University boosts grad student stipends

Graduate School Dean Susan Hockfield announced Monday a significant increase to the standard stipend for Yale doctoral candidates, raising the 2002-03 stipend to $15,000 for new and current students.

The move, which raises the standard stipend by $1,300, follows last year’s increase of almost 20 percent and comes as tension continues between the administration and GESO, which is attempting to form a union of teaching assistants.

“The new stipend levels follow a set of major improvements in the financial aid packages for all doctoral students at Yale over the last several years,” Hockfield said in an e-mail to doctoral students and Graduate School faculty.

On the heels of Harvard University’s announcement Monday that its Graduate School of Arts and Sciences would receive an additional $4 million in financial aid funds, Hockfield announced a 7.5 to 10 percent increase in stipends for Yale graduate students. The increases vary depending on students’ fields of study.

While current stipend levels of other schools were considered in making the increase, Hockfield said Yale does not know what other schools will do. She added that she aimed to ensure that the best students who apply to Yale can afford to come to Yale.

Yale President Richard Levin echoed Hockfield’s sentiments.

“I am pleased that we are able to make such a significant improvement yet again,” Levin said. “I think this will certainly strengthen our competitive position in attracting the best graduate students we possibly can.”

Yale’s new stipend is still $1,000 below Princeton University’s current stipend of $16,000 and Princeton has yet to announce new stipend levels for the upcoming school year.

Graduate Employees and Students Organization chairman J.T. Way GRD ’05 said the stipend increase was a step in the right direction and proved that organizing works. But Way said the new levels were not enough to fulfill the needs of the Graduate School students.

“The administration here needs to understand that for graduate teachers and researchers this is about way more than just money. We want a democratic voice and we want respect for the work we do, and so that’s why we’re organizing,” Way said. “No amount of money in the world would substitute for a legally binding contract.”

Way said the union was responsible for obtaining the increases thus far.

“I would applaud an across-the-board raise,” Way said. “But the main point is that organizing works. There’s really no question why we’re being treated to the administration’s largess at this particular juncture.”

Yale traditionally has denied that GESO is a factor in Graduate School financial aid improvements.

Graduate Student Assembly chairman Tyler Radniecki GRD ’05 said the increase reduces the financial burden on students.

“[The increase] is a nice sign of Yale’s commitment to obtaining the best possible students,” Radniecki said.



CORRECTION: This article incorrectly stated that Princeton provides a standard stipend of $16,000. Princeton provides this stipend to first-year science and engineering students, and other stipend levels vary and are often lower.

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