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Support from The Graduate School

The Graduate School (TGS) has a strong history of working closely with and advocating for graduate students. From enhancing benefits to creating new opportunities to engage with one another, TGS has proven by its actions that it values the contributions graduate students make to Northwestern’s research and teaching missions and is committed to advocating for ways to support and advance this important community of scholars.

Included below are some of the ways TGS helps support the needs of graduate students. 

Benefits and Services

  • Platinum-level health insurance (an annual value of $5,144), with lower out-of-pocket costs than found in employer or marketplace plans
  • U-Pass transit program (i.e., discounted unlimited rides on the CTA)
  • Complimentary legal services and access to the Office of the Ombudsperson
  • Access to English Language Programs (ELP) services
  • Funding for 40+ TGS-affiliated graduate student organizations
  • Professional development opportunities and partnerships with other campus support offices
  • Comprehensive recruitment and programming initiatives to foster a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment

Financial Support

PhD and MFA students receive a stipend, full tuition scholarship, and subsidy for the NU-SHIP annual healthcare premium. Financial support for graduate students includes:

  • Competitive base stipend with consistent annual increases (minimum 5% increase for FY24)
  • A guaranteed minimum of 5 years (20 quarters) of support for all PhD students
  • Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) of $2,000 provided to all PhD and MFA students during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 20+ interdisciplinary graduate assistantships to obtain professional development experience which may extend the duration of funding
  • Over $8 million in annual support for multiple competitive fellowship programs, including the Presidential Fellowship, the Ryan Fellowship, Mellon Cluster Fellowships, etc.
  • $230,000 allocated in FY23 to graduate student research grants
  • $570,000 allocated in FY23 to graduate conference travel grants

Work-Life Balance

  • Graduate student childcare grants
  • Dependent care professional development grants
  • Paid medical leave of absence and paid parental leave of absence for funded students
  • Access to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and other campus support offices, including free virtual mental health support through the TimelyCare platform

Open Door Policy

Graduate students have an opportunity to share personal successes and challenges along their academic journey and provide TGS with valuable feedback on the graduate student experience. The conversations fostered by this open door policy have enabled TGS to address issues such as conflicts with advisers and unclear policies, as well as to strengthen services such as professional development offerings.