Georgia Tech SHIP: Final Spring Updates

Good Morning Yellow Jackets, 

I hope that you all have been taking care of yourselves as we approach the end of this Spring semester.  I’m writing to provide a formal update regarding the final decisions on the SHIP changes proposed by the USG.  

The effort made to mobilize the student body and faculty to call and email the USG helped galvanized conversations that led to the USG reevaluating the proposed plans. Student voices and partnerships among SGA and the Offices of Graduate Studies, the Provost, and Administration and Finance further advocated for a renegotiated plan for Georgia Tech SHIP that now includes dental and vision coverage. 

As the Georgia Tech administration announces the official numbers for the plan and the subsidy coverage in the coming days, the biggest outcomes we will see are that the USG unification led to significant increases in premiums. However, the Georgia Tech administration intends to minimize the immediate financial impact of these raised premiums through increased subsidies for GRAs and GTAs. 

New SHIP Overview: 

The Georgia Tech SHIP plan was originally projected to see 12% renewal increases to premiums. However, the unified USG plan with addendums for included dental and vision further increases the student mandatory insurance premiums 16% and voluntary insurance premiums 25%. The unified USG plan chosen to minimize premium increases has the effect of surging annual deductibles from $250 to $500, and out-of-pocket-maximums from $3750 to $6350. There will be no change in Stamps and Georgia Tech Pharmacy coverage with the unified USG plan. The terms of these plans are negotiated on a yearly basis and will be reevaluated for the following year with the intent of finding a long-term model for dental and vision coverage. 

Moving Forward: 

SGA’s role in the USG SHIP committee is persistent and will advocate for fair student health insurance to the USG and within the institute. Although this outcome is disheartening, our role as student leaders is to continue to champion the needs of the student body as a whole. Please continue to make your voices heard as the long-term models are sought out. 

I want to thank you all for your outstanding effort and voice of support in this time of need. I am grateful to serve the engaged and spirited community we have at Georgia Tech. 

In Progress and Service, 

Lea Harris 

Graduate Student Body President

SGA Response to AAPI Shootings

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March 18, 2021

To the Student Body of the Georgia Institute of Technology, 

We are outraged and saddened by the murders of eight people, including six Asian women at local metro-Atlanta Spas on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. We stand in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and those who have been emotionally or personally impacted by this horrific event. We recognize that this tragedy is among an escalated set of violence targeting Asian populations across the country. This violent wave of anti-Asian racism has manifested itself in the form of hateful rhetoric to all-out vicious attacks perpetuated against the AAPI community nationwide and serves as a painful reminder of the prejudice in our country against Asian communities. There is a great deal of pain and fear within the AAPI community that must be addressed nationally and on our campus. In light of this tragedy, we all must recommit ourselves to the fight against racism and take an active stand against violence targeted at Asian communities. Undergraduate SGA President Brielle Lonsberry and Graduate SGA President Lea Harris met with President Cabrera and Dean Stein on Wednesday, March 17 to discuss efforts that Georgia Tech will undertake to support students, especially members of the AAPI community during this difficult time. Additionally, SGA is reaching out to AAPI student organization leaders to learn how we can support the needs of their communities.

In addition, we are working with the Division of Student Life’s Diversity Programs and the Counseling Center on programming and support groups for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebrated in April. As details are finalized, we will be sure to share them with the Georgia Tech community.  

Please seek support or use the resources available at Georgia Tech for students dealing with this tragic event. For more information and to access these resources, please visit We remain committed to assisting students through this difficult time and remain open to feedback on our advocacy efforts so please do not hesitate to reach out to us at  

Brielle Lonsberry (she/her)  — Undergraduate Student Body President                                                                    

Lea Harris (she/her) — Graduate Student Body President                            

Kyle J. Smith (he/him) — Undergraduate Executive Vice President                                                                            

Jay Mckinney (he/him) — Graduate Executive Vice President  

Proposed Changes to Georgia Tech Health Insurance

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Proposed Changes to Georgia Tech Health Insurance

Good Afternoon Fellow Grad Yellow Jackets, 

I write to you today to inform you of the proposed changes by the University System of Georgia to the Georgia Tech student health insurance plan (SHIP) which over 4000 of us grad students are a part of. The USG is considering a proposal that could increase our student health insurance costs by as much as 30% ($660/ year), reduces insurance benefits, and take the embedded dental and vision coverage out of the mandatory plan. This is being done at no benefit to Georgia Tech students, but to reduce the insurance costs for students at other institutions within the USG, by combining the Georgia Tech SHIP with the USG SHIP. If implemented, this plan severely threatens the healthcare finances of over 6500 Georgia Tech students and their dependents for the foreseeable future. As your graduate student body president, I have been fiercely advocating against these changes at the university system level. The institute leadership is also advocating on behalf of all Tech students. The proposal is set to be reviewed by the USG leadership as early as the week of March 8th. 

