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Thread: Stipend-Housing

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    Stipend-Housing

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    I understand the issue of housing is dependent on the cost of living, but in general does anyone have an idea what is the norm regarding how much of a stipend should be dedicated towards rent? Any current PhD student able to weigh in on this?

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    Re: Stipend-Housing

    Also interested in this question. I'm considering paying a higher fraction of my income to live within walking distance of campus.

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    Re: Stipend-Housing

    I think it is worth it to be close to campus if you can manage it. It can also save a lot on transportation, so it may make financial sense too.

    I spend about 35-40% on rent after I consider scholarships and tax returns. More than any financial planner will tell you to do, but it works for now. I'm also not putting anything toward retirement, but that makes very little distance in the long run.

    I have heard of students in New York spending like 60% on rent. That would really get to me. So, it varies a lot, but I think you should do at least a one bed apartment if you are single. I have a decent house for my family.

    Basically, you make the wages of a low skill trade, but you know that you are getting a big raise down the road.

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    Re: Stipend-Housing

    Quote Originally Posted by YaSvoboden View Post
    I think it is worth it to be close to campus if you can manage it. It can also save a lot on transportation, so it may make financial sense too.

    I spend about 35-40% on rent after I consider scholarships and tax returns. More than any financial planner will tell you to do, but it works for now. I'm also not putting anything toward retirement, but that makes very little distance in the long run.

    I have heard of students in New York spending like 60% on rent. That would really get to me. So, it varies a lot, but I think you should do at least a one bed apartment if you are single. I have a decent house for my family.

    Basically, you make the wages of a low skill trade, but you know that you are getting a big raise down the road.
    Thanks, this is very helpful. Also, as I understand it, the fellowship component of the stipend is not taxed, but work requirements via RA and TA experiences are. Is this correct?

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    Re: Stipend-Housing

    Depends on the institution in terms of taxation. But yeah generally fellowship component isn't taxed but the TA/.RA work is.

    As far as living, I'd suggest rather than specifically living close to campus as that generally means living close to undergrads (who are the worst), living close to a bus stop that will get you into school in 15 minutes or less. Generally you can get a little more bang for your buck, but you can also have the experience of feeling that when you leave the office you've actually left the office. That has been invaluable to me throughout the program.

    Also, and it might be too late for this, but I strongly suggest finding a significant other to pay for all of your expenses. It has worked wonderfully for me. (I'm joking of course, but seriously my wife is amazing)
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    Re: Stipend-Housing

    Entirely depends on the specific location. The stipends do vary somewhat, but most are in the general neighborhood of $25,000-$35.000 +/- a few thousand.. In terms of housing that is going to go a lot further in places like Florida or Missouri vs places like New York or California for example. In Iowa City, that would allow one to rent a comfortable house, whereas in Los Angeles it would be a 1-bedroom apartment.

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    Re: Stipend-Housing

    Chiming in here what are thoughts on roommates in low COL areas? Living near campus (10-15 minute bus ride) all that’s left is is expensive with studios and 1 bedrooms close to $1,000 or I can go 30 minutes away and get one for $600. I don’t wanna be too far my first year so I’m considering finding another grad roommate maybe a medical student or something and get a 2 bdrm at a more reasonable cost.

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    Re: Stipend-Housing

    Quote Originally Posted by TaxGal View Post
    Chiming in here what are thoughts on roommates in low COL areas? Living near campus (10-15 minute bus ride) all that’s left is is expensive with studios and 1 bedrooms close to $1,000 or I can go 30 minutes away and get one for $600. I don’t wanna be too far my first year so I’m considering finding another grad roommate maybe a medical student or something and get a 2 bdrm at a more reasonable cost.
    Some of our students have roommates. I think that they can be fine, but there are also horror stories. Here's my advice. If you are going to go with a roommate definitely go with another PhD student. Master's students often have way more time off and can be extremely annoying. Also I would suggest going with someone a little older (i.e. not straight from undergrad). These people can have a difficult time transitioning from undergrad lifestyle to grad lifestyle. Things such as drinking all night, throwing parties and all the fun undergrad stuff you could do because time didn't actually mean anything. It can be extremely annoying to you as you spend every waking hour in existential dread (welcome to a PhD program by the way). But seriously another grad student who will be working as much as you is a great choice.

    The only other suggestion I have on that is to find an apartment that has large bedrooms. The more personal space you have to yourself the better. Basically if you have an office at school where you're sharing space with 10 other students, you don't want to share office space with your roommate in the common area. A large bedroom with space for a desk can really help your sanity.

    Also I would caution against signing a multi-year lease with a roommate you've never lived with before. You need to be able to get out of a bad situation if necessary.
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    Re: Stipend-Housing

    For the record I currently have two roommates. One I've lived with for 10 years and she's awesome, super clean, very respectful of my time, pays rent on time, etc...

    The other ones a monster. Up at all hours of the night. Screaming. Crying over everything. Never cleans up anything and leaves the common area looking like tornado came through.
    Til now I always got by on my own
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    Re: Stipend-Housing

    Haha, good one. I am assuming the second roommate also expects to be driven around everywhere, be read stories at night and wants toys for Christmas and birthdays!!

    Quote Originally Posted by XanthusARES View Post
    For the record I currently have two roommates. One I've lived with for 10 years and she's awesome, super clean, very respectful of my time, pays rent on time, etc...

    The other ones a monster. Up at all hours of the night. Screaming. Crying over everything. Never cleans up anything and leaves the common area looking like tornado came through.

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