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Economy's Effect on Assisstantships

  1. Oct 9, 2008 #1

    G01

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    As a senior undergrad in physics planning on grad school, the current economy and it's effect on graduate assistant ships has me worried.

    Should I be worried about the amount of assistant ships being offered decreasing drastically?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 9, 2008 #2
    Yes, you should be worried. It affected my ability to obtain a TA position and a couple places that I applied to. Most of this is because of state cut backs and not necessarily the private sector but one usually follows the other.
     
  4. Oct 10, 2008 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    NSF gives 3-year grants. So there is a long time constant in the system. Also, typically one does not seriously start research until one's third year in grad school. (Yes, I know sometimes people start earlier) So there is a long time constant in the system. So while there is an effect, worrying because of events on a time scale of weeks is probably not warranted.
     
  5. Oct 10, 2008 #4

    eri

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    Though you might not start out on a research assistantship, you should be offered a teaching assistantship when you start grad school. Most schools are legally obligated to continue paying students the same amount every year - they can't decrease the salary after they've started, just raise it. My school has stopped raising them, so we're stuck for now. Since they have less money this year, they accepted fewer students on assistantships rather than lowering our pay. So it might be a bit harder than usually to get into some grad schools this year. I know that Florida is having a horrible problem in general at it's state schools just giving people the funding they were promised.
     
  6. Oct 10, 2008 #5

    G01

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    Yeah since I probably won't be starting research from day 1, I am more concerned with the availability of TA's as opposed to RA's.

    Do you think school's will start cutting back on TA's as Topher925 points out?
     
  7. Oct 12, 2008 #6

    Vanadium 50

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    Teaching assistantships come from the university, and are keyed to enrollment or state funding for public schools. If you state isn't paying it's bills - which can happen even in good times - yes, there may be a problem.
     
  8. Oct 12, 2008 #7

    jtbell

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    It's a safe bet that tax receipts will be down significantly for the current fiscal year. Unlike the federal government, states can't print money to make up the difference, they have to balance their budgets. So we're going to see a lot of budget-cutting at the state level during the next year at least. How hard this hits state universities is up to each state's government.

    Private colleges and universities are going to be hit because the stock portions of their endowments have shrunk a lot, they can't borrow as easily as before, some or many of their alumni are going to contribute less money, and some students are going to withdraw because they or their parents can't afford the tuition and fees any more. Where I teach (a small private college), all non-essential expenditures were frozen last week. No new lab equipment unless we absolutely positively need it. If things don't improve, we'll probably have to cut back on hiring faculty, even to fill positions that are vacated this year.
     
  9. Oct 12, 2008 #8
    I know in Michigan, most schools are being required to give money BACK to the state at the end of the year. Our current state government (Granholm) loves taking money from education. Fortunately, my school is growing extremely fast and enrollment is as high as ever. If that weren't the case, I would probably be working a 9-5 while going to grad school.
     
  10. Oct 12, 2008 #9
    I just started grad school and they already gave me a raise.

    The problem isn't going to be getting the funding you're promised - they can't back out on that. The only problem I see for incoming applicants is going to be that public schools may have to scale back their graduate enrollment... That said, science and engineering departments bring in a lot more money than, say, English literature, and even in a bad economy, the government and industry still keep academic science going.

    ... In fact, grad school serves as an excellent economic shelter!
     
  11. Oct 12, 2008 #10
    I hope this year will still be OK. I REALLY want to get into a Stats PhD program and hope to get a TA + tuition waiver. Thanks for the warnings guys. I'm definitely going to apply to a few more schools to be safe.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2008
  12. Oct 12, 2008 #11
    A lot of schools told me last year that they had to cut back due to funding; some schools said they were taking half the number of students they wanted to take.

    This is very disappointing to hear. I'm praying that I get into a math phd program this time.
     
  13. Oct 12, 2008 #12

    G01

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    I hope your right, will.c.

    My worry is not "not getting into grad school." I believe I have the grades to get in to a decent grad school. The problem is I have no way of paying for it if I get in and don't get a TA. That said, I am a little worried. Either way, as you say, a grad student in science will still be better off than someone in the "real world" during this mess. So, I'll look on the bright side.
     
  14. Oct 13, 2008 #13
    What school is that? The situation is the same for my school as well (also in Michigan).
     
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