UW–Madison announces 13.3 percent stipend increase for TA and PA appointments

by Alissa Ewer

Class outside Science Hall
A teaching assistant leads a discussion with her environmental studies class. Photo by Jeff Miller/UW–Madison.

The University of Wisconsin–Madison has announced a significant stipend increase for graduate student teaching and project assistants. The increase, 13.3 percent to current stipends, raises the campus minimum from $16,196 to $18,350 for nine-month, 50 percent appointments.

“The latest increase contributes to a sustained investment in graduate education at UW–Madison,” said Graduate School Dean, William J. Karpus. “It represents a continued commitment to recruit and retain the best graduate students and acknowledges their critical contributions to the university. The research and discoveries made by UW–Madison graduate students benefit the people of Wisconsin and help contribute to the local, regional and national economic growth.”

The decision was approved by Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf, and Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Laurent Heller, in consultation with Chancellor Rebecca Blank.

“Our efforts to improve assistantship pay for graduate students over the past several years have brought us closer to the average salaries offered by our institutional peers,” according to Provost Mangelsdorf. “We are very pleased that our outstanding graduate programs will be better able to offer more competitive funding packages to prospective graduate students with this increase.”

TA and PA stipends have grown 27.4 percent over a six-year period. Academic departments will receive permanent budget supplements to cover the new higher minimum stipend levels. Teaching assistants teach and lead discussion or lab sections, and project assistants serve in administrative roles across the university.

Vice Chancellor Heller stated, “We are happy to support this investment in our graduate assistants. They are essential members of our university community who help us achieve our educational and research mission. For UW–Madison to strengthen its standing as a preeminent university, we must be able to attract top-quality graduate students.”

Assistantships offer a variety of incentives to graduate students beyond stipends, including tuition remission and health insurance. Students gain skills through assistantship appointments, which may apply directly to their career goals or build broad, transferable skills in areas like communication, teamwork and leadership.

“Today’s announcement is important to the thousands of students who will benefit – but also because of the clear message it sends about how highly UW–Madison values graduate students,” said Karpus. “Please join me in thanking the senior leadership for this important investment in graduate education.”

The new minimum rates for 50 percent graduate assistantship appointments for 2018-19 will be:

Teaching assistantship
Academic: $18,350

Project assistantship
Academic: $18,350
Annual: $22,427

Research assistantship
Academic: $18,350
Annual: $22,427

PA grader/reader
Hourly rate: $17.36

New stipend rates go into effect July 1 for annual and August 20 for academic-year appointments.