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Too low GTA/GRA salary


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Hey guys, so I have been admitted to PhD program with funding, but the problem is that my salary will be quite low, actually it is lower enough than my previous salary as Research Assistant.

I don`t live luxury life, but I do care about food and from my previous US college experience I know that for good food I would need a bit more money, I know there are a lot of junk food options, but eating well is very critical for me personally, besides I will have to pay various fees like visa paperwork fees, sevis fee, flight tickets (I`m coming from Asia), apt deposit and etc. And although I have some savings, I don`t think it would be smart to spend all of my money, I`m not sure I will be able to return those money with this salary.

Soo..I was wondering what can I do in this situation?

1) Asking for raise? I don`t think they will do it, they have just sent me an offer, why would they raise my salary?

2) Declining an offer? Maybe, but so far I don`t have better option.

3) Any supporting scholarships/funds? Would be really great if I could find one.

4) Getting discount on housing somehow? (I mean, I don`t know, I`m just brainstorming)

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Having roommates, looking for coupons/student discounts at grocery stores, looking for farmer's markets to buy food at, buying in bulk (sometimes), and looking for flight discounts can help on the savings side.

On the getting more money side, apply for everything you are eligible for. A lot of schools also have RA positions (outside of your own supervisor), work-study positions, on-campus jobs, and odd jobs for a bit of extra money here and there. If your school has a psychology department, they pay people to answer simple questions and do tasks often; just look for the flyers.

There might be a different cost of living there, so it might make sense. Often engineering PhDs do okay, but I can't say whether this is true without any details.

Although it might be tempting to try to save a bit (if you do take the position), the easiest way to make your budget and savings goals is to make more money. Depending on what the rules are about working outside of your program, you could do an internship part time that's related to your work.

Good luck!

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