COGS discusses health care at meeting
The Council of Graduate Students, or COGS, discussed the requirements for upcoming mandatory student health insurance as well as graduate student housing at its Wednesday night meeting.
Randy Hillard, associate provost for human health affairs, gave a presentation about the medical colleges on campus at the meeting before discussing insurance issues.
There are more medical students on campus at MSU than at any other university nationwide, Hillard said.
“As you know, we’ve opened a new instructional facility in Grand Rapids,” Hillard said, referring to the recently opened Secchia Center. “We’ve gone from having the country’s ugliest college of medicine building to the country’s most beautiful college of medicine building.”
With the new health care bill from President Barack Obama’s administration going into effect during the next few years, Hillard said he feels that the current health insurance plan offered to students by the university barely meets the minimum standards.
In fall of 2011, MSU will begin requiring all incoming students to have health insurance, Hillard said. During 2012, all students will be required to have insurance.
“Now, insurance companies think only people who are sick tend to buy their programs,” Hillard said. “They will lose that excuse next year. I anticipate that the cost will go down.”
Adam Lovgren, COGS vice president of graduate welfare, said a recent health care survey completed by the council showed that students with the university’s insurance plan were not satisfied by it.
“91 percent of people surveyed also thought that MSU should provide affordable, dependent health insurance,” Lovgren said, an issue important to the approximately 16 percent of graduate and professional students with children.
Karen Corley, assistant director of MSU’s Campus Living Services, attended the meeting to try to gain feedback about ways the university could improve on-campus housing for graduate students.
Corley touted the benefits of Owen Graduate Hall, which is 65 percent graduate students.
“We do hear from a lot of returning students that they don’t want to live on campus because they don’t want to live with freshmen,” Corley said.
COGS President Stefan Fletcher said graduate students tend to live off campus, but the interest for on-campus housing is there.
“We’d like to see an increasing role for graduate students in the Neighborhood Concept,” Fletcher said.
The committee also approved an increase to the amount of money used in the conference grant endowment fund, allocating some of the returns from the group’s investment funds toward the endowment.
“In 2008-09, we funded 58 people for conference grants,” treasurer Amanda Herzog said. “This year, we’re able to fund 90.”