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Graduate Student

My current stipend covers my basic living expenses but leaves little room for anything else, and limits my quality of life. For example, I've made decisions not to access some types of healthcare because of cost barriers. I also would like to own a home someday, but with each year I spend in graduate school, that goal seems less and less realistic given that almost all my income goes straight back to tuition and expenses.

If graduate funding was CAD $35,000/yr for all students, how would that change your life? With 35k/year, I would put more money into savings, I could afford a higher quality of life, and it would generally decrease the amount of stress and anxiety that I carry with me constantly about finances. It would make it easier for me to stay in my field, and to be more productive, since I could put less energy into financial worries and more into my research. I would be able to afford therapy, better food, and I would have the ability to plan for financial emergencies.

Additional comments: I love my research and my position. But I also feel exploited and undervalued as a graduate student. By paying graduate students and postdocs such small amounts, our government and our institutions are sending us the message that they do not value us or our work, even though we are the ones driving research and innovation in Canada. They are also sending the message that if you don't have the resources to make it through school on this stipend, then you don't deserve to be in graduate school, which just perpetuates systemic barriers that exclude many people from academia and research. 35k/year won't fix every problem for every graduate student, but it would be a darn good place to start if we want to be serious about supporting the next generation of Canadian researchers.


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