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How to figure out rhet/comp stipends...before applying

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During my MA application process I really had no understanding of what a stipend for a rhet/comp student would look like (or frankly how far it would get me living in that potential city). I ended up applying to programs that didn't offer MA funding (which I was not aware of when applying). Now that I'm looking into PhD programs I want to know upfront, how much should I expect. The question is, how to figure that out on my own. Some ways I'm attempting to do that right now:

1. Dig around GC to see if anyone has recently mentioned their package

2. Try to find info on the graduate school site (highly unsuccessful so far)

3. Ask around my own program to see if anyone knows 

 

So far this has been fairly unsuccessful. I do not want to contact programs about their stipends (as I know budgets change from year to year depending on cohort # and department changes), however I don't want to waste my own money applying to schools that will not offer me a livable stipend. I know there is a database floating around for english programs, but it does not contain a lot of rhet/comp schools (much less state schools I'm planning on applying to). So, how have others gotten around this? Does anyone have a successful method of figuring this before applying, or is it common to just straight up ask programs how much graduate stipends generally are and what they include? Sidenote if anyone is willing to share their packages here or has information/resources for the following programs I would be forever grateful.

 

Some rhet/comp programs I'm thinking of applying to:

Clemson (RCID)

Bowling Green (English)

Purdue (English): I had a collegue mention around 13k, but this seems unreasonably low for the program/PhD level, but what do I know

Miami (at Ohio)

Texas Christian University (I've heard around the 17k range, but I'm not sure if that's true)

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (English)

University of Texas (El Paso)

Ohio University

The Ohio State University

University of Arizona

 

This thread could also just turn into a share your offers thread in general.

 

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OSU has this information available at the following link: https://english.osu.edu/grad/ma-phd/funding. The number quoted is a bit outdated, as we've received a nominal raise for the upcoming year. The site should still be able to get a decent sense of how funding works here, though.

Other schools should have funding info directly on their departmental pages. Sometimes finding it just takes a bit more digging than you'd expect. If you happen to discover funding info for graduate students, but it doesn't explicitly talk about rhet/comp tracks, I think you can reasonably assume the stated packaged is offered to rhet/comp as well as lit students. (Others should correct me if I'm wrong about this.)

If all else fails, you can always get in touch with DGS if you've done your best to find funding info through department or graduate school sites. You just want to make sure you're asking them questions that aren't clearly available on their websites. That's a good way to get off on the wrong foot. 

You can also take a peek at the following spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1H7d9iuwSL8ZWE-DmFo2013lpF2cL7hDidWcDt4mic0Q/edit#gid=0. Some of the numbers here are old, but it should give you a ballpark sense of what programs provide. I'm seeing at least a few of the schools you've listed.

Edited by Ramus
I can't differentiate homophones, apparently

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1 hour ago, renea said:

So far this has been fairly unsuccessful. I do not want to contact programs about their stipends (as I know budgets change from year to year depending on cohort # and department changes), however I don't want to waste my own money applying to schools that will not offer me a livable stipend.

Make sure the information is not on the department's website, but if not, I think it's entirely appropriate to email the department and ask. They may not be able to give you precise numbers for the reasons you state, but they can tell you about their policy (e.g., we don't fund MA students; we try to fund everyone we admit; X% of our students are funded through assistantships and Y% have their own funding; we can't make any promises, etc). Ask specifically how many students are *currently* being funded or partially funded by the program, and when in the year funding decisions are made. Ask about the rough/average amount student get. Also if funding is decided again every year or if you're guaranteed funding then it's for the duration of the program. It might help you to know if a school only funds half its students and makes those decisions in July, because that would mean you'd be taking a big risk on such a school, even if it did work out. 

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I was able to find Bowling Green and Miami Ohio stipend information on their websites, although *where* exactly that was has slipped my mind, and I can't seem to recreate my search. I remember them being in the ballpark of 13k and 16k, respectively.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln has a great program that you may want to check out. Their base stipend was 17k this year, and they have additional fellowships.

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7 hours ago, Ramus said:

You can also take a peek at the following spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1H7d9iuwSL8ZWE-DmFo2013lpF2cL7hDidWcDt4mic0Q/edit#gid=0. Some of the numbers here are old, but it should give you a ballpark sense of what programs provide. I'm seeing at least a few of the schools you've listed.

Thanks for reposting the spreadsheet. I think I either overlooked/haven't looked at it more recently since it seems longer than I recalled. 

