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Why do some programs within same university differ in funding


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Differences in funding also comes from differences in funding sources. At my last school, every TA and RA on campus is paid the same hourly wage, yet some programs tend to pay their students more overall than others. This could result in the amount of TA load -- some programs hire their students for 5 hours/week TA, or 10 hours/week, or 20 hours/week. Some departments also have extra funding that they use to award fellowships to their students. And finally, probably the biggest difference, is that in some fields, we are paid RA hours for the work we do on our thesis and in others, students are not paid for their thesis work. Usually, the fields that can pay RAships for thesis work are the fields where professors can apply for grant money to hire workers. 

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My experience is that funding is allocated to departments, who then decide what to do with it. Some pay everyone the same amount, others don't. Some departments make their decisions earlier than others. For example, at my PhD university, the stipends ranger from ~$13K in some humanities departments to $32K in a physical science discipline. The latter department often uses grant money to pay students as RAs, which may account for the higher stipend.

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