How can you make your voices heard? 

  1.  Sign this formal petition by Sunday March 7th – directed towards USG Chancellor Wrigley and the Board of Regents: This time the USG leadership needs to hear directly from every single one of us who will be affected by these changes. You can do this by signing this formal petition put together on behalf of our graduate student body by Graduate SGA. 
  2.  Email the USG chancellor and call the Board of Regents by tomorrow or first thing Monday, March 8th: A petition alone may not be enough to convince the USG otherwise. That is why I encourage you to express your concerns directly to the USG Chancellor or any member of the Board of Regents. Here is an email/call-template for graduate students and contact list to use if you need.  
  3. Spread the word: Tell your GT friends, colleagues, lab mates, and faculty advisors to sign on to the petition and raise the concerns with their bosses or use this generic call script to advocate on your behalf.

Where can I find more information about the proposed increases? 

Currently, the Georgia Tech SHIP is external to the USG SHIP provided to all institutions, specifically negotiated through the advocacy of Graduate Students and the support of GT administration for the campus to reduce costs and increase services. Although this plan has been approved by the USG for many years, the USG is proposing to dissolve the independent Georgia Tech SHIP and consolidate to a single plan available for all institutions in the 2021-2022 year.  

The concerns regarding these proposals are wide, but here are some primary points: 

  • all unified plans remove Georgia Tech’s included dental and vision coverage and replace it with an optional USG dental plan that costs $360 per year
  • all proposed options increase Georgia Tech premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximums for this overall lower service coverage.
  • worst-case proposals include increases of $224 to the Premium, $250 to Deductible, and $2600 to Out-of-Pocket Maximum

Other repercussions regarding the impacts on the on-campus health centers such as Stamps, DePoe, and Tech Dentistry are possible, but Grad SGA and the Georgia Tech administration have been advocating fervently to the USG stakeholders for Georgia Tech to remain on its own plan. We fear these changes could result in the closure or reduced services at these on-campus providers. 

The Grad SGA Graduate Student Senate (GSS) passed a resolution on March 2nd in opposition to the proposed SHIP consolidation, which can be seen here, to ensure that the USG understands the magnitude of the impact of changes on Georgia Tech Graduate Students. 

Please know that your access to affordable healthcare and financial well-being are top priorities of ours, so I want to thank you for your time and consideration. 

In Progress and Service, 

Lea Harris 

Graduate Student Body President  

Graduate Student Senate Voting

Dear Georgia Tech Graduate Student Community,

Voting for the Fall 2020 Graduate Student Senate Elections is open now!

The candidates have provided statements of candidacy HERE [1], which you might want to review prior to voting.

Click HERE [2] to cast your vote for your school’s representative! Voting will be open until Sunday August 30, 2020 at 5pm!

Results of the elections will be available as roster of the new membership on the SGA website HERE [3] on Monday August 31, 2020.

If you cannot find any statements of candidacy for your department and subsequently no active election in the portal, this means no candidate from the department has declared their candidacy and the seat remains vacant. Vacant seats may be filled on a rolling basis by appointment or through a special election held at the beginning of the Spring semester.

If you are interested in filling a vacant seat, both for departments that have less candidates than seats or no representatives at all, please fill out the nomination application form HERE [4], or run in the special elections in the Spring.


The Graduate SGA Executive Board





Graduate Student Senate Elections

Dear Georgia Tech Graduate Student Community,

Once again, welcome to the 2020-2021 academic year! We’re very excited to have you in our community, whether you are returning or newly joining us, and are looking forward to working with you to make our experience better. During these unprecedented times, we are facing new challenges and need to adapt to a dynamic environment on a daily basis. However, other issues still persist and need to be addressed too.

One important way we can do work together is to have you serve on the Graduate Student Senate (GSS). This is a critical part of the Graduate Student Government and involves GSS Senators elected within all departments engaging with their schools and colleges to identify issues, determining where the student activity fee we all pay goes, and developing their own initiatives that can receive support from the broader institution. In the past, GSS has made long-standing changes to issues such as qualification exam reform, annual stipend increases, and mental health counseling on campus. For more information, feel free to browse our governing documents here.

Sign up to run to represent your department HERE ( by Wednesday, August 26th at 5PM. Many departments have multiple representatives so we encourage anyone interested in getting involved with senate to apply!

Elections will be held from Thursday August 27th to Sunday August 30th with polls closing at 5PM, when your department’s graduate students will vote for their senators. New Senators will be announced Monday August 31st, with the first official Senate session being held Tuesday, September 1st 11am-1pm.

We are looking forward to working with you!

The Graduate SGA Executive Board