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married...in grad school...w/children

C. A. Stewart cheryl at wijiji.santafe.edu
Fri Aug 12 17:22:43 EST 1994

>>In article <32atk8$lv1 at agate.berkeley.edu> lmk2 at garnet.berkeley.edu (Leslie Kay) writes:
>>In the more general case, if a couple are surviving financially in the
>>USA right now, they are almost certainly not both in graduate
>>school. Given the general observations from women in this group that

>	You're right.  In some cases, however, when grad students get a
>great deal of funding, it is reasonable to obtain a lower middle class
>income level.  For example, the average for my graduate program at UCLA
>in excess (neuroscience) is around $30,000, because of the enormous amount
>of funding available.  The average excess for my husband's program (astro-
>physics) at Caltech is around $25,000 in the grad division.  This is 
>independent of anything earned by TAing.  

Wait a minute.  That can't be right.  My friend Rosemary had a kid as a post-doc
in biology at Cornell in 1991, and she was only making $18,000.00.  The minute
they found out she was pregnant, they started asking her when she was leaving, 
and did NOT renew her contract, even though the grant was continuing.  

And wait another minute.  Since when is a combined income of $55,000.00 a year 
for a family of three considered a "lower middle class income level"?  

The graduate students at that time in geology and astrophysics were making less 
than $10,000.00.  In fact, myself and another woman got NASA graduate fellowships 
for $12,000.00, but I was in geo, she was in astro.  Yet in the astronomy department, 
the graduate students were making between $8,000.00 per year and $10,000.00 per yer.  
One of the secretaries in astro thought it was "unfair" for one graduate student to 
be making more than any of the others, so she had the department take a portion of
the woman's NASA graduate fellowship and put it into the general departmental budget.

Are you telling me that graduate student stipends have essentially tripled in 3 years?

When I was applying for NSF funding for students, I had to get special permission
from the Dean and the Office of Sponsored Programs to budget a salary of $17,000.00
for a graduate student.  The highest-paid graduate student at NYU in 1993 made 
$15,000.00  and the average for my department was $11,000.00.  This can't be accounted
for by differences in standards of living, since a recent NYT article published the
percentage of the average US cost of living for each US city.  LA was 128% of the 
national average, NYC was 209% of the national average.  Furthermore, you can't
even explain the discrepancy by the difference in overhead, since overhead at NYU
is only 55% (whereas I believe at UCLA it's comparable, and at Caltech I'm sure it's 
nearly twice that).  

Furthermore, at a lot of schools and with a lot of postdoctoral fellowships, it's 
nearly impossible to get your medical insurance covered. At Harvard, I would have 
had to pay nearly $500.00/month for coverage for myself and my husband, more if I 
had had children.  That was out of a postdoctoral fellowship of $30,000.00 in 
1992-94, the salary you're quoting for graduate student stipends at UCLA for 93-94.  

And you get medical benefits on top of that?  In my NATO fellowship in France in 
1990, I was given no medical insurance, although my male counterparts who had 
comparable fellowships did.   That only paid $22,000.00 for the year, which the 
two of us lived on.  Here I had a Ph.D. in geophysics, lots of publications, golden
reccomendations, and couldn't have children--not because it was inconvenient, or 
because it would hurt my career, but simply because we were just too poor and had
no medical coverage.  Yet, it seemed like a lot because it was nearly twice what
I'd been making as a graduate student.

>>it can be a lot easier to have children while still a grad student,
>>this sort of implies that the father has a job that pays better than
>>grad school does, which in turn tends to make it difficult for him to
>>become the primary-care-parent, due to the financial impact that would

>	Most schools I know of will accept children as young as 6 mos into
>their child care programs.  All of these programs are free to financially 

Um, sorry if this seems like a flame, but...most schools I know of will just
plain fire you if you even hint that you might want to have kids someday.

>"Watch?? I'm gonna pray, Man!  Know any good religions?" -- Zaphod Beeblebrox


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