The authors surveyed 55 university departments in the United States and Canada that grant doctor of philosophy and/or master of science degrees in meteorology or the atmospheric sciences. Two-thirds of university departments responded. Survey topics included graduate student income (stipends and health insurance benefits) and mandatory costs (tuition, fees, and health insurance costs) incurred for fall 1996.Results show that most graduate students do have funding but only one-quarter of departments indicate that health insurance benefits are provided to graduate assistants. The largest mandatory cost is typically housing, which was estimated (except for Canadian schools) with 1996 Fair Market Rent data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. For schools not providing it, the second largest cost is typically health insurance. The smallest costs are typically tuition (waived for graduate assistants in most cases) and fees.The difference between income and mandatory costs over a nine-month period gives an effective income. Evidence was found associating greater effective income with larger departments and with locations where housing costs are larger. No significant evidence was found to associate differences in effective income with city size or geographic region. The broad range in effective income between the departments suggests that some graduate programs may be much more affordable than others.This information can aid university departments in planning budgets that keep them competitive with one another. This paper will also help prospective graduate students by raising awareness about important issues of graduate program affordability.
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society – American Meteorological Society
Published: Jun 24, 1998
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