Updated June 14, 2021
The university values the talent and dedication of its graduate students. Graduate students and in particular doctoral students are critical to UB’s success as a major, public research university. As with students at all levels, UB is dedicated to bringing in the very best doctoral students and providing them with transformative academic programs that prepare them for rewarding careers.
UB launched the PhD Excellence Initiative in 2019 to strengthen its PhD programs and address important and timely national issues related to student recruitment, diversity, improving retention and time to degree, and providing exceptional pedagogical and research training that ensure strong program outcomes.
As part of UB’s PhD Excellence Initiative, the university will support the cost of broad-based fees for PhD students who are full time and fully funded, starting in the 2021-22 academic year. The funding will cover UB’s Comprehensive Fee, which supports several university services; the Academic Excellence and Success Fee, which funds academics and research; the Student Activity Fee; and the International Student Fee, if applicable.
In 2019 the university raised the minimum stipend campuswide to $20,000 for full-time, fully funded PhD students on 10-month appointments as teaching, research or graduate assistants. The new minimum stipend levels placed UB’s annual PhD stipends among the top five of AAU public universities.
Raising the floor for academic year stipends and supporting the cost of broad-based fees will enhance efforts to recruit excellent PhD students and ensure that UB’s PhD programs remain among the strongest in the world. Through UB’s PhD Excellence Initiative, UB will:
As a next step, and to build on the progress made through the PhD Excellence Initiative, Provost A. Scott Weber has charged Graham Hammill, vice provost for academic affairs and dean of the Graduate School, with leading a collaborative process with the campus community to determine the future direction of PhD education at UB.
Across the university, graduate students who serve as teaching assistants at UB receive a total funding package averaging about $38,000 per year, which includes a tuition scholarship paid by the university, a stipend, and health and retirement benefits. The university believes this represents a significant investment in our graduate students.
The university estimates that a total of $39.5 million was invested in PhD stipends and tuition scholarships at UB in 2017-18. The university remits to the State University of New York system the cost of tuition scholarships provided to graduate assistants.
Yes, UB’s investment in stipends and tuition scholarships for graduate students has grown by over $8.4 million since 2012-13.
For the 2017-18 academic year, the average UB stipend was $18,006. This figure does not include supplemental fellowships awarded to PhD students or payment for extra service such as summer teaching or summer research. Under the PhD Excellence initiative, A UB PhD student working up to 20 hours per week, with an academic year assistantship (40 weeks) will earn at least $20,000 This translates to a minimum hourly rate of $25.00 for up to 800 hours of work.
When annualized, the average stipend amount equates to a minimum of $25 per hour. Stipends are awarded for the nine-month academic year for teaching one course and providing up to 20 hours of service per week to an academic department.
This summer, UB’s deans unanimously decided to establish a floor of $20,000 for academic-year stipends for all full-time, funded PhD students on 10-month academic TA/RA/GA appointments, starting in fall 2019. With this new floor, UB’s average stipend levels are now among the top five of public AAU institutions.
The MIT Living Wage Calculator estimates that someone working full-time (52 weeks per year, 40 hours per week) at their Living Wage rate would earn an annual income of $24,072. The calculation is based on a single adult, living in Erie County making an hourly wage of $11.57, which is MIT’s minimum standard given the local cost of living. This calculation assumes that this single adult works full-time, year round or 2,080 hours per year.
A UB PhD student working up to 20 hours per week, with an academic year assistantship (40 weeks) will earn at least $20,000 under UB’s PhD Excellence Initiative. This translates to a minimum hourly rate of $25.00 for up to 800 hours of work. The increase to a $20,000 floor for stipends exceeds the MIT calculator’s living wage.
The MIT Living Wage is $11.57 per hour. The Graduate Student Employees Union (GSEU) contract minimum is $12.45 per hour.
UB’s average PhD stipend exceeds the minimum stipend per the terms of current contract negotiated by GSEU. According to the GSEU’s contract, the minimum stipend for the 2018-2019 academic year for students on full assistantships at all SUNY institutions is $9,959 annually.
The UB Foundation provides an estimated $5 million annually in support of UB graduate students in the form of scholarships, fellowships and graduate student stipends.
Unrestricted funds from UBF are limited in their use and they are used for specific purposes, in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, the accounting standard adopted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. These funds are limited for use in the following three categories.