Enhancements to PhD Benefits

May 09, 2016

Dear Ph.D. Students,

Since last fall, Dean Carlos Alonso (GSAS) and I have met separately on a number of occasions with the Graduate Student Advisory Council and Ph.D. students from across the university. These students have conveyed to me their concern about the differences in the support they receive from school to school.

As a result of close work with the deans of all schools that have Ph.D. programs, I am pleased to announce several steps toward achieving a uniform set of benefits for all Ph.D. students who are eligible for funding throughout Columbia. Beginning in fall 2016, the following will be available to all such students:

Students who give birth, adopt, or become legal guardians or foster parents, as well as students whose spouse or partner gives birth, can have responsibilities associated with their doctoral program suspended for twelve calendar weeks without loss of funding.  In addition, students may elect to take a semester of unpaid accommodation after their paid leave concludes. 

Students may receive one $2,000 subsidy per year for each child who is: 1) under the age of five, and 2) not attending kindergarten. If both parents are Ph.D. students eligible for funding at Columbia, each of them may apply individually for the child-care subsidy.

International Ph.D. students will have their ISSO fees covered by their school.

Students who are not on appointment will receive an upgrade of their printing fee at no cost (students on appointment already receive the upgrade). 

Details on these policies, and how to apply for them, will be forthcoming from your School.

As an institution, Columbia seeks to provide competitive benefits to recruit and retain the very best Ph.D. students. These enhancements build on last year’s expansion of family-friendly initiatives and resources for fully-funded doctoral students in the Arts and Sciences. The extension of these benefits to all schools is the result of continuing collaboration and conversation with our graduate student councils and groups, including the Graduate Student Advisory Council, the Engineering Graduate Student Council, and the International and Public Affairs Student Association, the deans of each school, and the faculty directors of our doctoral programs.

We remain committed to a continuing dialogue with you to enhance the overall experience of our graduate students.

Best wishes for the remainder of the semester.


John H. Coatsworth