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GSC discusses graduate stipend transparency and funding questions

Council members highlight difficulty in accessing pay information

SEAN CHEN/The Stanford Daily

During its final meeting of the summer on Wednesday, the Graduate Student Council (GSC) discussed graduate student funding transparency, stipends and other pertinent campus issues to bring up at a November town hall with Provost Persis Drell.

Council members considered the improvement of transparency of funding and salary information for both incoming and enrolled graduate students.

According to Council member Isa Rosa, a PhD candidate in civil and environmental engineering, it can be difficult to find information on salaries and minimum stipends, which sometimes leads to students’ unclear expectations or misconceptions about their finances.

“It takes actually quite a bit of a chunk of your time to make sure that all of your bills are in order because [the University has] made the ‘how you’re getting paid’ less and less transparent as the years have gone by,” Rosa said.

Social Chair and Division of Literature, Culture and Languages Ph.D. student Gabby Badica concurred with Rosa’s statement, stating that departments should take a more active role in easing the accessibility of financial information.

“We should pressure departments to be transparent,” Badica said. “You shouldn’t have to wait until Oct. 27 to know how much you get paid.”

Councillor and biophysics Ph.D. candidate Melanie Malinas further raised the questions of expanding fully subsidized Cardinal Care coverage across the graduate student body and raising the minimum stipend received by Ph.D. students to keep up with rising taxes.

Council members also discussed how to ensure funding for new PhD students.

Council members said they intend to more deliberately foster community among graduate students — within academic programs and across departments — in the upcoming school year.

To start, Badica announced a graduate student social event to be held on the afternoon of Saturday Aug. 18 at Kennedy Grove. Council members also said they intend to advocate that departments apportion funds, to be managed by graduate students, for social endeavors.

The GSC also passed funding for a Diwali celebration in November and discussed funding options for the annual United Nations Association Film Festival to be held in October.

The GSC’s next official meeting will be on Sept. 26, though it will be hosting a mock meeting during New Graduate Student Orientation to familiarize new admits with student government and ways to be involved.

 

Contact Sean Chen at kxsean ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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