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Offer of admission - asking for more money/funding support


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I wondered if anyone would be willing to share their experiences asking the program/POI if they would be willing to negotiate the stipend if you have received a more competitive offer at another program? If so, how did you approach this and were you successful? I have heard conflicting messages on this and I know it is dependent upon the program etc.

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Congratulations on having multiple offers!

As you said, negotiating pay depends on the program. State schools have less flexibility than private schools. Some schools have graduate student unions that dictate pay which can reduce individual negotiating power. You should also do a cost of living comparison because some places offer less but that money goes a lot further in their location. 

If you have something outstanding on your application or if you fulfill certain diversity and inclusion criteria, the chances are much higher they will try to offer you something extra. They might have specialty fellowships or ear marked funds that they can pull from if you meet specific criteria. For example, my program had a DEI fellowship that pays $10,000 more in the first year and gets people out of having to teach as a first year. However, this is typically only a 1 year bump that won’t hold over time. Generally, I’ve not heard of people successfully negotiating stipends long-term outside of these types of fellowships or endowments. Given how competitive this year is, I doubt that will change. 

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