Change In Stipend Policy

Recent change in policy on how stipends are paid to certain graduate students.

Alma Mater on Low Library

What is the change to the current policy on how stipends are paid?

  • Most student officers receive their support through payroll, which is paid semi-monthly over the period in which they are on appointment. For these student officers, there is no change at all.
  • A subset of graduate student officers previously had a portion of their support provided both through semi-monthly payroll and a stipend, with the stipend portion paid in a lump sum near the beginning of the term. For them, the entire stipend will now be spread over the period of appointment.
  • This change applies to Teaching Fellows, Research Fellows and Preceptors appointed in GSAS, GSAPP, and SIPA, as well as to Teaching Assistants in SEAS.
  • The overall stipend amount disbursed for the fall term will not be affected in any way by this change in the payment schedule, nor will the tax withholding.
  • This change creates consistency with how employees are paid in essentially every other context at the University.

Why are you making this change?

  • The change in the stipend disbursal schedule was caused by the need to standardize the employment relations and conditions of all students who will be covered by the future contract with the graduate student union. 
  • Everything from appointment letters to compensation to the payment of fees to the union will require a new level of uniformity that is the opposite of the many local, school-based ways of appointing and paying students in use currently.
  • To put all student officers on the same footing in terms of the timing of pay and support resources – i.e., to eliminate a discrepancy that had a small subset paid in a different format than others, with no basis for the distinction.
  • To spread the pay and support resources over the period of appointment and in alignment with living expenses experienced over the term.
  • To eliminate a discrepancy between how this subset of graduate students has been paid and how their counterparts are compensated at most other universities.

How are Schools supporting students who may have been counting on receiving a portion of their stipend up front?

  • Under our standard practice, the Schools’ financial aid offices are ready to assist students who need additional resources in advance of the semi-monthly payroll and stipend and in excess of the amount they will receive at the beginning of the term. These additional funds can be provided to students, who would pay this amount back to their student account.
  • We are aware that the lateness of the change may place some student in a difficult financial position, but that is why we are offering to make supplemental funds available to such students should they need them.