The Yale Graduate School will announce today a $1,000 increase in its annual student stipends for the 2004-05 academic year, a 6.25 percent jump to $17,000, Graduate School Dean Peter Salovey said Monday evening.
The increases come as the projected University-wide $30 million budget deficit is forcing the Graduate School to cut its operating budget by five percent for fiscal year 2005, Salovey said. While the stipend increase will likely be comfortably above the inflation rate, it is the school’s smallest percentage increase in stipends in the past four years.
“We have two goals when we set financial aid,” Salovey said in reference to the stipends. “First is to allow students to make progress on their studies knowing that they receive significant financial resources. The second goal is to make sure that the Yale Graduate School can compete with the very best universities in the world for the very best students in the world. This requires us to be aggressive with respect to our financial aid package.”
Graduate Employees and Students Organization Chairwoman Mary Reynolds GRD ’07 praised the administration for increasing stipends, but said GESO will continue to challenge the University on other issues.
“It’s obviously better that the administration is responding to one of the issues on the GESO platform,” Reynolds said. “[But] I’m still concerned that even with the increased funding the administration is still not providing a living wage. The cost of living is close to $19,000 [and] there are still many issues on the GESO platform that the administration is not responding to.”
Reynolds said she would like to see the University address the existing gap in stipends between new students in the first five years of graduate school and graduate students who have been at the school for more than five years.
Currently, the Graduate School’s stipend package lasts only for a student’s first five years.
“We hope that students will finish in five years,” Salovey said. “If they don’t, they can support themselves by serving as a teaching fellow, but the stipends of those teachers are determined by a different process. When students are in years one through five, they are receiving teaching stipends, but those teaching stipends are then increased by additional financial aid. When they’re beyond five years, they no longer get that additional financial aid.”
Reynolds said GESO and Undergraduate Organizing Committee members will distribute flyers highlighting these financial aid discrepancies in American studies professor Michael Denning’s “Formation of Modern American Culture” course today.
“I’m getting paid $8,000 to teach FORMAC and my friend Dalton Jones — he’s a seventh-year student — he’s getting paid $6,000,” Reynolds said. “He has more teaching experience than I do. He’s been teaching for more than three years and he’s getting paid significantly less. I think that’s a question of justice and respect and equality that equal pay for equal work is a fundamental issue for a variety of students.”
But Graduate Students Assembly Chairman Christopher Mason GRD ’07 said graduate students are “elated and excited” about the stipend increase. He said the GSA asked Salovey to provide subsidies for child care, but Mason said that in light of the budget deficit, the administration decided to increase the overall stipends.
“The GSA has petitioned that it would be very important to stay competitive as well as to give students more money so they can pay for what’s important to them, whether it be child care or a dental plan,” Mason said.
Yale will also announce a 16.7 percent increase in the school’s summer study fellowships for humanities and social sciences students. Salovey said the fellowships will rise to $3,500 per summer, beginning with the summer of 2005.
Salovey said graduate student financial aid figures for the 2004-05 academic year have not been released yet by Yale’s competing institutions.