Minimum stipends for graduate assistants, fellows to remain the same in 2021-22

Due to budget challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s minimum stipend rates for graduate assistants and fellows will remain unchanged for the 2021-22 academic year.

Facing an anticipated $320 million in lower revenue and increased costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UW–Madison has taken steps to mitigate financial damage, including freezing salaries and most hiring across campus and implementing an employee furlough plan. Graduate assistants were exempt from intermittent furloughs in fall 2020 and will also be exempt from the second round of intermittent employee furloughs planned for spring 2021.

Graduate assistants already receive competitive stipend rates that are above the estimated peer median for the Association of American Universities (AAU), of which UW–Madison is a member. Graduate assistantship appointments – including teaching assistantships (TAs), research assistantships (RAs), project assistantships (PAs) and lecturer student assistantships (LSAs) – of 33.3% or higher also provide tuition remission for both resident and non-resident students as well as eligibility for many of the same high-quality benefits as faculty and staff, including health insurance. The university also implemented previously announced stipend increases over the summer.

In addition, individual graduate programs can choose to set their stipend rates above the university’s minimum rate to be competitive in their field. Programs will finalize their 2021-22 stipend rates in December to allow prospective graduate students to more easily compare offers between UW–Madison and other graduate schools.

Minimum stipend rates for 50% graduate assistantship appointments for the 2021-22 academic year remain:

Teaching assistantship
Academic: $20,500

Lecturer Student Assistant
Academic: $22,500

Project Assistantship
Academic: $20,500
Annual: $25,056

Research Assistantship
Academic: $20,304
Annual: $24,816

PA Grader/Reader
Hourly rate: $21.57

2021-22 rates for fellowships administered through the Graduate School will also remain unchanged from the previous academic year. Fellows with appointments lasting at least one semester are also eligible to receive university health insurance.

University Fellowship, Advanced Opportunity Fellowship, and Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowship
Annual: $28,000
Academic: $22,909