The last major stipend increase for FAU graduate students was in 2006.¹
Yes, over a decade ago! Rent has increased an accumulated 25% in Florida since then. If this isn’t enough to convince you that something needs to change, I don’t know what is.
FAU provides NO health insurance coverage for its graduate students.²
And guess what? University of Central Florida does.³ And University of Florida.4 AND University of South Florida.5 Oh, and Florida A&M University.6 As our current president would say: Sad!
FAU isn’t only located in the most expensive county (Palm Beach), it’s also in the most expensive ‘university town’ too.
When compared to 10 other major universities in Florida, FAU has the highest cost of living (and one of the lowest Ph.D. stipends).7 Exhibit A: the average cost for a 2-bedroom apartment is a whopping $1,272.8 Welcome to Boca.
Want to present your research at a conference? Think again!
The number of graduate students being sent to attend conferences keeps getting smaller and smaller. FAU’s travel funding budget hasn’t increased in years even though airfare and accommodation have!9 And let’s say you’re one of the lucky ones chosen to receive travel funding, you won’t even get fully reimbursed for your travel costs. You’ll be expected to pay the rest out of pocket.
FAU’s operating budget has accumulated an increase of 92% over the last 10 years!10
So where is all this money going into if not its students? (*cough* sports *cough*) I wonder what the new Alabama football coach thinks of our campus.
Regarding Ph.D. stipends, FAU is closer to the national minimum than it is to the national average.11
Take into account that the national average Ph.D. stipend is $27,525 (in counties far less expensive than Palm Beach) which most likely includes benefits such as health insurance and a full tuition waiver (which FAU fails to cover). This is WAY better than what FAU offers its graduate students which is an average Ph.D. stipend of $19,728.48 (excluding any form of health insurance and approximately 80% of tuition fee waiver).
7. Graduate students are not legally allowed to work for anyone else!
We are contractually obliged to work 20 hours a week solely at FAU. Keep in mind that most graduate students are conducting research and taking graduate courses ON TOP of being either a graduate teaching or research assistant. Some of us have families, too! Our only option is to apply for a maximum of 10 more weekly hours of work, which occur “under rare circumstances”. It’s even worse for international students though! Since they need working visas, they aren’t legally allowed to work for anyone else but FAU 20 hours a week.12
Hey, owls! Time to get involved…
If you’re interested in helping, sign our online petition here .
¹ “Florida Residential Rent Statistics,” Department of Numbers. http://www.deptofnumbers.com/rent/florida/
² “Graduate Assistantship Information,” FAU Graduate College. http://www.fau.edu/graduate/tuition-benefits/
3 “Assistantships,” UCF College of Graduate Studies. https://funding.graduate.ucf.edu/assistantships/
4 “GatorGradCare,” UF Human Resource Services. http://hr.ufl.edu/benefits/health-insurance/gatorgradcare/
5 “Frequently Asked Questions for GA Subsidy,” USF Division of Human Resources.
6 “Frequently Asked Medical Insurance Questions,” FAMU Graduate Studies and Research.
7 “Cost of Attendance,” FAU Financial Aid. http://www.fau.edu/finaid/other/cost-of-attendance.php
8 “Boca Raton, Florida,” Sperling’s Best Places. http://www.bestplaces.net/housing/city/florida/boca_raton
9 “Annual U.S. Domestic Average Itinerary Fare in Current and Constant Dollars, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/airfares/programs/economics_and_finance/air_travel_price_index/html/AnnualFares.html & “Average daily rate of hotels in the United States from 2001 to 2015 (in U.S. dollars), Statista: The Statistics Portal http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/airfares/programs/economics_and_finance/air_travel_price_index/html/AnnualFares.html
10 Operating Budget, Florida Atlantic University. http://www.fau.edu/budget/budgets.php
11 PhD Stipends. http://www.phdstipends.com/results
12 Graduate Assistantship Information, Florida Atlantic University. http://www.fau.edu/graduate/tuition-benefits/