Graduate student stipend rates to increase by 3.25%

Graduate student stipend rates for the 2021–2022 academic year will increase by 3.25%, Vice Chancellor Ian Waitz, MIT Medical Executive Director Brian Schuetz, and Vice President for Research Maria Zuber wrote in a letter to graduate students.

According to the letter, the 3.25% increase exceeds the Graduate Student Council (GSC) stipend working group’s estimate for the change in cost-of-living (2.2%) by more than one percentage point. However, the amount is lower than the 4.5% increase recommended in the group’s report. A press release from the GSC on the new stipend rates writes that “over 12 months [the rate] will be approximately $500 less than what the GSC’s recommended to meet peer competitiveness goals.”

MIT has also eliminated the “-10% option among the allowable stipend ranges that can be used at School/department discretion,” increasing the baseline amount for stipends.

In addition to the stipend rate increase, MIT has increased support for graduate students with children by increasing the base level of its need-blind Grants for Graduate Students with Children from $2,000 to $5,000, in line with recommendations from the GSC working group’s report. 

GSC Housing and Community Affairs Co-chair Jonathan Behrens G wrote in the GSC’s press release that he “is proud of what” the GSC accomplished and while “it wasn’t everything we hoped for and there is still a ways to go to be truly competitive with our peer institutions, … for the first time we barred departments from paying less than the agreed upon rates.”

Waitz, Schuetz, and Zuber wrote that there will be no change in housing rates while the price of MIT’s Student Extended Insurance Plan will decrease by approximately $180 for the upcoming academic year.

They also highlighted additional efforts to support graduate students, such as the Graduate Student Short-Term Emergency Fund, Doctoral Long-Term Financial Hardship Funding, expanded participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program for student veterans, and a transitional support program.

GSC Advocacy Subcommittee Co-Chair Nick Allen G wrote in the GSC’s press release that the GSC wants “students to feel attending MIT is their best choice without reservation. … Livable, competitive stipends in all research-based graduate programs strengthens MIT.”