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seattle on 15K would be tough. you'd need a few roommates, i don't think you could live alone on that stipend, and probably in a "less desirable" (which can often be more fun) neighbourhood. it would be tight, though, i won't lie.

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OP, congrats on Miami! My younger brother is there now. And yes, seriously, there isn't THAT much to spend on in Oxford if you haven't been there. The nearest cities are 35-45 minutes away. This is a small town in middle of a cornfield so $15,000 really is fine to live on for two years. You'll learn to adjust once you get there and find that there isn't much to drop your money on (except for online shopping...).

Good luck!

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I seem to be coming at this from a different perspective, which may be useless, but it makes sense to me:

I worked hard/got scholarships/work-study etc in undergrad and still had to take out a buttload of loans to pay for the private LAC I attended. My wife did too. We get married and now we have all those debts together. After making money for a while I went back to school, and now I'm finishing up my masters, and took out a loan to help pay for living expenses for this year. Especially now that we have a child, and another on the way, money is very tight.

I got a great offer from a school, but frankly, even so it will not be enough to pay for all the living expenses of a family of four, particularly as my wife will also be beginning studies in field that never offers a stipend: advanced nursing.

All that to say, I fully intend to get a loan to supplement my stipend. Education costs money. I'm richly lucky to have tuition waved, health insurance provided to my whole family, research trips paid for AND be given a stipend. I expect to have to sacrifice something on my end.

Just my $.02.

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Being overworked and underpaid for the best years of your life just because the department you're a member of has chosen to use you as slave labor instead of hiring more professors/post-docs isn't enough?

Valid point. However, apologies if this is too trite, but I think it comes down to the question of whether this process is an end in and off itself, or its instrumental. Frankly, I think the whole idea of being payed to learn is somewhat surreal.

Also, many many people pay a lot of money to get education (even a PhD), so yes, I would say it's a privilege.

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My position isn't exactly similar but I'll hi-jack your post anyway. :)

I left a job making 50k in North Carolina to go back to school full time. With a part time job and fin aid refunds I think I immediately lost 38k/year of income.

I bit the bullet and got a roommate. It's easy to say "get five roommates and live in a paint can! this is an investment!" but I understand being older and having concerns about the viability of that. The biggest adjustment is not sitting on the couch in my underwear. That one hurts. But its mostly worked out ok. I opted for one of those new apartment complex exclusively for students deals. First, separate leases means less hassle and its all inclusive of utilities/cable/internet. Perhaps you could check for one of those? Campus Communities owns the biggest, I think. However, I've seen similar arrangements in small, privately owned apt complexes near Universities. Fixed utility costs is a tremendous relief -- easier budgeting and less stress about keeping up with due dates and such.

I also like the idea of another poster about freelancing if that is possible in your field. I was a copywriter -- among other things -- in a former life and I find one off gigs from elance, craigslist and former clients/employers. Also I transferred those skills to the current market. I'll do line editing of papers, grantwriting, anything for a stipend. My mentor calls himself a citation ho -- "i'll do anything for a citation!" -- and he recently told me that I'm a stipend ho. Be a stipend ho. It rarely hurts and it won't shame your mother.

But, we'll see how this all goes for me in a few months! I'm moving to a pricier city and fighting hard to afford a one bedroom. I have to decide if $1k/mth with all utilities included is worth it to me. :/

ETA: I checked and quick search yielded: http://www.forrent.com/apartment-community-profile/1000005888.php. These are similar to what I live in. I don't know if its feasible for a couple though.

Edited by coyabean
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