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Northwestern University Bienen School of Music Admin, Match TGS stipend increase

This petition had 350 supporters

On May 27th 2015, an article published on Northwestern University’s website details a stipend increase for students enrolled in the University’s Graduate School (TGS) this Fall. A considerable increase, TGS stipends will be raised to $29,000 a year from the current $22,992. While this seems to be good news, this increase will not be extended to the graduate students of the Bienen School of Music. As music students we find this news very disheartening. On average, Bienen School of Music graduate stipends are approximately $6,750, an amount that is in no way substantial enough to cover even the most basic living expenses. This inequality has compelled many Bienen graduate students to enroll in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid, or have to rely on Unsubsidized Student Loans. This is all the more discouraging especially considering that Bienen School of Music Graduate students are responsible for the same duties as our TGS colleagues, i.e. assisting professors, and teaching undergraduate courses. Adding insult to injury, Bienen Graduate Students are systemically locked out of research grants and fellowships that the University provides the broader graduate student community. 

The aforementioned article states, “Graduate education is a key component of Northwestern’s research mission, and graduate students are critically important members of our community, who contribute great dynamism and creativity to our research and academic environment.” If this is the case, it would only make sense that this increase be available to all graduate students attending Northwestern. Are we at the Bienen School of Music not members of this community? We provide our time teaching and in research in the same capacity and our exclusion from the stipend increase is unacceptable. This issue should be addressed immediately so that all students at the university are provided the same support while in attendance. 


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