Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Generosity of financial aid for PhD?

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    3

    Generosity of financial aid for PhD?

    Does anyone have a good sense of how generous Berkeley, Columbia, and Harvard are when it comes to financial aid for planning PhD students? Are any of them like MIT, which appears to fully fund most of those that they let in? Or are they like Columbia's MUP, which seems to require you to be a starving war refugee before they will provide you with substantial financial help?

    Any information would be really helpful, as I try to convince my wife that a PhD wouldn't financially wreck us....

  2. #2
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
    Registered
    May 2005
    Location
    New Town
    Posts
    3,952

    money for school

    I don't know so much about thes particular schools, but I do know about the federal assistance since I just finished my application for next year.

    Most money offered through the univerity system is federal money and are, of course, loans which must be paid back. You fill the forms out for the feds, but it is the university which dispenses the funds and determines your need. The lending rate is still very low, though the available funds are split into those with a fixed and those with a variable rate. Also, some are tax-deferred, and some are not. For me, here in New Mexico, the max is about $18K (and is tax free) which is not nearly enough to support our family of three and so there is a lot of hustling and extra work during the year.

    The other question, which you would have to approach these particular institutions about (and probably the specific program or department), is how much effort they put into finding additional funding. These are usually (but not always) in the form of grants, scholarships, or fellowships, which you do not need to pay back (but for which you may need to work). Schools usually promote these to their students, but you can also do your own searches. Just try some googling under "planning, scholarships, fellowships, PhD" and so on. There are several good clearinghouses of info online.

    Bear in mind, though, that receiving a scholarship may mean not getting as much federal loan money the next year...

    And there i s also the work-study factor. Personally, I am not a big fan because of the extremely low pay (and the limited hours of grad school). I can make more money doing other work on the side outside of the university. However, if it means being a TA in an area you really want to become an expert on, it might be worth the sacrifice.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,169
    My impression after getting my Master's at a large research university is that all PhD students are funded... usually you're not accepted otherwise unless you can be waived in under a research grant. Personally, I think anyone would be crazy to start a PhD without funding. If you can't work with a professor on a research grant, look into TA and other PA opportunities that will give you tuition waivers, health insurance and a small salary. I received a graduate assistantship for 3/4 of my Master's and while that is more rare- it's a possibility.

    If I were you, I would look at the schools you're interested in and then into the professors' research areas. Successful PhD applicants usually are sponsored by a professor who will get you funding or be able to navigate you around the university to some TA or other job while you find a grant in your area.

    I hope this helps.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Ithaca, NY
    Posts
    51
    I would say that 95% of all phd candidates at respectable universities are fully funded, with a stipend for living (usually 18-25k / year, depending on the location)

    In the rare case that they aren't fully funded, some universities then offer them very favorable loans (ala Perkins)

  5. #5
    Member japrovo's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    Posts
    103
    Quote Originally posted by Rumbach
    I would say that 95% of all phd candidates at respectable universities are fully funded, with a stipend for living (usually 18-25k / year, depending on the location)

    In the rare case that they aren't fully funded, some universities then offer them very favorable loans (ala Perkins)
    My understanding is that programs generally fall into two camps---

    1) bring in as many people as you can with a limited funding on the hope they'll work out and catch on with someone doing sponsored reserach, or
    2) bring in only a small group "sponsored" by a specific reserach project.

    My experience was in the first mode, and I think I'm a better entreprenurial sort for having survived it. The common denominator in either case is finding faculty with relevant and interesting sponsored research activities.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jul 2005
    Location
    somewhere, or nowhere
    Posts
    27

    Financial aid for PhD

    Generally speaking I think most schools provide financial aid to their PhD students unless you really want to support yourself, or some other agencies will pay for your education. Don't know how generous those schools you mentioned but the stipend and a tuition waiver won't make you starve - although in my case the amount of the stipend highly depends on the research projects that my professor can have.

    Plus you can always apply fellowships, TA or RA positions, or internships, or apply for research grants if you can have decent proposals. Or if a school only offers you partial financial aid but you desperately want to go there, get a student loan to support the first year, and then seek other sources to support you. There're many sources available, expecially if you're a U.S. citizen.

    So I would say don't worry about money and if you really want to have a PhD, JUST DO IT.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Holiday Generosity
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 12
    Last post: 09 Dec 2010, 6:08 PM
  2. Financial aid and location
    Student Commons
    Replies: 2
    Last post: 16 Aug 2010, 6:35 PM
  3. Replies: 10
    Last post: 20 Apr 2009, 4:49 PM
  4. Financial committee
    Student Commons
    Replies: 0
    Last post: 01 Apr 2009, 4:59 PM
  5. Replies: 0
    Last post: 26 Sep 2007, 11:44 AM