month.

To qualify for the program, a family must earn a gross income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level guidelines. Pivo said that the average UA graduate student qualifies under these stipulations, usually earning $7,000 to $15,000 annually.

The KidsCare program covers expenses in several areas of medical treatment, from prescriptions and dental screenings, to pregnancy care and emergency medical treatment and transport.

It is a reasonable, probable and existing solution to the lack of family health coverage. And with a three to six-week wait for initiation, it is much closer to immediate than waiting for the university to come up with the money for a graduate student benefit package.

And KidsCare is just the tip of the ice berg.

There are other answers like soliciting outside daycare programs to build near campus - an idea brought up in the recent Associated Students elections by a couple candidates including ASUA senator-elect Danielle Roberts.

It is "creative solutions," as Pivo said, like these that will be the easiest out to a lot of complicated problems for graduate students.

They must remember that the university is not always going to be able to drop issues like undergraduate advising, retention and residence hall crowding to compensate for grad student families. The university ideally provides for each of its students, but realistically cannot.

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