October 23 , 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 30  

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Grad kids see more funding

By Dan Perry
Gazette Staff

The University of Alberta Graduate Students' Association would be "thrilled if it were true," said their president, Lee Skallerup, in response to the University of Alberta's new funding initiative reported by the National Post yesterday.

"The announcement in the Post was wrong," she said. The story referred to a proposed minimum stipend of $12,000, to which Skallerup said she had "no idea what they were talking about." The GSA and the U of A had been discussing an entrance award, but such a stipend was not part of it, Skallerup said.

George Pavlich, acting dean of the faculty of graduate studies and research at Alberta, confirmed the Provost's Doctoral Entrance Award had been established, saying the awards amount to around $4,000 for Canadian students and $8,000 for international students per year for two years in the PhD program.

The 300 awards will go to students at lower levels of Alberta funding, with 160 reserved for first-year PhD students and 140 for those in second year. "If someone has a major grant, they render themselves ineligible," Pavlich said. "It's not guaranteed funding in the way that every PhD [candidate] coming in gets it. It is going to have a significant impact on average PhD student funding at the U of A; it will bring it up to $21,504."

Pavlich added the award will cover the university's fees and tuition for those students who receive it and also denied any $12,000 stipend existed.

All confusion aside, Alberta is the fourth major Canadian university, after British Columbia, Toronto and Ottawa, to ensure every student at their institution had adequate PhD funding.

Western's Society of Graduate Students' VP-academic Graydon Raymer speculated on what a fashion for increased funding could mean for graduate students.

"The trend is going to be toward more [graduate] funding; the undergraduate program brings in a tiny fraction of what the research programs bring in," Raymer said. "If the university pays out funding to graduate students, it's a pretty much guaranteed return on their investment. [Graduate students] are the ones publishing the papers and doing the work."




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