F.A.Q.

This page is meant to be a collection of other questions that graduate students have frequently asked.  If you are unable to find the information you need, please email us at gsa@nmt.edu.

Where can I find information specific to international students?

We just made a new page for this! We are still working on compiling a list of all of the important information for international students. If you have questions that you think our list should address, if you have information that we should include, or if you would like to help us compile this information, then please contact the GSA.

What is the situation with the Formula Funding?

Please note that this information is likely to change as the GSA learns more. Please check back frequently for more information. Updated: Dec 13, 2012.

A proposal to slash the amount of state funding for graduate courses has been given to the NM Legislative Finance Committee. The new legislative session begins in January at which time this proposal will be discussed and possibly go to a vote.

Some problems with the current funding formula and with the proposal are:

  • It is proposed that graduate courses receive the same funding per credit as undergrad courses. Currently, and in the past, graduate classes were given approximately three times the funding per credit from the state. If this proposal passes, graduate credits will receive about 66% less funding.
  • No financial incentives for STEM courses/degrees
  • No financial incentives for community colleges to transition students to 4-year institutions and no financial incentives for 4-year institutions to accept students from community colleges.  This will likely need to be addressed by a larger effort to create a matrix of how core courses transfer

Some of these things may not seem particularly relevant to you as a graduate student, but remember that as NMT succeeds (financially and otherwise) so do we.

State Representative Don Tripp of Socorro and  State Senator Howie Morales know that the repercussions of this proposal on the community which they represent will be devastating. At the Legislative Open Forum today State Rep Tripp and  State Sen Morales emphasized that the key to improving this proposal will be to convince the other legislatures in the state.  That means writing letters to all of our representatives and explaining our concerns.  Explain how this will affect you individually and how you think that it will affect the community as a whole.  I know the GSA volunteered to draft a form letter, but they said that personalized letters were much more meaningful and the messages stick with them longer than for a form letter.  I’m sure that this is true for all the legislatures, so I encourage to write your state representatives and state senators to give them your opinion.  And encourage your friends at other universities to do the same!

You can find the information for your legislatures here:  http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/legislatorsearch.aspx

Where do I find information on the thesis/dissertation requirements?

If you didn’t know it, then let me tell you: there are A LOT of requirements when it comes to formatting your thesis or dissertation. All of the requirements are listed here:  http://infohost.nmt.edu/tcc/help/pubs/nmtthesis/web/index.html, and there is even a “Formatting Checklist” here:  http://infohost.nmt.edu/tcc/help/pubs/nmtthesis/checklist/web/index.html. The checklist is what the CGS is going to use to make sure that your document measures up; I’m being literal there – your margins had better measure up.

If you’re looking for a template, then you can find one here: http://infohost.nmt.edu/tcc/help/pubs/nmtthesis/latex/web/index.html. That’s in LaTeX, which is open source and can be run from a variety of user-friendly GUI’s on any platform. If you find yourself struggling with something in LaTeX, then you can contact the TCC for assistance by emailing:  tcc-doc@nmt.edu.

There isn’t a template for Microsoft Word that meets all of the CGS requirements yet. However, the Mechanical Engineering department has created a template in Word that is specifically geared towards Mechanical Engineering Masters students. You can find that template here: http://infohost.nmt.edu/~mecheng/grad_policies.xml. This template may not meet all of the formatting requirements for your department, however there is some content that may be helpful to you as you attempt to write your thesis in Word.

I'm on a contract at Tech, why isn't my tuition waived?

Until about 1998, NMT provided each graduate assistant with a stipend and tuition waiver. Around that time, the administration decided to wrap our tuition waiver in the stipend. Our stipends are supposed to be enough for us to pay our tuition and still have a reasonable stipend left over.

The reason for this is wrapped in Tech’s interpretation of tax laws. Based on their interpretation, the school shifted the responsibility of paying the taxes to the graduate assistants. This approach may be overly conservative on their part, since most schools still provide tuition waivers without tax liability. However, when the students file their taxes most are eligible to receive a tax break from the government for the amount of taxes they paid on their tuition, e.g. through the Lifetime Learning Credit. International students  may not benefit from this arrangement, depending on the tax treaty the US has with their country of origin.

