What is the total compensation for students funded by the NSF GRFP in 2022-23?
Date: April 2022
Can you tell me what the total compensation for students who are funded by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) in academic year 2022-2023? A friend recently told me those on the GRFP will be paid about $1,500 less than those on a 12-month appointment (TAship + summer support).
Feeling Short Changed
Dear “Feeling Short Changed,”
All funded doctoral students at Cornell will receive the same minimum 9-month academic-year stipend of $30,088 in 2022-23. The academic year stipend has been increased by 5% from the current rate, as addressed in a prior Ask a Dean message. This base rate applies to TAs, GRAs, RAs, Cornell fellowships, and external fellowships that qualify for “top-off” under Cornell’s supplementation program. The Graduate School provides academic year “top-offs” for external fellowships that do not meet our minimum stipend level. However, there is no single stipend rate that has been established for summers, so the amounts do vary based on funding source or amount specified in a student’s admission offer.
The NSF GRFP summer stipend is $8500. It is provided by the NSF, not Cornell, and is currently higher than most Cornell summer fellowships. For comparison, the Sage fellowship is $6,339 in 2023. Students who are on a full Cornell GRA assistantship will receive $10,029 for summer 2023. It’s important to note that assistantships do include a service requirement while fellowships are exclusively linked to a student’s own academic progress and are therefore more flexible. The Graduate School does not provide “top-offs” for fellowships from external agencies over the summer unlike during the academic year.
Some students do find opportunities to TA during summer-session courses but these opportunities seldom are equivalent to a full assistantship, which averages 15 hours/week for the 13 weeks of summer. As a consequence, your fellowship stipend is likely more than that obtained by most summer TAs. However, it may be less than that received by students who are appointed as a GRA for the whole summer. You can ask your advisor or field if a summer supplement is available. If other students in your field or research group are on summer GRA appointments they may be able to offer you a similar stipend rate. Students supported on fellowships can accept up to 8 hours/week of employment or assistantship duties.
The NSF GRFP is an extremely prestigious and competitive 3-year fellowship. Dean Boor and I have reached out to Cornell’s Government Affairs liaison in Washington DC to inquire about the prospects and process for getting an increase. It’s certainly a topic that all students, advisors, and other stakeholders could raise with their own congressional representatives, too!
Associate Dean for Administration