UW–Madison increases minimum graduate assistant stipends by 14 percent for 2024-2025

Minimum stipend amounts for graduate student teaching, research, and project assistants will increase by 14% for the 2024-2025 academic year, as the first step in a multi-year graduate student support plan being developed in the coming months.

Over the past 10 years, campus investments in graduate assistant stipends have resulted in a 79% increase in the minimum stipend for teaching assistants (TAs), a 52% increase in the minimum stipend for annual research assistants (RAs), and a 76% increase in the minimum stipend for annual project assistants (PAs).

UW–Madison supports more than 6,200 graduate students through graduate assistantships, fellowships, and traineeships. This semester, 71% of doctoral students hold teaching, research, and project assistantships that qualify for tuition remission. Another 16% of doctoral students are fully funded through fellow and trainee appointments, which also qualify for tuition remission. Students who serve as graduate assistants are also eligible for many of the same high-quality benefits, such as health insurance, as other state employees and often at a discounted rate.

The recent increases in graduate assistant minimum stipends reflect similar trends at institutions across the nation and help UW­–Madison remain competitive for top applicants who receive multiple offers of admission. These applicants consider many factors when deciding where to enroll, including the funding package and stipend they will receive. In addition, many individual graduate programs set stipend rates above the minimum to respond to competitive factors within the discipline.

The 2024-2025 academic year minimum stipend rate setting process is the first step in a multi-year graduate student support plan that is currently being developed. The plan will forecast graduate student minimum stipends three years into the future on an ongoing basis and allow for faculty, programs, departments, and schools/colleges to plan accordingly; moreover, the plan will consider multiple aspects of graduate student support in addition to stipends. Over the next five months, the university will engage graduate students, faculty, staff, and institutional leadership to shape the plan and release the plan by March 15, 2024.

The new minimum stipend rates go into effect June 30, 2024, for annual appointments and August 19, 2024, for academic year appointments. Note that graduate student stipend increases are separate from the pay plan for Universities of Wisconsin employees awaiting approval by a legislative committee.

Rates listed here are based on a 50% appointment. This semester, 80% of TAs, 98% of RAs, and 84% of PAs have total appointment levels of 50% or higher.

Minimum stipend rates for 50% appointments in 2024-25 are:

Teaching Assistantship
Academic: $26,506

Lecturer Student Assistant
Academic: $29,068

Project Assistantship
Annual: $32,396
Academic: $26,506

Research Assistantship
Annual: $32,396
Academic: $26,506

The hourly rate for project assistant grader/reader positions and the minimum stipend rate for fellowships will also increase in 2024-25:

PA grader/reader
Hourly rate: $25.83

University Fellowship, Advanced Opportunity Fellowship and Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowship
Annual: $32,396
Academic: $26,506