(Update:  Spring 2013) The GSA is trying to analyze the true benefit to students with regard to this issue. This relies on our ability to have graduate student input. If you are interested in providing your tax information (gross income, taxable income, amount of learning credit received, etc.), then please contact the GSA.

What exactly is going on with the Student Health Insurance?

(Updated May 2012)

The current student health insurance contract expired in August 2012; starting in Winter 2011 proposals were requested for a contract. In an attempt to lower premiums for graduate students, NMT has joined a Health Insurance Consortium with NMSU and UNM. Five companies submitted proposals to the Consortium for review. The universities considered and scored each proposal. From there, the Consortium met with the top 3 insurance companies for “interviews”. The companies were considered and scored once more. The highest scoring company, Macori, was contacted to begin negotiations. Negotiations included a slight decrease in the premium price and adding an out-of-pocket maximum to the policy. Full details on the policy will be available soon.

How did Tech get those 5 proposals?

This is tied to Tech’s purchasing procedures, which are complicated. A basic summary of what happened in this case is: Tech compiled a Request for Proposal (RFP), which detailed all of the minimum requirements a company must meet in their proposal. Companies were given a certain amount of time to respond with their proposal. In that proposal they list any “exceptions” they will have to make (translation:  anything that doesn’t meet the RFP requirements), and Tech must decide which proposal is acceptable.  If you would like to see a summary of the 5 companies’ proposals, you may download the table summary here.

How did Tech decide on the minimum requirements for the RFP?

In 2008 (or so), Tech compared the coverage levels of UNM, NMSU, and NMT and attempted to reach a compromise on the coverage. They also took into consideration input from the graduate and undergraduate students, and of course they have made sure that the coverage will satisfy the new requirements that are being put in place by the government.

Why aren't we using these requirements anymore?

The original RFP specified that UNM, NMT, and NMSU would all be in the “insurance pool”. When NMSU decided to withdraw from the consortium (because the premiums were too expensive, and they didn’t feel that they needed to improve the coverage), that meant that the terms of the RFP were no longer valid. The result is that UNM and NMT had to develop some other list of requirements. They decided to have the companies submit proposals for each school to continue their current coverage in an attempt to keep NMSU from withdrawing. It didn’t work.

What are all of these fees that I'm paying?

(information is taken from the Course Catalog)

Graduate Activity Fee: This is the graduate student version of the Student Activities Fee. The funds are collected and distributed by the Graduate Student Association. A portion of this fee goes to the Student Association.

Auxiliary Services Fee: Helps to defray the expenses of auxiliary services (Swim Center, Macey Center, Golf Course, Children’s Center, and Student Activity Center).

Institute Activity Fee: Provides a base for the support of student soical and cultural activities and corresponding facilities.

Student Center Fee: Provides funds for the support of the Joseph A. Fidel Center.

Sports Activity Fee: Provides support of the intramurals program and corresponding facilities (field, courts, etc.)

Technology Support Fee: Provides funds to support wireless and the TCC.

How do I pay for this travel without having to pay out of pocket first?

If you’re traveling on a research grant, then chances are good your department or grant has a travel agency it works with to book your travel. Make sure to give the travel agent the information for the exact flight that you want. If you’re traveling by some other grant, e.g. a GSA Travel Grant, then you should still be able to use your department’s travel agency to book the travel. In that case, the funds will not be reimbursed directly to you, but will go to the department. Often times there is an extra fee associated with using a travel agent. Be sure to account for that in your Travel Grant Proposal or it may not be reimbursed.

Can I get reimbursed for this plane ticket I just bought?

Or for any of this other stuff I pre-paid for?  YES, YOU CAN!

To do this, you will need:

  • Receipt
  • Before travel form (filled out and signed by the account holders)
  • Direct Payment form – select the “Registration, tuition, conference fees, meals, lodging and related travel advances” option (also needs to be signed by an account holder)

When you turn that in, it can take up to 2 weeks to process (sometimes it does take longer), but you will be reimbursed. Note that you can also fill out a DP for a travel advance. You will need an additional DP (select the same option as before). For this you don’t need receipts.

Make sure to keep copies of all receipts and forms that you submit, so that you have a record in case something goes wrong with your reimbursement.