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ch1ndra

Additional departmental stipend on top of GTA

7 posts in this topic

Hello everyone,

I've been a guest visitor to this forum for quite a long time, but this is my first post here, so pardon me if something is amiss. Anyways, I was offered an admission with full ride to this great university(say, X) and I happily accepted the offer. I was promised a GTA position that carried a stipend of around $11700 per academic year(9 months) and although it seemed quite low compared to other universities, a great research fit was what attracted me to this university in the first place. In fact, I was offered admission to 5 out of 6 universities, some of which had offered me a generous funding package. But I chose this particular university X due to the research fit, thereby overlooking funding aspects altogether. I was(and still am) under the impression that the PhD stipend is generous enough to cover all the living expenses in a particular area, so this did not look like a big deal to me. In fact, the "Living Expenses" plus "Books & Supplies" is just under 12k in the area where this school is located(health insurance covered by the university).

So, today I received my I20(a copy, anyway) and there is this piece that baffles me:

Estimated Average costs(for 12 months):

Tuition and fees : $642

Living Expenses : $11,800

Expenses of Dependents : $0

Books and supplies : $800

Total : $13,322

Students Funding (for 12 months):

Personal funds : $0

assistantship GTA: $11,700

dept stipend : $9,445

On-Campus Employment : *blank*

Total : $21,145

 

Are you kidding me? Did I just hit a jackpot? This "dept stipend" is something unheard of; I even searched the whole university website and there is no single mention of this type of stipend anywhere. It looks too good to be true. I was willing to settle on $11700, but out of the blue, this additional $9,445 brings additional charm to my life. Not that I'm complaining, mind you, but I was under the impression that the only stipend I'm getting is that carried by the assistantship(GTA in this case). So, will someone please provide some insight on what possibly could this be "dept stipend"?

Before someone tells me I've better ask the department about it, which I will do eventually, I wanted to know your experience with such type of funding. So please, provide some input.

If it matters, the program is Computer Science(PhD).

Thank you all and have a great day.

 

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18 minutes ago, ch1ndra said:

Before someone tells me I've better ask the department about it, which I will do eventually, I wanted to know your experience with such type of funding. So please, provide some input.

I mean, what more do you expect us to say? We're talking about an internal funding source listed on an I20 by an unnamed employee at an international students office at an unnamed university, presumably based on information provided by yet another unnamed employee of an unnamed department at said unnamed university. It's hard to offer any kind of input beyond: either it's real and they're offering you more funding than you thought, or it's a mistake. If you're wondering how often miscommunications happen where someone ends up with more/less funding than they thought, well, who knows. I'm sure it happens. Either way, the only place where you will be able to get answers is your department. 

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Posted (edited)

I also have additional department funds on top of GTA in one of my offers, so I guess it's not uncommon (although in my case they indicated it on the admission letter). I would double check with both the department and the international office to make sure there is no mistake on your I-20.

Also, maybe it's just me, but I would be really suspicious about the $11,800 estimate for 12 months. From my experience, schools tend to underestimate the expenses for international students.

Edited by nobraintrain

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3 hours ago, fuzzylogician said:

I mean, what more do you expect us to say? We're talking about an internal funding source listed on an I20 by an unnamed employee at an international students office at an unnamed university, presumably based on information provided by yet another unnamed employee of an unnamed department at said unnamed university. It's hard to offer any kind of input beyond: either it's real and they're offering you more funding than you thought, or it's a mistake. If you're wondering how often miscommunications happen where someone ends up with more/less funding than they thought, well, who knows. I'm sure it happens. Either way, the only place where you will be able to get answers is your department. 

This. Not sure what you are looking for here. Many of the funding decisions are a case-by-case scenario and even all of the students in your program might be on different funding sources. Best bet is to ask your department and cut the uncertainty.

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Posted (edited)

46 minutes ago, nobraintrain said:

I also have additional department funds on top of GTA in one of my offers, so I guess it's not uncommon (although in my case they indicated it on the admission letter)

That is what I was looking for; I highly appreciate your input. I was confused at first, but apparently, it is not that unusual to have additional funds on top of one's GTA stipend. I will, however, check with the department regarding this issue. Thank you again.

Cheers,

ch1ndra

Edited by ch1ndra
Typo

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It's entirely possible that the "department stipend" is another term for the tuition waiver you're receiving...

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On 4/23/2017 at 9:35 PM, rising_star said:

It's entirely possible that the "department stipend" is another term for the tuition waiver you're receiving...

You cannot be more right. I asked the department about it and apparently, "departmental stipend" is yet another ambiguous term for "tuition waver". I guess it's one of those "April fool" prank on admitted students. Damn! A bubble of hope didn't last long.

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