Based on what's reported on Gradcafe, Penn State is offering a 30k + health care. Quite a tidy sum, especially when you consider living costs in University Park.
I support what everyone else has said here: from talking to other people in my program (top 15) the range of funding seems to be either $0, $20,000-$27,000 for the first year, with little variability afterwards. I have heard of some people negotiating this, but I think most negotiations resulted in movements within the $7,000 range, and these movements only impacted the first year. So not much to quibble about in the long run (and very unlikely to be something that would change your decision).
The range of funding in top 15 programs ranges from close to $40k/year+tuition, with that requiring perhaps 2 or 3 years of TA work during the program, to no funding for the first year at all. For example, Berkeley says "Over 50% of our new admits receive some form of university or department financial support." UCSD says "Approximately 75% of admits are offered a first-year financial aid package (e.g., teaching assistantships, tuition & fee scholarships, fellowships)."
A lot of the difference in offers across departments reflects the wealth of the department or university.
Just a side question... when you guys are taking abt stipend, does it include sth like "summer fellowship"? That's a seperate item in the offer, while works very similar to stipend and is of decent amount.
I wonder if other schools have this as well?
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