On March 2, graduate students were sent a memo from the Office of the Dean explaining the “process and timeline by which graduate student stipends are set,” and informing the graduate student body that, contrary to information announced in a tweet from the Princeton Graduate Students Union (PGSU) on Feb. 28, there is no planned $5,000 dollar stipend raise for the 2023-2024 academic year. Graduate students will be getting an approximately five percent stipend raise.
The PGSU tweeted the false announcement after a memo sent out by Dean of the Graduate School Rodney Priestley stating that the annual stipend will be between $47,880 and $50,400 for that year.
This represents a five percent — approximately $2,000 — increase from the current 12-month stipends of $45,600 to $48,000. According to the March 2 memo, this increase was proposed this past fall and was communicated to all incoming graduate students starting in January, before the PGSU held a rally in Scudder Plaza and a majority of graduate students signed union cards.
PGSU noted in a statement to the Daily Princetonian that they only learned about the stipend increase from an attached document to Priestley’s memo.
“We are seeking a union precisely so we do not learn of changes to our compensation via buried bullet points in attachments to emails,” they wrote. “We look forward to bargaining our first union contract in the room with the University to ensure future raises and communications are adequate.”
The PGSU also claimed that in a year in which “inflation was over 6 [percent], a 5 [percent] increase is a pay cut–which is why the $5,000 number seemed more than reasonable, and the University’s clarification is so disappointing!”
PGSU also claimed that without the $5000 raise, students are missing out on “thousands of dollars” that could make a difference for things, such as traveling home versus not and paying for a medical procedure or not paying for a medical procedure.
The process for a stipend raise entails the Graduate school submitting a proposal to the Priorities Committee, which is chaired by the provost and reviews the University’s operating budget. According to the March 2 message, stipend increase proposals submitted by the Graduate School to this committee account for the cost of living in Princeton.
When asked for comment, the University referred the ‘Prince’ to the March 2 memo, which also notes that the Graduate School has increased stipends for students for twenty years in a row.
Sandeep Mangat is a Head News Editor for the ‘Prince.’
Lia Opperman is an Associate News Editor for the ‘Prince.’
Please send any corrections to corrections[at]dailyprincetonian.com.