Graduate Student Benefits
Penn will make substantial investments to enhance funding for its Ph.D. students, including an increase in the basic stipend level for fully funded Ph.D. students and full payment towards the health insurance premium for over a thousand students in SAS and five other schools.
The University, working in close partnership with the leadership of its graduate student organizations, GSAC and GAPSA, has also begun the search for a director of a new Graduate Student Center, set to open this fall. According to Deputy Provost Peter Conn, three new, significant initiatives are moving forward simultaneously to enhance life for our graduate students, including the health benefits, basic stipend increase, and the new Graduate Student Center.
In addition to the new health insurance benefit--estimated at a cash value of $1,400 per student--Ph.D. stipends will increase across the University, from the current minimum of $12,000 to $12,500.Within three years, the stipend will increase further for all fully funded Ph.D. students in SAS, to a minimum of $14,000.
The University and schools are investing approximately $2 to $3 million in new money in 2001-2002, on these new graduate student initiatives. Of this amount, approximately $1 million will be used towards the new Graduate Student Center, and the remaining costs will be recurring.
According to Eric Eisenstein, Chair of GSAC, "In two years, GSAC, working in collaboration with the administration, has accomplished three major goals that will materially enhance the quality of graduate student life and will simultaneously enhance Penn's ability to attract the best graduate students--a win for every constituency at Penn: students, faculty, undergraduates, and the administration. These three accomplishments are: the creation of the new Graduate Student Center, which will serve as a focal point for graduate community life; the addition of health care to fully funded students' stipend packages; and an increase in the basic stipend level. These major commitments will improve life for all graduate students, and also demonstrates the importance of graduate students to Penn."
Kyle Farley, Chair of GAPSA added, "We've been working with the administration for the last year and a half on the new graduate student center and appreciate their commitment to enhancing graduate student life on campus. The University's additional commitment to pay health insurance benefits and raise the minimum stipend level provides a further testament to its commitment to its graduate students."
Almanac, Vol. 47, No. 27, March 27, 2001