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Negotiating moving expenses?


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Regardless of what offer I end up taking, I will be moving about 3000 miles.  I am saving now for the move, but it seriously will wipe me out before I get that first stipend check.  Between actual moving expenses such as truck, etc., there of course is the first month+ deposit on a rental, utility hookups, car registration, etc etc.  Yes, budget budget budget...but I have just finished 2 masters so I am not exactly rolling in the dough..at all.  I know I am not the only one either.  Thing is, I have been chatting with friends that are already PhDs, and while none of them actually did this, they have mentioned that others they know were able to negotiate moving expenses from their programs. I had no idea this was even remotely possible!  How common is this?  Who has had success doing this?  If you had success with this, how did you posit the negotiation...?  Seems iffy to me, but I am going to seriously approach this if it is at all feasible. help...

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You could ask about it. Some programs have more money that they can play with, others are on a tight budget. I think I had one offer that mentioned moving expenses, but the school I ended up going to doesn't help with moving expenses and made it very clear when I asked. Another thing you could inquire about, if the school doesn't cover moving expenses, is whether it might be possible to get an advance on your first paycheck or alternatively if it would be possible to get an interest-free loan through the school to cover your initial expenses until your paychecks start coming in. Some schools will not cover your expenses but will help in other ways, like an interest-free loan that can help tie you over until you actually start getting paid. That first month can be very expensive, as you already noted. 

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We also made a big move and understand your trouble!

 

Grad students have almost no negotiation power for moving expenses. As fuzzy said, what you can do is ask nicely and hope they have the budget for it and/or they have a policy for it. Some schools do include moving expenses in their package, some schools are able to make money for it happen, and other schools will simply say no. But there's no harm in asking. Ultimately, I would not push hard on it, though, because the moving expenses are not really worth it (as they would make up like 2% of your total stipend over your degree), but that's just my opinion (i.e. might not be worth the fight for me, but could be for you!).

 

My school does not offer moving expenses but they do offer a $2500 one-time, no-interest, no-fee loan for new grad students. You get a 6 month grace period then pay back the $2500 in 18 equal monthly installments. It's pretty nice, because you don't have to pay any fees at all. :)

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Oh by the way, there was one school that offered me moving expenses as part of admission. However, there was a catch! The offer was $1000 towards your combined expenses for the Open House visit and moving expenses. Meant to mention it above with my current school's example.

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Whoo boy! You are hilarious! 

 

I've long wanted to do a study to see if people become entitled, helpless brats during grad school or if entitled, helpless brats are attracted to grad school.

 

Wow, this was extremely rude. There is no harm asking if a program has any available moving assistance for its students. Demanding assistance would be entitled; asking if there is anything available to help you isn't.

 

Next time consider providing a useful response. Maybe something like, "From my experience programs might perceive such a request as acting entitled or ungrateful for the assistance you have been given."

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Whoo boy! You are hilarious! 

 

I've long wanted to do a study to see if people become entitled, helpless brats during grad school or if entitled, helpless brats are attracted to grad school.

 

We are on grad cafe to talk with others and ask questions about things we don't know, or are concerned about as we go through the process.  Much of this is due to the fact that we want to ensure we approach departments in a proper way. Many of us on here prefer to be as informed as possible before we contact department representatives.  GradCafe is often our first stop for clarification...rather than your email inbox. My guess is that many of the applicants feeding you questions or doing things you don't like or approve of, are not GradCafe frequenters. We are here asking questions and researching info to make both our lives AND yours easier.  I doubt you would rather field these questions.  Most of us are very far from being entitled or helpless. Before making generalized insults, I hope you can somehow remember that you know very little to nothing about why we are here.  We are in the middle of a process that keeps a large amount of us functioning around poverty level and highly in debt, with uncertain employment during or after, many of us working outside our programs to support this process, and many of us have families to support as well.  You have a job because we want to be grad students.  If we are so difficult for you to deal with during your job, why are you on here outside of work? If you are on here because you want to be helpful, I hope you reconsider your current approach.

Edited by ritapita
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Whoo boy! You are hilarious!

I've long wanted to do a study to see if people become entitled, helpless brats during grad school or if entitled, helpless brats are attracted to grad school.

Plenty of jobs pay for moving expenses, I'm not sure why asking if grad schools do this makes anyone entitled, helpless or a brat. It seems like a perfectly valid question that I'm sure a lot of people have.

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Whoo boy! You are hilarious! 

 

I've long wanted to do a study to see if people become entitled, helpless brats during grad school or if entitled, helpless brats are attracted to grad school.

Have you ever worked for a major corporation? They pay moving expenses. S.O. does, and I know exactly how much they pay for gas (and if they'll pay for a plane ticket or make you drive based on the distance of the move), number of days they'll put you up in a hotel room, number of days you can rent a car, and even that they'll hook you up with a realator during relocation. Even smaller companies will do something (like pay for gas/give a small stipend) to get and keep people they're really interested in. Moving is a pain. The only way you get around that is to hire local talent only, but it can get difficult to fill high skill jobs from a local applicant pool. Grad schools are on a tighter budget, so moving packages aren't typical. This comment is either a troll or posted by someone who has also never worked in the corporate world.

Edited by poweredbycoldfusion
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Don't feed the trolls, people.

 

GradSecretary is often a good contributor to our discussions on the board so I would try and ignore the tone of the post and take away the message that there is probably a right way and a wrong way to put the question (i.e. as a question vs. as a demand). That much I am willing to believe is true. I don't think, though, that asking politely should come across as entitled, or be harmful in any way.

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GradSecretary definitely is NOT a troll. That said, I also laughed when I read the original question. I know people that have struggled to move with what they're offered for a postdoc or a job in terms of moving expenses. Many federal government jobs specifically say that no relocation expenses are available. So, given that, I find the idea of asking for what could be 10-25% of one's salary to move to be absolutely ludicrous. Feel free to downvote me for saying the same thing GradSecretary said.

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I'm going to guess this is very field dependent. Most post-docs and the vast majority of jobs in my field would offer a nice chunk towards moving expenses, and a number of grad programs help with relocation as well.

 

Makes it a very reasonable question to get here, and also why it's so important to specify field when you're asking a question here, as the answer often changes hugely depending.

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