Before you arrive at Stanford, there are several important facts you should be aware of. These include:
- Stanford graduate students do not receive their first paycheck until approximately the first month of their tenure at Stanford has passed, so you should be prepared to not receive pay during this period. Stanford also imposes the majority of its fees on your first paycheck, and as such it has the potential to be substantially lower than your other paychecks. Please contact a GSAC representative if you think this may be an issue for you and we can explore options to support you. These options include requesting a Graduate Cash Advance and using the StanfordCardPlan. You can also check out the Stanford Earth Diversity, Equity and Inclusion website for more general information on financial aid.
- Food on campus and in the communities around it can be quite expensive. A typical graduate student spends $2,130 on food-related expenses per quarter. Several options exist for feeding yourself more affordably, including Stanford’s pop-up pantry. You can read about this at our Food on Campus resource.
- A common and unfortunately factually based notion about the Bay Area is that it is often a very expensive place to live. Typical monthly rent rates on campus are about $1,624 per month for single graduate students, $2,320 for couples, and $2,651 for students with children (note that these calculations include housing options typically reserved for law and business students). Off-campus housing varies hugely in affordability, but is an option chosen by many students for various reasons. You can check out student-oriented housing platforms for more affordable options. These include SUPost and (for Facebook users) the Stanford Free & For Sale Facebook page.
- If you would prefer to pay your tuition and university fees in smaller, regular amounts rather than in a single lump sum, you can opt into payroll deductions, which allow you to deduct some amount of your regular paystubs to pay these fees. You can choose to deduct only certain types of fees, such as tuition, from your regular paystubs, or to deduct all fees. The deadline to sign up for payroll deductions for the fall quarter is October 15.
- If your hiring contract states that your tuition is covered (i.e. that you do not have to pay tuition out of pocket), it is important to know that the Stanford payment system operates in such a way that for a period of about 2 weeks at the start of each quarter, you will see a tuition bill listed as one of your itemized expenses that must be paid on the university bill. However, you do not have to pay this amount! After about 2 weeks, if your tuition is covered by your contract, this tuition item should be gone from your itemized university bill (or a negative amount of money exactly equal to the tuition amount will appear on your itemized bill) and you will not have to pay it. Please contact your departmental financial officer if you expect the tuition to be covered in your contract and it does not disappear from your bill after this period.
- Although the minimum number of units per quarter you are required to be registered for as a full-time student is 8 units, it is preferable for students to take 10 units per quarter since this allows for a speedier advancement of students to candidacy and TGR status. This is because of the minimum total unit requirements needed to advance to candidacy and apply for TGR status, respectively. You can consult your departments for information pertaining to candidacy requirements for your department.
- The Stanford Earth Diversity, Equity and Inclusion website hosts many resources for current students, including financial aid options, academic and support resources, information on reporting, and policies around, concerns and grievances, and more!
- Students with hidden or visible disabilities can ask for accommodations via the Diversity and Access office. The Office of Accessible Education is also a good resource.
It is really important that, as early as possible, you get on the same page as your advisor regarding both of your expectations for your time here. We’ve included below a few topics that might be good to bring up with them before or very soon after you formally start your studies here.
- Expectations for work hours and productivity (including how this may differ during quarters where you are taking one or more classes)
- Meeting frequency (advisor meetings, group meetings, etc.)
- Form and frequency of communications
- Expectations related to publications and authorship (what work you will need to put into a project to be deemed First Author, etc.)
- Expectations for documentation of work (lab notebook standards, standards for commenting code, etc.)
- Classes your advisors recommends you take, if any
For more information, you can check out VPGE's resources on advising expectations
VPGE New Students Gateway
Explore the Grad Gateway. Find the resources you need to begin your graduate career at Stanford. Check your school and degree program websites for important information, too.