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Life on $5,000

May 14th, 2008 at 10:00 am

I received an email from the director of my program stating that she is taking applications for next year's graduate assistantships.

Free tuition. Yipee!

The stipend is only $5,000.

Who can live off of 5grand?

*edited update*

I didn't get the assistantship but I am going to apply. I just dont understand how they expect someone to live on $5,000 for an entire year.

6 Responses to “Life on $5,000”

  1. tripods68 Says:

    Not me.

    That would ONLY cover about 90% of our monthly expenses which include retirement contributions and EF.

    But hey, at least you got money for free....Smile

  2. managinglife Says:

    You are so blessed!! Take the free tution and use it to reduce your school expenses.

  3. koppur Says:

    when I got small stipends like that in grad school i used extra from my student loans to make ends meet.

    in the us, as a graduate student, you are guaranteed $20,000 a year in student loans. how you use it is your decision. when i was in grad school i only made about 8 grad a year at the job i had, so i used my $20K a year to pay for tuition and to live on. Now, of course, I have to pay it all back, but the interest rate I got locked into a is low one and it is much cheaper than if I had been using CCs or a personal loan from a bank to live on.

  4. Mulyanto Says:

    The University I used to go to has a unionized graduate assistant program. All graduate assistants make at least $11/hr (or about that amount) based on 1/2 time assistantship (20 hrs/wk). All graduate assistant get health insurance and on-campus parking privileges (at a cost). Healthy programs set their stipend much higher to compete with other universities (i.e. some natural sciences, all engineering, business) and attract good graduates. The program I graduated from paid at over $20/hr half time. A certain university I applied for grad school at (but got rejected from) paid over $30/hr to their grads. My point is, the more competitive the program, probably the higher your stipend.

    Back to your question about living off of $5K, I'd say it's true that education is truly an investment. I always felt it was a privilege to be able to complete graduate studies, because not anyone gets the chance too. One question you have to ask yourself, is it really worth it, and do you really want to do it, if not it's a waste of time and money. I have known plenty of people that just kept on studying because they didn't know what else to do. So, anyway, I think it's ok to be not paid to study, anything you make is a bonus. Hopefully your investment in education will pay off later on.

  5. baselle Says:

    I managed to live about 6K/year on graduate stipend, but that was 20 years ago! I had mentioned that to the administrator of the stipend right at the end. She had a very stricken look and quietly said, "I didn't anybody could do that. You weren't really supposed to."

    "They" do expect you to treat the stipend as a way to take out 5K less in loans. So the strategy is pretty much what you'd expect - make a decent budget, use the 5K to take as much of a bite out of your loan profile as you can. And you also want to check for strings in your stipend. It used to be that a number of stipends said you can't teach or get alternate work - it was to spread the riches around a bit and to get you to "concentrate on your studies", but in fact if the stipend restricts you too much - not valuable.

  6. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Undergrad son will be summer research technician and will be paid $4400 for ten weeks work. So, $11/hour if he works 40. I think my friend who finished grad school 2 years ago got $18,000 for his Assistantship.

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