Some Ph.D. workers at Binghamton University will get a raise next year
UPDATE 4/4 3:49 PM — This story has been updated to reflect information provided by a university spokesperson.
Over the weekend, some graduate student workers at Binghamton University learned they’d be getting a pay raise next academic year.
Starting in fall 2023, the minimum pay for some doctoral student workers will increase from $17,000 to $21,000 per academic year according to a statement from the university. Those who currently earn more than $21,000 will get an extra $1,000.
According to an email obtained by WSKG, university provost Donald Hall said it is the first such increase in at least six years.
“With the increase in inflation, we’re pleased to take this step and plan to review stipends regularly in the future for competitiveness in recruiting and cost-of-living standards to ensure doctoral students are treated equitably,” Hall said in a statement.
The move also comes ahead of scheduled labor contract re-negotiations this summer.
Ph.D. student Maggie Logan works as a teaching assistant in the anthropology department. She currently makes under $18,000 per academic year and is one of the roughly 830 graduate students who will receive a raise next year.
"Everyone I've spoken to in my department is happy we're getting a raise," Logan said. "But it's so tempered by the fact that we have friends that are getting totally, like left out of this."
The increases do not apply to teaching or research assistants who are seeking master’s degrees, or Ph.D. students whose positions aren't fully funded by the university.
Minimum stipends for those workers will remain at $10,779 per academic year, assuming they work 20 hours a week.
For doctoral students whose stipends come from outside grants, Hall asked their supervisors to "budget these increases accordingly as their budget processes allow."
For months, student workers have called for stipends that better reflect the cost of living in Broome County, sometimes referred to as a living wage. For a single adult with no children, that's about $31,896 per year before taxes, according to MIT's Living Wage Calculator.
Even with raises, the minimum stipends still fall short of a living wage, union leaders said. Graduate student workers generally work about 20 hours a week, in addition to regular coursework and thesis work. The university restricts most graduate students from seeking additional employment.
Doctoral Grad workers at Binghamton University have won stipend increases starting fall 2023! While this is fantastic news, we have to acknowledge the quarter of our membership in non-doctoral programs have once again been neglected by administration. pic.twitter.com/kraMIjRJUc— GSEU Binghamton (@GSEU_Bing) April 2, 2023
The raises will cost the university about $1.5 million next year, per a university statement.
In an email obtained by WSKG, BU provost Donald Hall told union leaders the funds will come from the university’s “internal resources” and not from SUNY.
You can read the full statement from Binghamton University here. The statement from the Binghamton's Graduate Student Employees Union is available here.