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.