Graduate School Money, Part II

July 18, 2007 at 6:41 pm | | grad life, stipends


Graduate School Base Stipend: $26,600


Federal/State Income Taxes at ca. 12.5% : $3,325

Rent at Palo Alto Average* of $904/month (US Census Bureau): $10848

National Average Food Expenditure for Single Male with Moderate Budget of $238/month: $2856

Subsidized Stanford Cardinal Health Care at $342/quarter: $1368

Averge Car Insurance for California at $847/6 mo.: $1694

1/2 Annual Automotive Travel (6250 miles) at average 21 mi/gal at Palo Alto gas price of $3.21/gal: $955

Cell Phone Cost (Cheapest Cingular Plan) at $40/mo: $480

*Note: Stanford Graduate Single Occupancy (i.e. 1 person/room) Housing rent ranges from $640 for Crothers to $994 for the EV studios. The Rate for Rains, Lyman, and EV 2Br is $790. There is an additonal a $27/month mandatory fee for telecommunication and laundry.

Total Income: $26,600

Total Expenditures: $21,526

Estimated Disposable Income: $5074/year or $423/month ($211/paycheck).


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  1. whoa, $6400 seems like sort of a lot. i dunno if i save that much. but i’m not very careful.

    Comment by sam — July 18, 2007 #

  2. Do you consider your cell phone to be “disposable income”?

    What about the fact that many graduate students are from overseas and come with a non-working spouse (oh yea what’s the cost of medical for a spouse @ Stanford?) Have kids?

    and dont get me started on the costs of living in NYC :-)

    Comment by ilya — July 19, 2007 #

  3. Edited to include actual car insurance cost ($847 was premium, not annual) and cheapest cingular wireless singe-person cell phone plan.

    Sam, this is a very conservative estimate.

    – $2856/year in food is less than $7.80 in food a day. That’s taken up by just eating a burrito…I think we all spend more than that.

    – In 2001, the average monthly transportation costs of graduate students was $840-960 a year (according to GSC survey). My transportation estimate is very conservative in comparison considering gas prices have tripled in the past 8 years. If we assumed the national average, we would have to double the transportation expenses to $1910 a year.

    – Since Stanford Graduate Housing doesn’t include utilities, I did not include utilities in the cost analysis. However, utilities run $40-$70 per person for most Palo Alto apartments.

    – This assumes coming in with no debt (credit card, loan, car note, etc).

    – This does not account for personal effects and toiletries such as bath supplies (soap, deodorant, shampoo, etc), toilet paper, dental supplies (toothbrush, toothpaste, etc), and other non-food grocery items. It’s not hard to imagine these items run at least $20/month for a man, and probably more for a woman (who may also include haircare and makeup items). That alone would account for $240+ a year.

    – This does not include car regisration and maintenance fees.

    – This does not include clothing expenses.


    By the way, my first summer working at Burger King in high school I made around $4700. So I’m at the same “disposable” income level I was in high school. GREAT!

    Comment by charles — July 19, 2007 #

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