Minimum Biology Grad stipend raised by $4,000!
Thanks to our hard work as representatives of the Biology Organization of Graduate Students (BOGS), the Graduate Directorate, as well as Biology faculty at Dalhousie, we have successfully increased the minimum stipend available to graduate students by $4,000. The decision was unanimously voted in by faculty and voting members of BOGS. The stipend has not been raised since 2016.
Now, all students are able to receive a base stipend of $19,000, and those with an A- or better scholarship will receive $20,000. The increase in stipend is timely, given the rapidly changing rental rates in Halifax. (Note for new grads: This represents a minimum pay. Students are able to earn more through teaching assistantships, scholarships, and/or via negotiations with supervisors.)
Importantly, the stipend is now subject to review every two years, to ensure that grads can (more or less) comfortably live as inflation and rent prices continue to increase. We hope this model, and/or a model subject to a yearly increase concomitant with inflation (e.g., UBC's 3% mandated yearly increase of stipend) can be adopted by other departments.
This change will make our department more competitive in attracting talented students, while contributing to equality between graduate students. The raise may be especially important for attracting BIPOC students who may otherwise experience socioeconomic difficulties to the department. Of the top 15 institutions in Canada, Dalhousie now has one of the most competitive rates of pay for Biology grads, especially when taking into account additional funds from possible TAships.
Shoutout to President Loay Jabre for spearheading this initiative and to faculty (particularly Dr. Ruzzante) for enthusiastically supporting this change.
For next year I'm hoping to bargain for higher TA pay rates as a member of CUPE, as Dalhousie has one of the lowest rates of TA pay of the top 15 Canadian institutions.