A few months ago I wondered aloud at the Economical Academic about the economic ramifications of the slumping economy for universities. Well, the new year's news hasn't been very good at UBC. My department has halved graduate student support for presenting at meetings and canceled all visiting speakers. Today Herb told us that they probably won't admit any new students next year as Teaching Assistants. Furthermore, TA positions during the summer will be extremely limited, and they are going to enforce degree time lines more strictly.
A glimmer of hope lies in the stimulus bill to boost NSF funding, though I'm not sure how that will affect TAships. I'm thankful that Obama is a science-friendly president and I'm much more hopeful about science funding now that he is in office.