It’s Time to Raise the Floor.

The regulations set out by the Graduate Council guarantee all full-time graduate students at McMaster a minimum of just $13,500 per year (the current “floor”) above whatever their rate of tuition is. Just $13,500 per year to cover the costs of housing, food, transportation, clothing, and all the other basic necessities. It’s time to raise the floor; full-time graduate students deserve better.

As recently as 2021, McMaster has included an estimate that the cost of living in Hamilton was approximately $12,500 per year in its Offers of Admission to international students. Many international students have moved to Hamilton on the basis of this misleading claim, which has since been removed from the admission letters. The average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Hamilton was $1,559 per month as of January 2022, which means the minimum funding floor of $13,500 barely covers the cost of 8 months of housing. This leaves most graduate students struggling to make ends meet, living off of credit cards, student loans, and help from friends and family while the University reports hundreds of millions of dollars in “excess revenues”.

Full-time graduate students at McMaster deserve better.

What is the Graduate Council?

The McMaster Graduate Council has the power to Raise the Floor.

According to its website, the Graduate Council is “a deliberative, administrative, and executive body responsible directly to Senate but otherwise autonomous. Its membership consists of the Chancellor, the President and Vice-Chancellor, the Provost and Vice-President (Academic), the Associate Vice-President and Dean of Graduate Studies (Chair), the Associate Deans of Graduate Studies, the Faculty Deans, the University Librarian, the University Registrar, the Secretary of Senate, the Vice-President (Research and International Affairs), the Associate Registrar and Graduate Secretary, eighteen faculty members (three from each faculty), and twelve graduate students (two from each faculty).”

With 18 faculty members and 17 deans, associate deans, and various other senior administrators, the 12 student representatives are outnumbered by nearly 3:1.

That’s why we need your help.

What Can I Do?

Full-time graduate students at McMaster need your help. We need to come together as a community—whether you’re a student, a member of the faculty, or university staff—and call on McMaster’s Graduate Council to Raise the Floor! Please read and add your name to our open letter.

Send an email to to get involved in the campaign and take action.