Negociating stipends?

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zxcv
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Negociating stipends?

Postby zxcv » Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:39 pm

If you have multiple offers and stipends of different amounts, is there any precedent for negotiating financial offers?

VT
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Re: Negociating stipends?

Postby VT » Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:05 pm

I'd love to do that esp with wisc. I hate wisc for such a low TA offer compared to schools of similar rankings.

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dlenmn
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Re: Negociating stipends?

Postby dlenmn » Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:22 pm

I hate to admit to reading such a book, but Getting What You Came For says it can be done and gives a bit of advice, but suggests that it be done gently (it's not like you're buying a car!) and notes that it's hard to pull off if you're not a top student. OTOH, it may be worth a shot, since it's not like they can turn you down at this point (although if you make enemies with the faculty, you could be entering a world of ***).
Last edited by dlenmn on Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

admissionprof
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Re: Negociating stipends?

Postby admissionprof » Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:43 pm

I've not heard of that being successfully done. You can negotiate things like starting the summer before (that is often done), but I don't think many places would negotiate the core stipend. It would turn everything into a bidding war. I suppose if you were a superstar student, maybe some places can find special fellowships...

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dlenmn
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Re: Negociating stipends?

Postby dlenmn » Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:46 pm

Ok, the relevant part seems to be really short, so I'll just copy it (fair use? Grant, if you have a problem with it, take it down). I'll also add that it's a very interesting book, with lots of examples (e.g. how the admissions process works at several different departments), but a lot of it is aimed at non-science students, who are less likely to get the solid funding we get (e.g. few of us are going to end up paying tuition), and this advice may be aimed more at them.

Particularly if you are a top student, you may be able to negotiate with the department if you feel the amount of offered aid is too little. If you've previously made contact with one or more committee members, or with a potential advisor, it can help to discuss with them tactfully any offers you've had from other schools -- the department may offer you more money to prevent you from going elsewhere. Jeri Rypkema, director of George Washington University's Office of Fellowships and Graduate Student Support, says, "When one department offers half tuition and the other offers full tuition, it absolutely makes sense to call and explain the situation. Maybe more students than expected will have declined, so some money is freed up." In trying to negotiate, just remember that you're not playing corporate hardball -- if you come across as a hard-nosed jerk, you're likely to hurt yourself. One victim of graduate student abuse says, "This year a student made himself so obnoxious by repeatedly calling me and the dean to hold us up for more money that he ended up losing the fellowship we'd already offered him."


So I guess I'd summarize it as follows:

It works best if you're a top student who has already made contact with faculty members (the author of the book is big on that -- it seems like sucking up to me) because then you're more likely to get someone's ear. Above all, don't press hard. Perhaps this works better later in the process when money may be freed up?

At any rate, I'm not going to try it (I'm neither a top student, nor do I have good faculty contacts).

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grae313
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Re: Negociating stipends?

Postby grae313 » Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:27 am

When I turn down the schools that I will be turning down, I'm going to say "well, I wanted to go here but school x offered me this much money and it is too good an offer to turn down..." sort of thing. Then, if they want to offer me more I won't stop them :P

VT
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Re: Negociating stipends?

Postby VT » Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:32 am

hahahaha. :lol:

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dlenmn
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Re: Negociating stipends?

Postby dlenmn » Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:34 am

@ grae313

Lol. I love that plan!

Grant
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Re: Negociating stipends?

Postby Grant » Fri Feb 29, 2008 10:37 am

dlenmn wrote:fair use?
I imagine publishers would like the reference and quote you gave :) The only time I have ever heard complaints from publishers is with students trying to swap teacher's solutions manuals. BTW, I believe that book you referenced is a very worthwhile read. It is also the type of easy reading one can do on a plane. Note: I did recently add back in the ISBN feature so you can link to books knowing the 10 digit ISBN and title. You can type it like this:

Code: Select all

[isbn=0374524777]Getting What You Came For[/isbn]
and it looks like:
Getting What You Came For (isbn=0374524777)


VT wrote:I'd love to do that esp with wisc. I hate wisc for such a low TA offer compared to schools of similar rankings.
If I was in this position and wisc would be my top choice with a more competitive offer then I would try and find a polite way to inform the wisc people of this.


One thing to keep in mind is that the cost of living varies greatly between schools. At UCSC graduate student housing I was paying nearly double the rent I paid at UCI for graduate student housing. I was actually spending between $5,000 and $10,000 more per year to live than a friend at some real cold campus. Be sure to think beyond the first year because a one time payment difference of $5,000 or $10,000 is very insignificant in the long term especially considering some of the student loans that are available. As a made up example, you might end up with more debt from a school offering you $25,000 the first year and $15,000 each year after than you would at another school offering you just $12,000 per year.

VT
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Re: Negociating stipends?

Postby VT » Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:21 pm

Grant, thanks for the tip. Do you have any idea who do we need to contact for such a negotiation? Would it be Dept head or a Prof who I contacted after I had the offer of admission? I am not expecting anything from wisc, but I just wanted to let them know that I am not very excited with their low TA offer.

