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A letter from an alumnus about five years or more for graduate students

November 14, 2002

DCC? Call them students.

Princeton has finally recognized that the "un-enrollment" of graduate students is a problem that causes undue burdens and stresses on Ph.D. candidates who are trying to finish their degrees.

But the problem is one of the university's own making. Despite knowing that its high-achieving graduate students take more than five years to complete their degrees, the university insists on limiting enrollment periods to four or five years. The institution of a temporary social safety net (dubbed "Degree Candidacy Continued", or DCC) is only a band-aid solution.

DCC status lasts only one year, and does not cover one of the most important benefits of having student status — the ability to defer college loans.

Several other universities allow advanced Ph.D. candidates to continue their status as full-time students for a modest fee. These universities recognize what Princeton has so far refused to admit: that people who are working full-time on their dissertations are students and should be labeled as such. With its financial largesse and wisdom of administration, Princeton would do well to follow their example.

Karthick Ramakrishnan *02
San Francisco, Calif.

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