Money – how gauche to talk openly about this subject, and yet given how incredibly important funding is in determining where we pick to go to grad school and in influencing our graduate school career, money is something that absolutely has to be talked about.
I would really appreciate it if everyone who reads this posts a comment. I want to be able to talk about funding and academia in depth, but I cannot do that if I do not know all of the different funding options that are relevant to y’all’s experience. I don’t want anything that can compromise your identity; broad statements about “fellowship” or “external” funding, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and paying out of pocket are all going to be immensely helpful. Heck, there are probably funding options that I am not aware of. Any and all help would be most appreciated and would be put to use in a future post in the Women in Academia series. People of Persephone, you’re my only hope!
Maybe I should give you a better reason to comment with such personal details. Funding is how I, and many others, decided which graduate program to attend. As many states face huge budget crunches, funding situations are becoming more tenuous. Programs are looking to milk all the value they can out of every penny. Students are being dissuaded by increasing tuition. For those lucky enough to get financial support, there’s an increasing lack of stable support, or in a lot of cases, lack of any support. External fellowships are being cut. TAships (Teaching Assistantships) are being cut. There’s a lot of uncertainty right now.
The uncertainty is a beast of its own. There is a special type of worry that starts to build when you’re not sure how exactly you’ll be able to support yourself, let alone afford the costs incurred with classes and research. And when that’s placed against the knowledge of how much time, money, effort, and tears have already been sunk in this degree, knowing that completing the degree is in limbo is just a terrifying thing.
Even if there is funding, each of the different funding sources have their own costs. I’d like to take them each, one and one, in the following week(s). In many cases, for instance with TAships and RAships, there is a trade off between time and money. Sure, you can work, but that’s less time you can spend on your dissertation and more time you’ll have to stay in grad school. Spending more time in grad school just prolongs the process and increases the chances of running into funding icebergs.
Money causes so much stress, and yet, at least from my experiences, it is one of the few things that people do not commiserate with each other over. Yes, there are obtuse mentions to funding, jokes about being “grad student poor,” and constant droning about the time TAships take away from working on one’s own dissertation, but there’s little talk about the toll these things take.
Let me get the ball rolling: in my time in grad school, I’ve received funding from the program (not unusual in the sciences), from TAships and from external fellowships. I have less time left on my fellowship than I have time in graduate school. Soon, I’ll be out and about, looking for more funding.
So, how about you? What’s your situation?