US: Graduate students pay and benefits vary widely

When it comes to the financial packages that graduate students receive to pursue their degrees, the devil is in the details. A survey by the Chronicle of Higher Education, conducted in recent months, of the pay and benefits of teaching and research assistants at more than 100 research institutions reveals a dizzying array of variables that students must compare.

Some institutions cover 100% of graduate students' tuition, while others waive only a portion. It is possible to get health insurance paid in full - 42% of institutions that responded to the survey do just that - but coverage for family members is harder to come by.

The data collected by The Chronicle, though not comprehensive, provide a snapshot of what graduate students are earning in six fields this academic year. Comparisons among stipends are difficult because every institution has its own way of handling a financial package. Still, it is safe to say that while graduate students are hardly living the high life, some of them (science students) are less poor than others (English, history, and sociology students).
Full report on The Chronicle site