LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 13, 2023) — In the fall semester, the University of Kentucky announced its commitment to further support graduate students through enhanced compensation and benefits.
This included UK tuition scholarships for graduate students covering all mandatory fees and ongoing plans to establish baseline graduate stipends, starting in fiscal year 2024.
Since then, the Graduate Stipend and Benefits Committee has made important progress in fulfilling the commitment to establish baseline stipends. The committee — with representation from the Graduate School and five graduate programs as well as the Office of the Provost, Student Success, Human Resources and Student Government Association’s Graduate and Professional Affairs — recently provided an update to the Office of the Provost and college leadership.
“Simply put, we are not the University of Kentucky — Kentucky’s land-grant, flagship, R1 research institution — without our graduate students,” said Acting Graduate School Dean and Graduate Stipend and Benefits Committee Co-Chair Martha Peterson.
Preliminary data show that a majority of UK graduate programs already provide stipends on par with or higher than the average for their disciplines when compared to benchmark institutions.
“But we know there is work to do — that's why we’re moving forward with this multi-year strategy to support graduate students,” Peterson said.
Starting July 1, UK will begin a phased-in approach to implement baseline graduate stipends and raise any stipends that do not meet the base amounts. This transition period will take place over the Fall 2023 semester ensuring close collaboration between the committee, colleges and departments, hiring departments across campus, Institutional Research, Analytics and Decision Support (IRADS) and other partners.
The committee’s plan to implement the baseline graduate stipends includes the following:
- Working with IRADS and colleges to analyze current graduate stipends for all graduate programs at UK, as well as stipends provided to graduate students by non-academic units.
- Establishing baseline stipends based on standardized data from national benchmark institutions, using the Oklahoma State University (OSU) Graduate Stipend Survey. This is an annual national survey with 48 participating institutions in 2021-22, including nine SEC schools.
- Working with colleges, graduate programs and other hiring departments over the course of the fall 2023 semester to raise any stipends that do not meet the base amounts. Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, all graduate stipends at UK will need to be at or above their respective baseline. Committee leadership has already started communicating with college and non-academic unit leaders.
- Participating in the OSU survey. The university has already been a longtime participant in the OSU Faculty Salary Survey, and we will begin providing graduate stipend data annually.
- Reevaluating baseline stipends annually, using this standardized benchmark data.
“We look forward to building on this work and continuing to invest in graduate students across campus,” Peterson said.
The committee plans to provide additional updates over the coming months.
As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.
In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.