As you’re looking into graduate school, you may be wondering “How do finances work as a graduate student? How is graduate school funded?” Well don’t worry! Today we’ll be discussing exactly that!
How are doctoral programs funded?
In general, if you are accepted as a doctoral candidate, you will receive a stipend with which to do your work. Part of this money comes from the school’s coffers, but the majority stems from your research advisor’s grant funding. This stipend won’t be a king’s ransom, and indeed you’ll likely be living at or below the federal poverty line, but you shouldn’t have to take out loans to attend a doctoral program. The exact stipend you receive varies greatly by school and especially by geographic location, but in general, you will have enough money for rent, food, and basic expenses. Many graduate students receive a roughly $22,000 stipend, which is again just enough to keep you afloat, with some beer money on the side. The important thing is you will likely not have to take out loans to attend graduate school, so though you won’t be making bank or saving a ton during these years, at least when you graduate, you will have a >$0 net worth!
Should I pay to attend graduate school for a PhD?
In general, NO. Most, if not all, reputable PhD programs are fully funded, so if you are expected to take out loans, this is a huge red flag. If a graduate program does not have enough grant funding or resources to support a graduate student, it’s likely not a very strong program. Academia is all about the research, and if the professors aren’t pulling enough grant funding to support even the most meager of graduate student stipends, they probably aren’t doing high profile work or research that would assist you in the future. Be very, very careful with pay-for-PhD programs as attending these likely won’t further your future interests!