I'd rather go to Brown or Minnesota than Wisc. I do not care the ranking because Brown has interesting research and Nobel laureature cooper is there doing something similar to what I would be interested in.

I wanted to email wisc and tell them but at the same time I do not want to come off like a jerk and compare my other offers with wisc. I have no clue how one should approach this problem.
Any thoughts will be appreciated.( Or I think I should not worry too much, coz cost of living is low in wisc and they will increase TA salary in the second year or if i get an RA on my second yr, that would be good too. I just do not know what to do. I think I should stop being too greedy :? )

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grae313
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Re: Negociating stipends?

Postby grae313 » Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:46 pm

VT wrote:Grant, thanks for the tip. Do you have any idea who do we need to contact for such a negotiation? Would it be Dept head or a Prof who I contacted after I had the offer of admission? I am not expecting anything from wisc, but I just wanted to let them know that I am not very excited with their low TA offer.

I'd rather go to Brown or Minnesota than Wisc. I do not care the ranking because Brown has interesting research and Nobel laureature cooper is there doing something similar to what I would be interested in.

I wanted to email wisc and tell them but at the same time I do not want to come off like a jerk and compare my other offers with wisc. I have no clue how one should approach this problem.
Any thoughts will be appreciated.( Or I think I should not worry too much, coz cost of living is low in wisc and they will increase TA salary in the second year or if i get an RA on my second yr, that would be good too. I just do not know what to do. I think I should stop being too greedy :? )


From a salary comparison website (first hit when you search google for "salary comparison"):

# To maintain the same standard of living, a salary of $19,000 in Madison, Wisconsin should increase to $22,234 in Providence, Rhode Island
# Stated another way, it's 17.0% more expensive to live in Providence, Rhode Island than Madison, Wisconsin

Also you should know that if you are "working with" a nobel laureate or other famous profs, you really won't be working with them much at all, but rather their post docs. They are way too busy and famous to spend much time tinkering around the lab. Not necessarily bad, just keep that in mind.

Don't ask for more money, that's rude. Instead, let them know that you are having trouble considering Wisconsin, your first choice school, because of the low TA they are offering. As for who to email, I'm not really sure. I'm thinking if anyone were to speak out on your behalf to get you more money and do so successfully, it would be a prof who really wants you in their research group. Also, I would only do this after I'm sure that I won't go there without more money, or pretty sure, as it might backfire.

doom
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Re: Negociating stipends?

Postby doom » Fri Feb 29, 2008 2:11 pm

For some reason, the website grae used doesn't have an entry for the Twin Cities. Seems weird that they wouldn't have an entry for the biggest metro area in the state. And it makes it hard to compare my top options.

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grae313
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Re: Negociating stipends?

Postby grae313 » Fri Feb 29, 2008 2:35 pm

doom wrote:For some reason, the website grae used doesn't have an entry for the Twin Cities. Seems weird that they wouldn't have an entry for the biggest metro area in the state. And it makes it hard to compare my top options.



Oops, I just realized the one I used is the first google hit for "cost of living comprison"
NOT "salary comparison." This site does have the twin cities, under "Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington"

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dlenmn
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Re: Negociating stipends?

Postby dlenmn » Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:48 pm

VT wrote:I'd rather go to Brown or Minnesota than Wisc. I do not care the ranking because Brown has interesting research and Nobel laureature cooper is there doing something similar to what I would be interested in.


You mean Cooper? The dude was born in 1930 (birthday was yesterday actually... he may still be sharp as a tack -- I don't know) and is now doing research in neural networks (seems like old nobel prize winners are drawn towards complex systems. There's Murray Gell-Mann, and someone else I think).

Professor Cooper is Director of Brown University's Center for Neural Science. This Center was founded in 1973 to study animal nervous systems and the human brain. Professor Cooper served as the first director with an interdisciplinary staff drawn from the Departments of Applied Mathematics, Biomedical Sciences, Linguistics and Physics. Today, Cooper, with members of the Brown Faculty, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students with interests in the neural and cognitive sciences, is working towards an understanding of memory and other brain functions, and thus formulating a scientific model of how the human mind works.


http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/phys ... r-bio.html

VT
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Re: Negociating stipends?

Postby VT » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:28 pm

Jeeez, what is he doing there at such an old age. He is like 78 now. WOW, I do not want to work with such an old fellow. I cannot get along with old people. Although I am not from Russia, I think I am very Russian(u need to ask Will to know what this actually means). So Prof. Vavilov from Wisc is a good pick for me, I guess. I am thinking of CM experiment a lot lately. I should have mentioned this on my SOP when I applied to grad schools. I do not know when UIUC is going to send their decision. I heard that I have been waitlisted. crazy.

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dlenmn
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Re: Negociating stipends?

