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President Zimmer announces additional $50 million in aid for graduate students in Social Sciences, Humanities

Feb. 7, 2007

The University of Chicago, which has some of the nation’s leading programs in the Social Sciences and Humanities, will allocate nearly $50 million in additional funding over the next six years to ensure that doctoral students in those programs are among the most generously supported in all of higher education. Beginning this fall, a typical base aid package for incoming graduate students in those areas will be five-year support that includes tuition, health insurance, a $19,000 stipend per year to cover living expenses, and two summers of research support at $3,000 per summer. By the time the program is fully operational in six years, the University will be providing students with an estimated $13 million each year in new support.

“From the founding of the University of Chicago, our graduate programs have distinguished the University and influenced graduate training across higher education,” said President Robert J. Zimmer. “It is our obligation to support these programs at the highest level, allowing us to continue to attract emerging scholars who will shape academic fields and set the intellectual agenda in the decades to come.”

The aid is expected to shorten the amount of time required to complete a Ph.D. by providing students with a level of support that will allow them to focus on their scholarship. The new program systematizes opportunities for students to develop a range of teaching experiences — a critical component of doctoral education — while maintaining current overall teaching expectations.

“This graduate aid program reflects the highest priority of our faculty in the humanities and social sciences,” said Thomas Rosenbaum, Provost of the University. “The work of faculty is fully integrated with the experience of our students, so increasing support for our students will also enhance the capacity of our faculty to carry out leading research and educational programs.”

Currently, many graduate students in the Social Sciences and Humanities receive assistance, although the amount varies from student to student and from department to department. As the students reach their advanced training stage, many also receive national fellowships that help pay their expenses.

“This program will make the University of Chicago even more attractive to the most capable applicants,” said Martha Roth, Deputy Provost for Research and Education. “We have exceptional faculty in the Social Sciences and Humanities, researchers whose reputations bring many of the nation’s most outstanding graduate students to Chicago. This initiative sends a clear signal to prospective students that we are prepared to support them in pursuit of their doctorates at the University.”

Each year, the University enrolls about 250 graduate students in the Social Sciences and Humanities Divisions, an enrollment level that will be maintained under the new graduate assistance program. This represents one of the largest and most comprehensive graduate programs in these areas among leading private research universities. 

As part of this program, $1.5 million will be allocated to improve the resources available to current doctoral students in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The new funds will make it possible provide University-paid health insurance to students who have matriculated since 2003 for the balance of the first five years in their programs.

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Last modified at 11:09 AM CST on Monday, July 23, 2007

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