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New hiring stipends for incoming doctoral students
October 14, 2015Tweet
Binghamton University will add about $600,000 each year for four years to its stipend pool for incoming doctoral students, beginning in fall 2016. The influx of funds – from the Road Map – will bring the University’s stipends into the 75th percentile compared to its peers.
“We did a study that compared our stipends to a cohort of our peers, then applied a cost-of-living calculator and adjusted our stipends relative to theirs based on our cost of living,” said Susan Strehle, vice provost and dean of the Graduate School.
“Recruiting graduate students is competitive, nationally, and to bring in the best students, we need to offer stipends higher than the 50th percentile in each field; it’s also one of our goals for Middle States,” she said.
Strehle said a study completed this year showed that the stipends offered by Binghamton’s graduate programs were low across the humanities, social sciences, education and management, but particularly low in the STEM fields.
Graduate stipends at Binghamton need to increase in relation to national norms, she added. “We used to raise stipends as we had money, trying to improve everyone a little bit, without knowing what our competitors were offering. Now we know STEM stipends are higher elsewhere, and we need to raise the levels in those fields.”
The University is also responding to what departments have reported, which confirm the results of the study – applicants in the sciences and engineering are receiving higher stipend offers elsewhere, so we can’t compete for strong students.
Though STEM fields will see the largest stipend increases, all graduate programs will benefit, Strehle said. “We care about all of the graduate programs, so our humanities, social sciences, management, nursing, and education programs will also make offers at the 75th percentile for those fields.
“When there are funds for a stipend increase, every university does the same thing: they raise stipends for new students as a recruiting device to get high-quality students,” Strehle added. “This is a big stipend increase and though it will mean a few years of disparity for current students, after four years, all of our funded graduate students in each program will reach the same higher level.”
This model is not unique to Binghamton, said Strehle, nor is the need to be competitive in seeking high-quality students. “We need to use the stipends to recruit the best students we can get.”
Increasing the excellence of graduate education and research is the heart of Road Map Strategic Priority 1, Strehle added, and it’s a very expensive process. It’s at the top of Road Map priorities, and the investment in these stipends will lift the University’s profile for graduate education and research.
“We’ve hired great new faculty, and if we add the best new graduate students we can recruit – the work that they do together will raise our whole enterprise and there’ll be more grants, patents, inventions and original work getting done,” Strehle said.
Binghamton’s message now is: “We have competitive stipends plus an affordable cost of living. Come explore Binghamton University’s graduate programs.”