Bite my )graduate) student ass, Planned Parenthood of Greater Boston!

This may be kind of incoherent, since this really pisses me off.

Freaking $56 dollars for my quarterly Depo shot. Oh, but if I was making my current income (miniscule stipend) in any sort of job other than being a graduate student and teaching fellow, it would only have been $5, but students (of any sort) don’t qualify for your sliding pay scale. Apparently, as a graduate student making $13,500/year, I have a miraculous source of that extra $50 that “real” poor people don’t have. Hmm, what could that be? Oh, my parents, you say? I’m supposed to get the money from my parents? I can’t believe a fucking Planned Parenthood thinks that anyone who’s a student can just call Mommy and Daddy and get the money for their birth control, or STD treatment, or fucking abortion, even. How realistic is that? Nevermind that many undergrads, and most graduate students, are financially independent, or may have parents who can’t afford to send their kids money.

I know they probably only do this because they get so many students that they can’t give them all discounts, but there are all kinds of ways that they could make this system more fair: a separate pay scale for students, somewhere between full and extreme discounted cost; acknowledgement that some students are self-supporting and poor, and setting up a sytem to give those specific students the discount cost (contingent upon some sort of proof, I guess); I’m sure others could think of some more.

God, this pisses me off. I’m paying $56 for something that should cost me $5, just because I’m getting an education.

Fucking stupid policy. If I’d known I would’ve lied on the freakin’ paperwork. Or put down teacher. THat’s what they pay me to do, to help teach a class.

Addendum: $13,500 isn’t really that little for 1 person with no dependents, I know, but 1) I’m paying 80% of that in rent because the Boston housing market is so expensive; 2) I only get paid 8 months out of the year.

If you want to fix the problem, then use your big phat graduate school education to make a shitload of money, and give a lot of it to Planned Parenthood.

Future not-really-poor grad students will be thanking you ffor centuries to come.


[nosy]How come you’re using Planned Parenthood anyway? I get free family planning appointments and could get cheap BC through the student health center. Or do they not supply Depo?[/nosy]

Doesn’t anyone take out student loans anymore?

Anyway, what do you do for the other 4 months of the year when they don’t pay you to teach a class?

I also had that problem when I visited a PP in Ohio as a student, Melandry. The next time I went in, I just told them I was unemployed (working ~12 hours a week, I might as well have been). Fees waived, problem solved. Could you try this?


Lsura- one of the other grad students in the department gets her Depo through Student Health Services, here and she says it isn’t significantly cheaper. I may investigate this option more thoroughly for myself, though.

Since my full tuition is paid in addition to my stipend, the amount of student loans I could receive is minimal because my educational costs are all paid. Also I have no student loans at all from my undergrad education, and I’d sort of like to continue that record. Yes, I know student loans are an option, just like I could find slightly cheaper housing by relaxing some of my requirements in terms of closeness to school, how many people I’m willing to live with, etc.

Besides, it’s not that I can’t, somehow, find the money for this in my budget. If that were the case, I would have found an alternative, cheaper method. It’s the principle of the thing- that somehow, Planned Parenthood has arbitrarily decided what I can and can’t afford based on my status as a student, not on my actual financial status.

For the other four months of the year I get a summer job, generally of the shitty retail variety. This basically only covers my rent, and I must dip into my minimal savings for food and my few other bills.

Melandry, why did you tell them you were employed?

Live and learn.

Remember, no matter how little you make or how poor you are, many people will consider you overpaid. You may be surrounded by people like you and feel that you really are being screwed but the vast majority of the general public will feel you are fairly or even over paid.

I learned that by being a teacher from a shitty paid state (Not Minnesota – SD :eek: ). Even my own family thought my shitty salary was just fine. I even had a sister who dropped out of high school, never went to college let alone graduated and worked as a teller in a bank. She told me that I was overpaid since I made “almost as much as her”


Even with my background, my first reaction was “$13,500 for a TA is alot of money”. Now imagine what someone without my background would think.

Huh. The PP here, while yes, if you’re a student you’re automatically considered a level 2 (I belive), if you show proof that your income level sucks (or is non-existant: as in, the only way you’re even in school is because of financial aid) you can get it adjusted down. It’s just that the level 2 is a default they use unless you bring them proof to justify otherwise.

But $56? Geeze! It was under $20 for a 7-month supply of pills for me, and it’ll be $30-something when my yearly exam comes around, so I’m looking at what… rounding up, $60 a year if that for my needs through PP? I think I apprciate their services even more now!

<< whee! >>

Melandry, the reason the Depo is only $5 for poor people is that they are actually poor. Do you honestly think Depo only costs $5, and that PP is screwing everybody with the $56 price? I would bet that PP is losing money on the $5 price and only wants to do that for those truly in need.

You CHOOSE to go debt free, you CHOOSE higher cost housing, and you complain because those choices leave you without ample disposable income? When you graduate, you’re going to be in the clear, no debt, no nothing, just a nice job, right? You make a choice today for benefit tomorrow.

I think it’s pretty poor form for someone to complain about not getting a handout on birth control when you have an income, pay zero tuition, and are accumulating zero debt for your education. You are in WAY better shape financially than the people who these low cost services are intended for.

