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Fellowship Salaries: 60k in Palo Alto vs 55k in Chicago?


Fellowship Salaries: 60k in Palo Alto vs 55k in Chicago?  

13 members have voted

  1. 1. Given roughly equivalent fellowships at Stanford and the University of Chicago, which location (accounting for cost of living + salary differences) is more desirable?

    • Palo Alto
    • Chicago

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Hey all - I've been lucky enough to be offered two research fellowships starting Sept. 2021. While money isn't the main concern (ie I don't feel the need to be living lavish or making a ton of money right now) I am wondering if anyone can attest to whether being in the Bay Area is worth a significant pay cut? For reference, I'm a data scientist, and am potentially interested in a PhD, but may also want to go into industry after this fellowship. This cost of living calculator estimates that 60k in SF is roughly equivalent to making 35k in Chicago, which is obviously quite significant. Though maybe others feel that being close to industry, nice climate, outdoor activities, etc. may be worth the haircut. Never lived in either city before so I'm really just trying to get my bearings as to what it'd be like day-to-day in either situation. Work is equally interesting.

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I would go to the Bay Area, as it seems like you perceive some advantages (climate, industry, etc.) to that route. Interestingly, the rental market has suffered greatly in the Bay Area (while the housing market has remained very strong). This is not the case in Chicago, where the rental market remains fairly competitive. If you can lock in a good 12/24-month rental agreement in SF, it seems like the cost of living will be sustainable with your 60k/yr salary.

Of course, Chicago will always be significantly more affordable--so if you want to have lots of discretionary spending, I would still go to U Chicago.

Edited by gradapplicant1012
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