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Graduate School Funding

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  • #1
JasonRox
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I've asked this question before, but I have something different here.

Ok, my school is probably going to have a certain amount of funding based on being a teaching assistant for a certain amount of hours per term (per week).

It is predicted to be around $1800-2300 a term as far as I know. I'll get the real predicted numbers in about a week or two. (I talk to people on the graduate committee for info. on this.)

That's on a 12 week basis, so it comes out to like $170 a week working around 9-10 hours. Also, you go through a period with no hours because of exam week and all that jazz so let's say it spans over 15 weeks (Christmas break). That comes out to $140 a week. Of course you work as an RA during the break, but I'm excluding that because I'm talking about the TA funding.

It is highly possible for me to get a substitute teaching job where I work only 6-7 hours a day. If I work only one day a week, that's $200 a day. Therefore, on average I'll make $50 more a week going this way and working half the time! Of course, I need to be guaranteed once a week or every 10 days (to better or match funding). What's the likelihood of me getting that? It's pretty high. My mom and sister both work at the school board (union president and financial analyst). Also, it's a french board. Even without connections you get once a week basically. I'm obviously going to work something out with some schools in the area so that I can get a consistent once a week thing.

Do you really think it would be an issue to go this route instead? Do you think my supervisor would really care if I get my funding from teaching elementary and high schools? I'll be making considerably more, and working half the time. If I work equivalent time, I will be more than doubling my TA funding!

What do you think?

Note: I'll be asking my supervisor as soon as I get my offer.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Um, most graduate schools offer a stipend. Are you planning to study in physics, if so I wouldn't go to a school that doesn't offer you enough to have a comfortable living. If you were offered a TA position, they may need TA's so they might not like you shirking that duty.
 
  • #3
JasonRox
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Of course I get enough money for a comfortable living, but why not make more and work less?

I hate marking papers. I can't stand it.
 
  • #4
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Are you sure your ballpark salary figure for being a TA is correct? That seems awfully low for a graduate TA. I'm an MS student and I get $4500 a semester, benefits, a tuition waiver and other discounts on campus. What are you basing the figure off of? Another student?

One thing I noticed is that they are assuming you are working 10 hours a week? That's a pretty low-ball estimate. That sounds like it's the salary for a course grader, not a TA.
 
  • #5
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I'm not so sure this is a good idea.

First, it's very common to have tuition remission as part of the TA compensation. I would want to triple check that this is not the case before declining the TA. Second, the department may well be counting on incoming graduate students to be TAs, and may not appreciate you turning them down. Third, a substitute teaching schedule tends to revolve around the needs of the school, not the needs of the sub. Finally, part of the point of being a graduate student is to have the time to attend seminars, colloquia, and the like, and your "side job" will interfere with that.
 
  • #6
JasonRox
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I've TA'd for two years already and I'm personally sick of it now. I love the teaching aspect and helping students, but not the marking. Marking assignments is hell, especially first year. Plus, if I can make more money with less time, there is no way I will settle for the option of working and making less. That makes absolutely no sense.

Oh, the income I'm stating doesn't count scholarships and all that other stuff that come with it. I should be getting $13-14 thousand for 8 months living. Tuition is paid for. If I substitute teach, it will be like $16-20 thousand.
 
  • #7
JasonRox
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Third, a substitute teaching schedule tends to revolve around the needs of the school, not the needs of the sub.
Are you sure?

I know someone who gets to subsitute every Thursday. He made a deal with the school. Hmmm... sounds like they're working around his schedule. Why would they do that for me? Because of high demand.

You guys talk about having less time, but I will have MORE time. I don't understand the logic because having less time if I'm working less.
 
  • #8
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Most graduate schools have a policy about this. If they are supporting you via scholarship money for your tuition, you're most likely theirs and cannot go outside of the school for money.
 
  • #9
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I know someone who gets to subsitute every Thursday. He made a deal with the school. Hmmm... sounds like they're working around his schedule. Why would they do that for me? Because of high demand.
I've never met a substitute teacher who had a deal like that. Usually, if the regular teacher is sick on Wednesday, they want the substitute there on Wednesday. They don't wait until Thursday.
 
  • #10
JasonRox
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I've never met a substitute teacher who had a deal like that. Usually, if the regular teacher is sick on Wednesday, they want the substitute there on Wednesday. They don't wait until Thursday.
Yeah, maybe where you're from.
 
  • #11
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All grad programs I have dealt with have paid your tuition on top of granting the stipend. If you don't TA- you don't get your tuition paid for. I don't know what your deal is with tuition, but this is the typical situation.

So, unless you will make enough to cover travel expenses (commuting), tuition and make as much as your stipend I truly doubt this is a good financial move.
 
  • #12
JasonRox
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TA counts as part of your funding. If you don't TA, you don't get that part of funding. That simple.

What I'm saying is that I can work once a week and make more than that part of funding. Then I get the scholarships and all that jazz that pay for tuition, books, and over stuff.
 

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