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vesperalvioletta

Negotiating an assistantship stipend

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I've recently been offered a graduate assistantship with my university's rowing team, and I'm trying to figure out if I might be able to negotiate a more substantial stipend from the athletics department. Has anyone had success doing something similar in the past?

To give some context, as it stands right now the initial offer is full tuition remission plus a stipend of $10k a year (if I choose not to take a summer course, this would drop) for a 25-30 hours/week commitment. GA positions at my university aren't regulated under any sort of union, so pay and levels of tuition remission vary wildly from position to position. For instance, I'm sort of still in contention for a different position that offers full tuition remission and pays $20/hr for 20 hours/week. Most GA positions at my university require little more than basic proficiency in Microsoft Word and the ability to do simple office work. In contrast, I had to have years of specialized training and coaching experience to be eligible for the rowing position, not to mention that it's a greater time commitment than any other available GA position I've seen at my university. 

If I break down the offered stipend (before taxes) into an hourly rate, I wouldn't even be making minimum wage. The school I go to is located in the metropolitan area of a mid-size city, so while the cost of living isn't NYC or LA high, I still fear that I won't be able to afford to live on the stipend, plus the salary I make at my additional part-time job.

Do you think I have a case to make?

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It doesn't hurt to ask. I think your argument regarding the number of hours required is a strong one, as well as your advanced qualifications. But keep in mind that their hands may be absolutely tied.

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@vesperalvioletta before negotiating, double check to make sure that you can work a part-time job and still be eligible for the stipend. 

Also, unless you receive a regular pay check from your part time job, you're earning wages. The distinction is especially important for a graduate student in your situation.

Were good ole, @TakeruK still a regular poster, your OP would likely re-spark a long running discussion over different ways graduate students can view the work they do as assistants. As he's not here, you might profit from reading some of the discussions he's participated on over the matter.

When you project the costs and benefits of each position, please make sure that you take into account the "suck factor" of each as well as any hidden costs--like a substantially more stringent dress code, or the time it will take you to decompress from work, and so on.

#HTH

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