What would you do during the summers at UC-Irvine? Possibly an internship somewhere?
I just received the details about Purdue's graduate assistantship offer. They offer $16800 per year (12 months), minus tax, minus $2033 in various university fees. Let's assume that I am in the 15% federal tax bracket (can someone confirm the validity?). I don't even know what Indiana's state income tax is. Then I will end up getting about $1020 per month. The cheapest on-campus graduate student housing option is about $445 per month (this includes electricity, local-area phone, etc). Let's assume that I will spend $15 per day on average on meals, coffee, and groceries. Then, I will be left with about $125 for all other possible kinds of expenses (cell phone, car insurance, clothing, gym, etc). So, I am a little confused about how I am gonna live on this stipend. Perhaps my assumptions about food costs or other expenses are wrong?
(shocked a little after earning near $30K/year on my half-time job for the past few years.. but those moneys were already spent on undergraduate education and graduate application fees)
Perhaps I should engage in some drastic cost cutting: drop the car, cell phone, and settle for living in a tripple dorm room or co-op house.. but this sounds so freshman year. I hoped I could live with some privacy and certain "luxury" items as a grad student.
Suddenly, UC-Irvine's 15600K/9 months TAship with no fees to pay sounds a lot more livable.
Yeah but the West Lafayette money was for 12 months of work wasn't it? So you'd get less on a monthly basis but still have to stick around over the summer? UCI also has similar on campus housing rates as Purdue. From a money standpoint it sounds like the UCI deal may work out better and not leave you with much debt. You get the summer to do an internship. Is Purdue much more highly regarded than UCI in your chosen field? California's state income tax is fairly high as well and that may make their offer less attractive.
Anyways, it sounds like you're leaning towards Purdue. My take on the daily living expenses is that the college is hopefully gonna supply a reasonable meal plan, free gym access, etc. I'm sure a large traditional college like Purdue could also supply lots of reasonably entertaining and cheap activities as well. Roughing it without a car, cell phone, etc. sounds a little bleak. I can fully understand your desire to get a little privacy. Getting crammed into a dorm with people that you didn't actually like is not a fond memory. Heck it probably improved my grades by making me want to stay in the library during the day. But then it hurt my wallet because I'd stay at the bar too late because I dreaded getting back.
Well yeah. In terms of funding, it's easy to conclude that UCI's offer is much better. Surely, the quality of life in Irvine is probably also better (a beautiful campus in an affluent socal suburb 2 miles away from the beach vs a geographically isolated small college town in midwest). This is partly due to the fact that UCI has very good and affordable graduate student housing options. In terms of interests, yes, it does seem like I would prefer Purdue. I will visit both campuses in the coming weeks and this will hopefully clear things a little bit.
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