Postby dlenmn » Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:01 pm

VT wrote:Jeeez, what is he doing there at such an old age. He is like 78 now. WOW, I do not want to work with such an old fellow. I cannot get along with old people.


Even for people who get along with the elderly, it probably wouldn't be a great idea to have someone that old as an ad visor (because you want to maximize the probability that the advisory is still around when you graduate...)

VT wrote:Although I am not from Russia, I think I am very Russian (u need to ask Will to know what this actually means). So Prof. Vavilov from Wisc is a good pick for me, I guess.


It means you get so say things like "If god had wanted you to use calculator, he would have made you with one!" (Maybe Russian Physicists are different than Russian Mathematicians.)

VT wrote:I am thinking of CM experiment a lot lately. I should have mentioned this on my SOP when I applied to grad schools. I do not know when UIUC is going to send their decision. I heard that I have been waitlisted. crazy.


It's funny. Some people would be really disappointed at such news -- not us!

VT
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Re: Negociating stipends?

Postby VT » Fri Feb 29, 2008 7:07 pm

dlenmn, I did not get your last part.
Anyways, I saw your name ( I pretty much guessed that that must be you, from your last and first name) on the roster that they sent us from Wisc.


EDIT : when are you visiting Brown, by the way? Did you email Jodie about your plan? I have not done that yet.

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dlenmn
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Re: Negociating stipends?

Postby dlenmn » Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:10 pm

VT wrote:dlenmn, I did not get your last part.


Just saying that you didn't sound to disappointed about being waitlisted. I sure wouldn't be.

VT wrote:Anyways, I saw your name ( I pretty much guessed that that must be you, from your last and first name) on the roster that they sent us from Wisc.


Hmmmm haven't gotten this roster (maybe because I'm doing the later weekend). I am on the roommates page.


VT wrote:EDIT : when are you visiting Brown, by the way? Did you email Jodie about your plan? I have not done that yet.


Yeah, I sent her an email yesterday asking when their spring break is and whether or not it would be a good time to visit. She said break was March 22-30 and it probably would be a bad time to visit. Because of my schedule, I'll end up going after their break. It's within driving distance for me, so I'll probably make a day trip of it.

VT
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Re: Negociating stipends?

Postby VT » Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:45 pm

why would spring break be bad time to visit? I was thinking of visiting them around that time.

yeah, I am not very disappointed about being waitlisted coz my name is on the very top on that list( this is what I heard), and I think nvanmeter and other guys are surely going to decline UIUC.

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dlenmn
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Re: Negociating stipends?

Postby dlenmn » Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:49 pm

To quote Jodie:

Spring Break is March 22-30. I believe that many of the faculty go away during this time. It would probably be better to schedule you around this time. Also, we usually like to have visitors have lunch with a few graduate students to get a feel of the program from their perspective, and many will not be available that week.


I'm interpreting "around" as meaning "not during".

VT
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Re: Negociating stipends?

Postby VT » Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:58 pm

okay, I will have to figure out something else then. I want that damn UCSD email and then I will rest in peace. Their visiting days are April 4-5 and I do not want to miss that if I am accepted.
I am really confused when to visit Brown. I cannot visit during weekdays(I will get an F on my QFT class) and all other weekends are full. Unlucky Brown.

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dlenmn
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Re: Negociating stipends?

Postby dlenmn » Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:00 pm

That sucks. I'd send her an email and ask about visiting during break. It sounds like it can be done, just that you might not be able to meet everyone you want to meet.

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Re: Negociating stipends?

Postby forecast8 » Wed Apr 02, 2008 3:48 pm

I'm in a similar position. My decision is between NC State and U. Arizona. Both offered me similar base stipend and U Arizona was looking like the better choice.

In the last week however NC State offered me a $10K signing bonus ($4K in August and $6K spread over the first year) This makes Raleigh significantly more interesting since that will offset the moving and household setup costs. If Arizona offered some kind of signing bonus this would make the decision MUCH easier.

How do I communicate this to Arizona in a way that 1.) Leaves the door open to Arizona to respond with a better offer if they wish, 2.) Doesn't make me look like a money grubbing idiot, 3.) Doesn't force me to reject Arizona if they aren't interested in adjusting the offer.

Any advice would be appreciated.

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grae313
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Re: Negociating stipends?

Postby grae313 » Fri Apr 04, 2008 6:38 pm

Have you visited arizona yet? I found that, speaking to the administrative coordinators in person, they were extremely helpful and friendly, and seemed to want to do whatever they could to convince me and the other students to attend their institution. If you have a contact anywhere in the physics department where they could put a face and a personality with your name, I would just call them up and be honest about it. Explain the situation and ask if there is anything that can be done.

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quizivex
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Re: Negociating stipends?

Postby quizivex » Fri Apr 04, 2008 8:34 pm

I would only try to negotiate a stipend if you have a very convincing justification for it or everything else is equal and the stipend will be your deciding factor in picking a school...

otherwise you're getting off to a shaky start with the department you'll be spending 6 years with...




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