Grad kids see more funding
By Dan Perry
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
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."