6 hours ago, fuzzylogician said:

Make sure the information is not on the department's website, but if not, I think it's entirely appropriate to email the department and ask. They may not be able to give you precise numbers for the reasons you state, but they can tell you about their policy (e.g., we don't fund MA students; we try to fund everyone we admit; X% of our students are funded through assistantships and Y% have their own funding; we can't make any promises, etc). Ask specifically how many students are *currently* being funded or partially funded by the program, and when in the year funding decisions are made. Ask about the rough/average amount student get. Also if funding is decided again every year or if you're guaranteed funding then it's for the duration of the program. It might help you to know if a school only funds half its students and makes those decisions in July, because that would mean you'd be taking a big risk on such a school, even if it did work out. 

That's good advice, and I think once I'm more solid on where I want to apply I may reach out as a last resort. I guess I'm just nervous of looking like all I care about is how good a package is rather than fit (or worse, presuming that I will get into their program before I've even applied).

57 minutes ago, CrunchyMamademic said:

I was able to find Bowling Green and Miami Ohio stipend information on their websites, although *where* exactly that was has slipped my mind, and I can't seem to recreate my search. I remember them being in the ballpark of 13k and 16k, respectively.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln has a great program that you may want to check out. Their base stipend was 17k this year, and they have additional fellowships.

Thanks for letting me know about Nebrask-Lincoln, I've heard good things about them, but I hadn't personally researched the program. I'll have to look into it

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3 hours ago, renea said:

That's good advice, and I think once I'm more solid on where I want to apply I may reach out as a last resort. I guess I'm just nervous of looking like all I care about is how good a package is rather than fit (or worse, presuming that I will get into their program before I've even applied).

Sure, you want to do this with departments you've already researched and you generally think are a good fit for what you're looking for. Once you've done that, if there is no current funding info on their website, I think it's totally fine to write a short and professional note to the DGS (or whoever they indicate as the contact person) to introduce yourself as an undergrad studying [blah] with an interest in [blahdiblah], say you are interested in applying to School, as it seems like a good fir for your interests, but you couldn't find any information about funding and you were wondering if you could ask a couple of questions (hey, school, do you fund students? how many of them? for how long, and how much roughly? when do you made decisions? -- only polite..). We're all adults here and we all know that you need money to survive. I'm sure someone has told you this before but it's worth repeating: do NOT get into debt for a degree in the Humanities. This is important, and you need to find out. 

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14 hours ago, fuzzylogician said:

I'm sure someone has told you this before but it's worth repeating: do NOT get into debt for a degree in the Humanities. This is important, and you need to find out. 

Yeah, no worries. I'm debt free both from my undergrad and MA, which is mostly why I'm not willing to have to take out any loans so I can live comfortably during my PhD. I've just been getting nervous seeing some people mention $13k stipends for PhD programs as if it's a good package, and I just know that's not a livable situation for myself. Applying is also just really expensive and if I know a package isn't going to be competitive I'd rather not waste the $50-100 applying.

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2 hours ago, renea said:

Yeah, no worries. I'm debt free both from my undergrad and MA, which is mostly why I'm not willing to have to take out any loans so I can live comfortably during my PhD. I've just been getting nervous seeing some people mention $13k stipends for PhD programs as if it's a good package, and I just know that's not a livable situation for myself. Applying is also just really expensive and if I know a package isn't going to be competitive I'd rather not waste the $50-100 applying.

It might be worth noting that there are places that have stipends around 13k but they have a very low cost of living. Nebraska's stipend is around 16k but that goes further than 25k would in NYC.

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1 minute ago, Warelin said:

It might be worth noting that there are places that have stipends around 13k but they have a very low cost of living. Nebraska's stipend is around 16k but that goes further than 25k would in NYC.

True. My worry is that I'm already at a 14k (doesn't include summer) stipend in a very low cost of living area. I can't imagine too many other places on my list that would be cheaper to live so a step down in stipend really would be a step down in terms of what I can afford (sound advice though- one of the key reasons I'm not looking into programs in NYC or Cali- I just know that I couldn't live comfortably). I know there is always fellowships/grants, but I don't want to be dependent on something I can't guarantee.

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I will caution you not to eliminate programs based on posted stipends, or to count on specific numbers. At my program, our minimum is guaranteed by union contract, but you can jump up into tier 2 or tier 3 based on experience, receive fellowships for additional funds, get guaranteed summer funding, or pick up an extra quarter-time assistantship or nine hours a week in the WC or elsewhere on campus. You can also negotiate extra funds.

 

One thing to ask is what work comes with that stipend. $15k at Purdue means a 2/2 load, while a similar stipend is 1/1 at MSU or OSU. That controls how much work goes into that money, and what freedom you have to make more money.

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