Monday, March 20, 2017

How About the Financial Aid from PhD Programs?

Not really a question, but a suggestion: "it would be great if you can do a blog post on funding, tuition waivers, stipends and scholarships that the schools offer".

From what I've seen, the two main components related to financial aid by schools for PhD are about tuition and stipend.

At least for the business PhD programs I applied to, tuition was totally covered by the school. The way it works may change a bit, but you get a fellowship or something like that. So, business PhD is mostly free, since tuition is covered. Not totally free, since there may be other small fees, but those are usually not so significant.

Not only the PhD is mostly free, but you also get paid since a PhD is like a job in some ways.

You are paid a stipend for your work at the school. What work? You will be like an assistant. I've seen two types: TA (Teaching Assistantship) and RA (Research Assistantship). Your responsibilities will depend on the school and on the professors you'll be working with, but may include grading exams or doing calculations for a professor's research, for example. Those assistantships are a part-time job of 20 hours a week.

How much are you paid? Well, not enough to make you rich, but hopefully enough to survive. For business PhD, there are schools with stipends below $ 20,000 a year, and schools with stipends well over $ 40,000 a year. So, it is very different depending on the school. Stipends for PhD programs for other departments instead of business may be very different too.

An important thing to remember is that it is important to know how much you will earn, but also to have an idea about how much you will spend. A stipend of $ 40,000 may be low for a very expensive city, while a $ 20,000 may be adequate for a city with a lower cost of living.

Some schools inform the value of their stipends. But many don't. A website which may help you to have a better idea about stipends in those cases is PhD Stipends. A source for cost of living data is the Living Wage Calculator.

Additional funds and resources may be provided, depending on the school. Some school have funds available for those interested in specific subjects, or applicants from a certain race, for example. Many schools provide additional funds to help with expenses during a conference presentation too. You should check each program's website and application forms.

Also, check for how long the school is expected to provide you with the financial support I outlined above (4, 5 or 6 years, for example), and what are specific conditions and requirements. An important condition you may find, for example, is that you cannot work somewhere else during your PhD. If you get a job during your PhD, you can lose financial aid from school.

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