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What Is a Stipend?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 13 July 2014
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A stipend is a form of payment that is given to individuals in place of salary or wage. It is generally only intended to cover living expenses, and is often given to people who are participating in an internship, apprenticeship, graduate work, or a fellowship, just to name a few. A stipend is typically a fairly low wage, and is typically not based on hourly work, but rather on a prearranged set of factors regarding the type and amount of work that should be completed in a period of time.

When someone is doing work for a graduate program or in an internship, for example, a monetary stipend may be given to allow the individual to devote the necessary time for this work without needing to find an additional job. A stipend will also typically come along with other benefits that make it acceptable to take a lower wage. These benefits might include living arrangements, a certain number of meals per day, college credit, or additional knowledge and work experience gained in a specific field that can be beneficial to add to a resume.

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A stipend may also be paid out on a less frequent basis than a regular paycheck; often, stipends are given once per month, or even as a lump sum once per semester. For this reason, it is important for people who are receiving stipends to be careful with managing the money, and to be sure it lasts for the entire period of time for which it is intended. In addition, this method of payment is typically only used for people who will be working for a brief period of time, such as for one semester, six months or a year, though of course the exact period of time can vary. It is not mean to be a long term payment solution, except in some cases for clergy members.

A stipend may be given by non-profit organizations to workers as well, though many of these people are simply volunteers. A stipend is usually a guaranteed sum for as long as the individual has the apprenticeship or internship, as long as he or she is completing the work as agreed. Again, it is not often based on actual hours worked, but rather on the requirements set forth needed to complete the work within a certain period of time. If this work is completed, then it is reasonable to assume that the intern put in a the acceptable amount of hours in order to receive the stipend.

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Crispety
Post 7

@Simrin -What I don’t understand is how people can take unpaid internships. The other day I was reading about some unpaid fashion internships that were offered in New York City. How do they expect these students to survive without pay or a stipend especially in a city as expensive as New York City?

I think that companies that offer internships should pay the intern some form of stipend. The problem is as long as some people are willing to work for free the process will continue. It is really a shame because there may be some really talented students that would do well in an internship like that but because they can’t afford not being paid they shy away from it.

BrickBack
Post 6

I was also reading that you can get an AmeriCorps stipend for completing so many hours of community service in one of their programs. There is one program in Los Angeles that I read about that offered an educational bonus of $5,000 in addition to a yearly stipend for living expenses of $14,000 paid twice a month.

You do have to have commit and actually reach 1,700 hours of service in order to receive the educational bonus. In addition to the funds you also get health insurance along with child care benefits and the ability to have your student loans deferred.

They do require that you have completed some college courses, but you don’t have to have a degree to enter the program. A background check is usually done as well. I wish I would have known about this program when I went to school because it would have made it easier for me to pay for my classes.

candyquilt
Post 5

A stipend isn't only given in return for work. A lot of government social programs have stipends in place when it's necessary.

For example, my aunt recently adopted a special-needs child and she receives a monthly stipend from the government to cover some of the costs. I don't think a stipend is given in all adoptions but because special needs children generally have higher health and schooling costs, the government wants to help out adoptive parents.

fify
Post 4

I'm a PhD student and I also receive a monthly stipend from my Professor who is supervising my work.

I actually applied for this program from abroad and was selected and sponsored to do my PhD in the US. I learned about the stipend before I arrived. I had to make sure that the stipend would be enough to cover all of my expenses while I do my PhD because I don't have any other sources of income during this time.

Thankfully, the stipend is more than enough to cover my costs. I am still careful about spending though. I rent an apartment with a roommate and only pay half the rent. We also share the kitchen expenses and utilities. I've been able to save enough money to get a second hand car and cover the insurance with my stipend as well.

I'll definitely be making much more when I graduate and start working, but as a PhD student, this stipend is not bad. It's enough for me live comfortably.

wander
Post 3

For those of you that would like to travel in Europe but are lacking enough funds and worry about the cost of accommodation you should looking into teaching ESL. In Europe there are lots of volunteer teaching positions that come with a stipend.

As a stipender you'll generally have your housing covered, and a few dollars for pocket money. While you'll still need to bring money from home, doing an ESL volunteering job can be a great experience.

Right now the country of Georgia is offering numerous stipends that last from 3 months to upwards of a year if you are willing to stay in the country that long.

manykitties2
Post 2

I was lucky enough to get a scholarship for college and it included a stipend. It covered my housing costs and a bit extra for food. I was really surprised at how generous the organization I got my scholarship through was, because I can't imagine what it would have been like working full-time and trying to do my degree.

The stipend pay I got was deposited into my account on a monthly basis, so I really had to budget to make sure it covered everything I needed. I got a really cheap apartment so I would have more money for food. While I certainly still had to work, a stipend was really helpful.

SteamLouis
Post 1

I know that in some fields like Engineering, internship stipends are enough to cover living expenses. But for some other areas, like Political Science for example, it's difficult to find internships with stipends and they are usually a very small amount that covers transportation costs and some food costs at the most. Of course, it also depends on where you are located and how expensive that area is.

A friend of mine is interning at an engineering company in the Midwest and the monthly stipend he receives covers all of his costs- rent, food and gas. When I was interning in Washington DC though, I was give a very small amount as monthly stipend and I basically spent that for my lunch everyday. All of my other expenses which cost the most, I had to cover myself.

It would have been better if I was in a smaller and cheaper area but big cities, especially the capital, is very expensive. So a stipend really doesn't get you far there.

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