And… Shame on all of you who are suggesting she lie to PP in order to get a handout. There is no call for getting PP to spend their resources on someone who doesn’t need it. Their resources are not unlimited, every dollar they get cheated on is a dollar they can’t spend on a needed service.

(Disclaimer – I was a grad student, but not in Boston, and long enough ago so that a 13K stipend was worth something.)
I agree with Cheesesteak. I know that 13K isn’t a lot of income, but the whole point of grad school is that it doesn’t last forever. You’re not doomed by lack of education or opportunity to be low income forever so your case is dramatically different than many people in that income level. I believe that critical health care and certain other services (e.g. child care) should be provided to graduate students, but birth control is not, strictly speaking one of these services. Sex is not a necessary part of the graduate student experience. (Don’t ask how I know this…)

Deferred gratification is practically the mantra of every grad student. In this case it may be distressingly apt.

That being said, I’m surprised that the school doesn’t in some way subsidize birth control.

What Cheesesteak said.

Sheesh! If they gave it out to everyone who thought they were “entitled” to it, they wouldn’t be able to provide for it in the first place.

I’m going to second (or third) Guinastasia and Cheeseteak here.

In addition, you have a stipend and paid tuition. Most of the rest of us had to work our way through school.

Fifty-eight dollars a month? That’s chicken-feed. Get a damned job to go along with your stipend.

You are not poor.

You may be a rotten, spoiled kid, but I don’t know you well enough to make an informed assesment.

Being a TA* is a job. If you’re teaching two sections of freshman comp – the normal fall semester courseload in my department – you’re probably working thirty to thirty-five hours a week in addition to doing your own coursework or writing your dissertation. A second job usually isn’t an option.

  • Actually, “TA” is often a misnomer, as many grad students have full responsibility for one or more classes – they’re not “assisting” a professor, they are the primary instructor. Moreover, these are usually labor-intensive classes such as freshman comp or introductory foreign language classes, which entail a LOT of homework to grade, class prep time, and conferences with individual students.

It may not be a full-time job, but it’s close. Most of us earn that $13,500.

Ok, even if you all agree that I do not deserve the cheaper price, is there some consensus that somewhere out there is a genuinely poor student of one stripe or another who is getting royally screwed by this policy? That this assumption PP of Greater Boston seems to be making about all students’ finances is not necessarily a great idea?

Cheesesteak is right. However, I would have a hard time not lying - my ethics are singed. Crap, I don’t even donate to charity anymore since I consider the years I spent teaching as pure charity. But…

Cheesesteak is right.

I went to grad school and, for Mathematics, working beyond a TA, is not an option. I felt guilty taking two hours to play pool on a Friday night. Yes, the workload was that tough.

However, being a TA is not even close to a full time job. You teach 2 classes, usually 6-8 hours a week, through in some prep time (not much since you need to be concerned about your studies first) and 6-8 office hours of which sometimes you can study since no students show. 20 hours tops. More like 15 on normal weeks.

Of course, if you truely care about your classes and try to help your students as best you can and spend time coming up with clear well presented lectures…there is a name for those people…grad school dropouts. We had several of these types and NONE of them graduated. You just don’t have the time.

No, I think PP is doing exactly the right thing. First of all, students have the expectation of a higher salary when they finish school. Most students, especially graduate students, can get loans. So, as has been mentioned, students are not the same kind of poor as disadvantaged poor. Second of all, even with this exclusion, there are probably still far more genuinely poor people who need PP’s services than can be provided for within their budget. Lastly, Depo is not a necessity, it is a convenience. If your school is like most schools, you can probably get free condoms at the health center.

I just finished six years of graduate school. I took out loans. They will take a long time to pay off. The cost of higher education is either loans, poverty or a mix of both.

Do you care to explain why this is a ridiculous price to begin with?

PP provides a good service for very inexpensive fees. Can you imagine any other medical service you can get on a sliding scale like PP provides?

I realize that Boston is expensive (I’m not exactly living rent-free. Quite the opposite, in fact), but if you can’t spring $50 every few months, then maybe sex just isn’t worth it to you?

Christ, I shelled out for my GF’s pills while I was in school without any source of income (already paid for my last semester and was living off of savings from my winter break job). If it meant I didn’t get to go out to dinner or pick up a new CD, it was worth it to me. If I didn’t want to pay for it, I could have chosen not to.

Fancy that.

It’s different in the humanities. Class prep is more intensive (except for writing workshops, which I admit are dead easy) – you can’t just throw a class together from old lecture notes, you have to come up with activities and things that will get students talking. Furthermore, my comp students write a paper almost every week, which means I spend about fifteen hours a week grading papers if I’m teaching two classes. During the weeks they don’t turn in papers, I hold conferences with individual students in my office (about eleven hours for the conferences alone, plus several hours of prep time IF the little darlings turn in their drafts in advance like they’re supposed to).

BTW, everybody I know is on this schedule, and very few of them drop out of grad school as a result. I think the expectations and culture in math departments must be very different.

All the more reason to start experimenting with lesbianism as soon as possible.