A doctoral degree is a significant investment in your future, and financing your education is a critical factor to consider. While the funding we provide covers the basic standard cost of attendance determined by Stanford University for a modest life as a graduate student, accepting an offer from a doctoral program has significant personal, professional, and financial implications. Below you’ll find information about financing your PhD and how the GSE works closely with the Stanford University Financial Aid Office to assist students.
Stanford GSE offers all admitted PhD students a five-year funding guarantee that provides tuition aid, fellowship stipend, and assistantship salary, and covers the standard cost of attendance below. This funding applies to the first five academic years of the doctoral program and generally entails assistantship work on a research project or course with a GSE faculty member. The funding is based on meeting the basic financial need of the student alone. There is no separate application for this funding.
Funding structure and details
As part of the five-year funding guarantee, the GSE pays tuition to the university on the student’s behalf. In addition, students receive fellowship stipend from the GSE and earn salary from their assistantship. This funding guarantee is based on meeting the basic financial need of the student alone and is contingent upon satisfactory academic progress.
Assistants are needed on a variety of projects within Stanford GSE. Research assistants are funded by the GSE and grants received by the professor, and can lead to joint publications with faculty or to dissertation topics. Students who have sufficient expertise and experience may also be selected as teaching assistants. Assistantships are typically secured with the assistance of faculty advisors. Students work 10 or 20 hours a week depending on their year in the program.
Research assistantship (RA): Various research duties for sponsored projects
Teaching assistantships (3 types):
Course Assistant (CA)—course preparation and grading
Teaching Affiliate (TF)—full responsibility for course
Funding details 2022-2023
To see funding details for 2022-2023 (autumn through summer), please visit the doctoral handbook.
First-year fellowship: stipend of $6,027 per quarter for autumn, winter, and spring (lump sum paid early in the quarter)
25% assistantship (10 hours/week): salary of $6,027 per quarter for autumn, winter, and spring (bi-weekly paychecks of $1,004.50 (pre-tax) from October 22-July 7)
Summer funding guaranteed at 50% level ($12,054)
Tuition paid directly to University by GSE
First-year students take 11-18 units
Total award for academic year: $36,162 in salary/stipend + $56,487 in tuition for academic year
Total award for summer: $12,054
50% assistantship: salary of $12,054 per quarter for autumn, winter, and spring (bi-weekly paychecks of $2,009 (pre-tax) from October 22-July 7)
Summer funding guaranteed at 50% level ($12,054)
Tuition paid directly to University
Students take 8-10 units until finished with classes (TGR)
Total award for academic year: $36,162* in salary/stipend + $36,720 in tuition
*Higher pay rate for RA-ships ($12,522/quarter) after advancing to candidacy
Fifth-year fellowship: stipend of $6,261 per quarter for autumn, winter, and spring (lump sum paid early in the quarter)
25% assistantship: salary of $6,261 per quarter for autumn, winter, and spring (bi-weekly paychecks of $1,043.50 (pre-tax) from October 22-July 7)
TGR tuition paid directly to University ($3,672 per quarter)
Summer funding guaranteed at 50% level ($12,054) - summer after year 5 is the last summer of this funding guarantee
Students enroll in TGR units
Total award for academic year: $37,566 in salary/stipend + $11,016 in tuition + minimum $12,054 for summer
Year 1: 25% fellowship + 25% salary
Year 2-4: 50% salary
Year 5: 25% fellowship + 25% salary
Summer funding guaranteed at 50% for years 1-5
Tuition paid on student's behalf
Contingent on satisfactory academic progress
External fellowships are integrated into the GSE funding package (must report any additional/external fellowships to the Academic Affairs team)
Cost of attendance
Tuition depends on the units taken by the student. In addition to tuition expenses, a PhD program involves other living expenses such as rent, food, and transportation. The sum of tuition and non-tuition expenses constitute the standard cost of attendance. As you consider applying to graduate school, you can use the chart below—plus any additional expenses you might have—to create your financial plan.
* TGR (Terminal Graduate Registration)
** Students living off-campus should add 10-40% to the total living allowance for a more realistic estimate.
***Cardinal Care is an annual plan, with coverage extending through Summer quarter regardless of enrollment status.
What you can do now to prepare financially if admitted
Prepare for how your standard of living may change as a graduate student, especially if you are coming from a full-time job.
Understand that the GSE PhD funding package is intended to cover the basic Stanford student budget for the student alone, and create a financial plan for graduate school.
Consider the length of your program, any dependents, existing debt, and additional financial commitments you may have. Students with children may review Stanford support programs for families.
If you have personal or special circumstances that require additional expenses above and beyond the standard cost of attendance, plan accordingly.
Start saving as much as you are able to cover any unexpected expenses you may incur while in graduate school.
Familiarize yourself with federal as well as private student loans, their interest rates, fees, repayment options, deferment policies, and eligibility requirements, so that you are informed if you need to borrow.
Be ready to cover all initial expenses, since fellowships and stipends will not be disbursed until a few weeks into your first quarter. Onboarding into a PhD program often requires up front out of pocket expenses for relocation.
Additional GSE resources
Once PhD students matriculate, the GSE has a variety of resources available to support academic work and unanticipated needs.
Students are eligible for up to three travel fellowships during their time at GSE if they are attending a conference or other professional development opportunity.
GSE Student Emergency Fund assists graduate students who experience a financial emergency or unanticipated expenses causing financial hardship. This fund is meant to support those who cannot reasonably resolve their financial difficulty through fellowships, loans, or personal resources.
GSE Dissertation Support Grants help advanced PhD students who require additional financial support for dissertation research activities. These grants, available at up to $6,500 total per student, are available to students who do not have access to other funds to cover their dissertation costs.
Stanford University resources
Knight-Hennessy Scholars (KHS) program aims to prepare the next generation of global leaders to address the increasingly complex challenges facing the world. The program selects up to 100 students each year and provides three years of financial support that is integrated into the GSE’s funding package for PhD students.
Stanford Financial Aid Office oversees a number of financial support programs specifically for graduate students with challenging financial situations.
Additional hourly work is available to students who wish to work for pay as "casual labor" at Stanford up to eight hours a week, provided work does not adversely affect the academic program. Requires approval from the student’s advisor and the Academic Services team.
Other funding sources
External fellowships are integrated into the GSE’s funding package. There are many funding opportunities offered outside of Stanford. The GSE admissions team has compiled an external fellowships and grants document for you to explore, though you should plan to do your own research as well. International students can find additional sources of funding on the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) Funding for U.S. Study website and this publication.
Stanford is committed to providing benefits through the Yellow Ribbon Program of the Post-9/11 GI Bill® to students in degree-seeking programs. GSE students who qualify for Chapter 33 benefits at the 100% level may be eligible for additional funding through the Yellow Ribbon Program. Please note that for GSE students receiving tuition fellowship funding, the Yellow Ribbon match may reduce and in some cases replace institutional grants and scholarships. For instructions, visit the page, Activate VA Education Benefits at Stanford.
International students are guaranteed the same funding package as domestic students. However, there may be restrictions regarding the number of hours and opportunities to work during the summer months. To learn more, please contact the Bechtel International Center.
To meet immigration regulations, international students must show proof of adequate financial support to cover the length of time of their graduate program. While international students are not eligible for U.S. federal loan programs, they may qualify for private/alternative loans. Many lenders, however, require that a U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-sign the loan. You can find information and tools to help you choose private loan programs most frequently used by Stanford students here. A comprehensive list of private loan programs is available at FinAid.org.