The $60,000 graduate student

8 thoughts on “The $60,000 graduate student”

  1. I’m happy for the stipend levels to increase, but tuition–not so much. I do think the disparity between what the graduate student gets and what the PI pays can lead to conflicts. The student thinks, “If I’m being paid this low wage I can be unproductive if I feel like it, since it pretty much just hurts me.” The PI thinks, “That student is eating up most of my grant and so I need to ride them hard to make sure the lab gets enough results for the resubmission.”

  2. Here in Canada, our overhead costs are completely buried (direct transfer of X dollars from the federal government to the university) so we do not see these “indirect costs” at all. Also, at SFU, we pay only the student stipend + benefits; they pay the (significantly lower than your) tuition. So, the cost to our research grant per grad student is under $30K. Then if the grad student TAs (standard practice, unless one has a prestigious grant), the cost to research faculty goes down further. Given our significantly smaller research grants, I imagine it all balances out in the end…

    1. There’s an arbitrage opportunity buried in here somewhere — Let’s say that I manage to get a grant that pays $90k/yr for graduate students (1.5 US students). Instead of hiring students, I send you the money, and you sneak two Canadian students across the border, instructing them to say “zee” instead of “zed” and pretend they hate hockey. So: I get 2 students for $90k (instead of 1.5 students), and you get a net profit of $30k ($90k minus the 2*$30k cost of your students). Everyone wins!

  3. It would be interesting to see how the recent change of policy on how much we charge grants for student tuition changes your graphs, on the average, extending into 2015. With the new policy your grant is only charged for 3 credits of tuition for students who have advanced to candidacy (rather than the full 9 credits). You still pay the benefits and stipend. We certainly hope this has a measurable benefit to sponsored research.

    Nice blog by the way!

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