Proposals for Financial Support for Graduate Students impacted by the COVD19 Pandemic 

As the University of Iowa continues to adjust to COVID19 pandemic, graduate students continue to serve an important role in the delivery of undergraduate instruction and the conduct of research enterprise. Like all of us, graduate students are impacted by the constraints imposed by the quarantine and social isolation. During this crisis, the Graduate College has become aware of several areas of concern regarding financial support for graduate students. 

1). Students who have planned to graduate in May or August 2020, are now considering delays in completion of their degrees. This sentiment is largely due to the uncertain employment situation in academic and non-academic environments. 

Currently the Graduate College does not seek funding for students who wish to delay their graduation due to anxiety in the postgraduation employment situation. The University cannot be a safety net for these students, unfortunately.

2). Students currently holding academic year appointments (AY) and who plan to return to these appointments in the fall, 2020 have no support during the summer due to:

      a) previously accepted GA positions or other university related positions have been terminated due to disruptions in university activities

      b) the loss of non-academic employment related opportunities

Summer funding in 2020 for each student on AY appointments who are returning to fall appointments is estimated at $4,100.

  • estimate based on $3,000 fellowship (two months stipend) + $321 FB (@10.7%) + 1 sh tuition/fees of $763 = $4,100

In regards to 2a. above, on a case by case basis, the Graduate College has reviewed and approved ~ 10 requests thus far.

Proposal for support of AY appointed students; situation (2b) from above:

Proposed support for approximately 150 students*  total costs = $615,000

  • estimate based on 2019 summer appointments of 281 RAs and 120 TAs

3). The COVID pandemic has caused a severe disruption in research and scholarly activities and has and will continue to impact the academic progression of thesis and dissertation students. While all doctoral students have been impacted by the pandemic crisis, the focus of the Graduate College for developing a funding plan has been students in post-comprehensive (PC) status. Currently there are approximately 1100 PC students. 

Proposal for 1 year extension of PhD program due to COVID-19 impacts on research/scholarship.

# Years PC

Cost per student*

# PC Students

Projected costs



~ 60

~ $ 2.00 M



~ 150

~ $ 4.72 M



~ 290

~ $ 9.10 M



~ 550

~ $17.30 M

*  cost per student= avg FY stipend $25,000 + FB (@ 22.2% for GA) + 1 sh tuition and fee assessment = $31,500 (FB and tuition/fees based on current costs)


Costs could be revised if average stipend levels were adjusted, or if stipend was offered as fellowship (would also reduce FB rates)

  • the proposal does not take into account individual PIs, programs or colleges offering support; nor does it take into account any potential additional support provided by Federal agencies. 
  • the need for COVD related extensions will be a 3-year effort. 
  • Since some, but not all 4+ postcomp students would seek/need immediate additional support, we assume ~80 students would be supported in Year 1 of a 3 year plan.

Thus, the proposed plan is to support 80 students per year for 3 years: 80 x $31,500 = ~$2.5 M/year for 3 years.

Of the two proposals listed above, the Graduate College would prioritize proposal 3 (1 year extension) followed by 2b. (summer funding).