New Rice policies to support stipend and improve graduate student experience

Dear Rice Community,

Enhancing our graduate programs is a fundamental goal at Rice, and providing competitive Ph.D. stipends and support is an important investment in graduate education. For the past several months, we have been developing approaches to continue to improve the student experience at Rice and to address recent rises in the cost of living for our Ph.D. students. Beginning July 1:

  • The 12-month Ph.D. stipend will be a minimum of $32,000 for all Ph.D. students enrolled in full-time study and in good standing with the university for the number of years described in the original offer letter. This increase will be supported by university funding from the office of the President and the Provost, the schools that house the Ph.D. programs and the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
  • We will continue to encourage programs to offer compensation and opportunities competitive with peer programs in their discipline. As such, some departments may provide a higher stipend.
  • We will review the minimum stipend annually and will adjust it in response to changes in the cost of attendance and market conditions.
  • To continue assurance that students are treated fairly and within university expectations, faculty and degree programs may not reduce or terminate graduate student stipends for any cause without an approved petition to the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
  • We will engage with the Graduate Student Association to consider how to improve and best support graduate student dining on campus.
  • The Adams-Moseley Emergency Loan fund limit will be increased to $3,000 to assist when students encounter unexpected expenses.

The increased stipend and better-regulated process are in addition to other measures taken at the start of the current academic year to support Ph.D. students.

  • An increase in the medical insurance subsidy to cover 80% of the premium for all full-time students enrolled on the Aetna student insurance plan during their first eight years of study, a savings of $366 per student for the current year. Students remain eligible to access student health insurance throughout their tenure at Rice.
  • Expansion of parental leave to include both parental (six weeks) as well as short-term medical leave (six weeks), so that a new parent could have up to 12 weeks of paid leave.
  • Expansion of the graduate meal plans to include a dinner option in addition to lunch.
  • New offering of BrightSmile dental coverage for all Rice students.
  • Expansion of the fellowship writing coaching program.

Doctoral students are foundationally important to the Rice academic community. Enhancing the doctoral experience and providing support to ensure that students succeed and flourish is a high priority for Rice. As we further develop plans for Rice’s future, we will build on these enhancements and will continue to engage graduate students in decisions that affect students’ ability to wholeheartedly pursue their scholarship. Thank you for your partnership.


Provost Amy Dittmar

Seiichi Matsuda, Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies