Cost of living versus stipends

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Flagg
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2016 6:21 pm

Cost of living versus stipends

Postby Flagg » Thu Feb 09, 2017 5:05 pm

Hi,

It appears that someone here did some nice analysis comparing the cost of living to the stipends that schools in those areas give out, back in 2012, but the data doesn't load and the links don't work. Any idea how to get that information back, or would someone have to start from scratch again?

Here's the link to that thread: viewtopic.php?f=26&t=4559&p=41004#p41004

Goldberry
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2015 12:38 pm

Re: Cost of living versus stipends

Postby Goldberry » Sat Feb 11, 2017 5:35 pm

Even if someone did I'm not sure how helpful it is - misses important things like if/how long the university will subsidize housing, for example, which dramatically changes costs of living. It's more anecdotal but talking to students at the places is probably the best way.

TakeruK
Posts: 893
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Cost of living versus stipends

Postby TakeruK » Sun Feb 12, 2017 3:03 pm

I agree with Goldberry, these metrics are good for big picture comparisons of cost of living, but when you are actually comparing 2 or 3 offers, you want to get specific data relevant to you. For a grad student, the biggest **variations** in cost are 1) housing/rent, 2) health insurance package, 3) cost of owning a car (if you plan to have one), and 4) cost of travelling home (or to visit other important people in your life) if you plan on doing that a lot.

So once you are looking at a few offers, it's worth spending a few hours on each school/city and finding out how much you would have to pay for these three things. For housing, look for specific apartments (whether it's in the city or part of school subsidized housing) that you would actually want to rent. See how much you have to pay for health insurance premiums and how good the coverage is. Price out car insurance for the city and vehicle registration fees, gas, etc. And check on flight costs (don't forget to include cost of getting to an airport if you are at a smaller town). Talking to students is a great way to get some of this info.

I'd take the stipend and subtract all of these costs and the remaining number is the useful number to compare. This is how much you have left to pay for other important things that don't vary very much (e.g. groceries).

Flagg
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2016 6:21 pm

Re: Cost of living versus stipends

Postby Flagg » Sun Feb 12, 2017 3:08 pm

Thanks for the replies.

Going on a tangent, do people often contact graduate students randomly? Say I find the name/email of one or two on the school's website, would it be weird/unwelcome for me to send them an email to ask questions? Or is this something that should only happen at an open house or school visit?

bstrekha
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:34 am

Re: Cost of living versus stipends

Postby bstrekha » Sat Feb 18, 2017 1:02 am

I don't see anything "weird" about it. I mean, what's the worst thing that will happen? They will not reply? They will tell you to screw off? I mean, I don't see anything wrong with sending an email.


I found some professors I want to work with an emailed them saying I was accepted and wondering if they'll be around during Open House and if they are accepting/will be accepting students in the next year or two. Nothing weird about it.

bfollinprm
Posts: 1203
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: Cost of living versus stipends

Postby bfollinprm » Sat Feb 18, 2017 1:12 am

I've routinely conversed with students applying to Davis before and after the open house; there's nothing weird about it.

TakeruK
Posts: 893
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Cost of living versus stipends

Postby TakeruK » Sat Feb 18, 2017 11:14 pm

Flagg wrote:Thanks for the replies.

Going on a tangent, do people often contact graduate students randomly? Say I find the name/email of one or two on the school's website, would it be weird/unwelcome for me to send them an email to ask questions? Or is this something that should only happen at an open house or school visit?


No, it's completely fine to do so. In my program, we get contact info of admitted students and we ensure that at least one current grad student reaches out to each admitted student!




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