To: UChicago PhD Students
From: David Nirenberg, Executive Vice Provost
Subject: Funding increase for GAI students
Date: March 8, 2018
I am pleased to announce that the Office of the Provost will increase the minimum funding level for students in the Graduate Aid Initiative (GAI) by $2,000. The new minimum nine-month funding level for 2018-2019 will be $27,000. The GAI includes additional summer support, bringing the minimal total funding level for students with summer stipends to $30,000. This figure represents a 7% year over year increase, and an increase of 15% since 2015-16.
Because departments, divisions and schools set different stipend levels, this increase in our minimum funding may not affect all of you in the same way. But I hope you will all agree that it constitutes further progress on an important front: the University’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the financial support of its doctoral students. As I wrote recently, we are also initiating a series of comprehensive discussions with graduate students, faculty, and staff on many other aspects of graduate education across campus that we are collectively committed to improving.
In 2007 when President Zimmer introduced the GAI, it represented an unprecedented $50 million investment to make funding packages for students in the Humanities and Social Sciences competitive against our peers. (Our students in the Biological and Physical Sciences were already receiving competitive packages at that time, funded primarily though faculty grants.) The University has continued to invest heavily in graduate education over the past decade, bringing Divinity and Social Service Administration students into the Graduate Aid Initiative, increasing the number of years of summer funding and eligibility for health insurance premiums, adding need-based graduate student parent stipends, and expanding resources to help graduate students navigate their academic careers and beyond through the Chicago Center for Teaching, the English Language Institute, the Family Resource Center, and other UChicagoGRAD resources.
As always, there remains much to be done and I look forward to working with you to implement further improvements and to identify additional areas in need of our collective attention.