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Schools in high cost of living areas?


kor_to_nola
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Hi, I just wanted to see what kinds of situation students are in when it comes to high cost of living. At first thought, schools in Boston, NY or California area come into my mind. Seems like graduate housing & health insurance is usually the biggest two factor that affects your living conditions. 

If you do go to a school in a big city, what kind of elements do you enjoy in your funding, and do you find that to be enough? 

If not, what are you doing to fulfill the gap in your finance?

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Work and/or loans. Of my PhD colleagues, I think all of us worked part time or took out loans in order to make ends meet.

Personally, I took a part time job at the local Genius Bar and mostly worked on desktops and laptops.

I was also married and we had my wife’s salary too, but grad school stipends are a joke that makes you cry yourself to sleep.

EDIT: For my MDiv I worked for the city of Nashville as a research assistant in their office of historic preservation 

Edited by xypathos
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10 hours ago, xypathos said:

Work and/or loans. Of my PhD colleagues, I think all of us worked part time or took out loans in order to make ends meet.

Personally, I took a part time job at the local Genius Bar and mostly worked on desktops and laptops.

I was also married and we had my wife’s salary too, but grad school stipends are a joke that makes you cry yourself to sleep.

EDIT: For my MDiv I worked for the city of Nashville as a research assistant in their office of historic preservation 

Was this situation on a full-tuition + stipend?

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I go to BU. If you can live in the theology grad student dorm (only for first year M* students) it’s the equivalent of 710 a month for a double room/850 for a single, although you do have to pay by semester. If you live in the regular grad student dorm, it’s 725 a month for a single and you pay by month.

If you’re really lucky and female you can live in the graduate women’s dorm that’s 1800 a semester. I know at least one person who’s an RA in an undergrad dorm. They’re compensated only in housing.  If you get assigned to an undergrad dorm that doesn’t have a kitchen you also get a meal plan. There’s also people who live in various ‘young adult’ communal living houses usually run by their denomination, for example, one of my classmates is a Christian Scientist and lives in their house. I want to say the rent at these houses is usually around 600 a month? There’s some Episcopal ones around Boston, one of which is vaguely affiliated with BU, there’s a Quaker one somewhere, and I know that BU has connections with Methodist churches where seminarians will live there in exchange for serving the church. 

I don’t have a stipend. I do have a full tuition scholarship, although there’s still about 1000 a year in fees. I have a job making 16 an hour working about 18 hours a week (268 post tax) and I also got a research assistantship from November to May that pays 1453 (pre tax). A lot of my classmates did get a stipend. Jobs other people I know have are things like working at the dining hall or being a barista. 

A lot of people here who live off campus have parents who pay their rent (then there’s the people who have a spouse with a job). Mine don’t, but they did let me live at home last year and didn’t charge me rent while I was getting unemployment, which is what I’m using to pay for the first year and a half of my MTS. I also have a negligble amount of private student loans that can’t be deferred, and a lot of my classmates have no loans at all. There was one person who was trying to do school full time and work full time because he still had lots of loans from his private undergrad a decade ago, and he dropped out. I’m just saying all this to paint an honest picture. (Also, I’m under 26 and my parents pay for health insurance, which I imagine is also the case for a lot of my classmates. The ‘average’ age at BU if you look online is like 40, but I would say the median age for a first year M* student is around 24.) 

There are people who have taken out loans. I don’t think this is necessarily the worst thing in the world assuming you have no or little undergrad debt. 

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On 12/26/2021 at 5:43 AM, xypathos said:

Yes. Often the stipend for M* students is in the 10-15k range but that varies by school.

Thank you. 

16 hours ago, MaryHildegard said:

I go to BU. If you can live in the theology grad student dorm (only for first year M* students) it’s the equivalent of 710 a month for a double room/850 for a single, although you do have to pay by semester. If you live in the regular grad student dorm, it’s 725 a month for a single and you pay by month.

If you’re really lucky and female you can live in the graduate women’s dorm that’s 1800 a semester. I know at least one person who’s an RA in an undergrad dorm. They’re compensated only in housing.  If you get assigned to an undergrad dorm that doesn’t have a kitchen you also get a meal plan. There’s also people who live in various ‘young adult’ communal living houses usually run by their denomination, for example, one of my classmates is a Christian Scientist and lives in their house. I want to say the rent at these houses is usually around 600 a month? There’s some Episcopal ones around Boston, one of which is vaguely affiliated with BU, there’s a Quaker one somewhere, and I know that BU has connections with Methodist churches where seminarians will live there in exchange for serving the church. 

I don’t have a stipend. I do have a full tuition scholarship, although there’s still about 1000 a year in fees. I have a job making 16 an hour working about 18 hours a week (268 post tax) and I also got a research assistantship from November to May that pays 1453 (pre tax). A lot of my classmates did get a stipend. Jobs other people I know have are things like working at the dining hall or being a barista. 

A lot of people here who live off campus have parents who pay their rent (then there’s the people who have a spouse with a job). Mine don’t, but they did let me live at home last year and didn’t charge me rent while I was getting unemployment, which is what I’m using to pay for the first year and a half of my MTS. I also have a negligble amount of private student loans that can’t be deferred, and a lot of my classmates have no loans at all. There was one person who was trying to do school full time and work full time because he still had lots of loans from his private undergrad a decade ago, and he dropped out. I’m just saying all this to paint an honest picture. (Also, I’m under 26 and my parents pay for health insurance, which I imagine is also the case for a lot of my classmates. The ‘average’ age at BU if you look online is like 40, but I would say the median age for a first year M* student is around 24.) 

There are people who have taken out loans. I don’t think this is necessarily the worst thing in the world assuming you have no or little undergrad debt. 

Thank you for the details. Didn't know certain schools had denomination houses. I'm trying to consider options for PhD, which will be different than M* level students, but this is very helpful to discern what type of effort is necessary.  

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My wife and I (30s) live in New Haven where I attend YDS. Our finances come from her salary, a full-tuition scholarship, and my 10hr/wk PT gig. Even with the scholarship, however, I pay a few thousand per semester in fees, insurance, and other misc. YDS students can live in the on-campus apartments for between $800-1050/month, based on unit size. Those who live off-campus usually have housemates who split rent costs, some even as low as $400-500/month.

We don't live glamorously by any means, but we are privileged to have comfortable lives (thanks in a large part to my supportive partner). Many students here depend upon loans for housing and living costs, even while working part time.

Okay, I just read that you're considering options for PhD, so I'll add brief observations about Religious Studies students I've encountered at Yale. They live similarly to M* students, though with greater access to stipends. Most I know work at least part time to supplement whatever stipend they have. Many split rent with housemates, yet I've met a few who somehow manage to live alone. Honestly, I don't know how any of them could afford living in New Haven just on a stipend and PT work without taking out loans. If you'd like to chat more, feel free to DM.

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As someone that lived in Atlanta on a PhD stipend, it's rough going. At the end of the day, I don't know a single student that did it. I've yet to meet a single student at any institution that accomplished it either. We had partners, some were independently wealthy, parents footed the bill, student loans, and/or PT work.

Some school's like Yale offer stipends around 33k but very few of us (PhD grads and hopefuls) stand a chance to attend Yale. You're far more likely looking at a stipend of 20-25k, probably.

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