Graduate Student Finances Report
Graduate students and post-doctoral fellows are the foundation of research in Canada. The National Graduate Student Finance Survey was launched in 2021 by the Ottawa Science Policy Network (OSPN) to investigate the financial realities of Canadian graduate students. Closing in April 2022, the survey received 1,305 responses from students representing various geographical locations, levels of study, fields of education and ethnicities.
The results capture a snapshot into graduate student finances, including an in-depth analysis of stipends, scholarships, debt, tuition and living expenses across multiple demographics. In its entirety, this survey found that the majority of graduate students are facing significant financial concerns. This is largely due to stagnant funding for these students both through the federal and provincial granting agencies and within their institutions. This has wide-ranging implications for the future of science and research in Canada.
This reality is even more grave for international students, under-represented communities, and those with dependents, all of whom experience additional restrictions that impact their financial security. Based on these findings, we’ve proposed several recommendations to the Tri-council agencies and academic institutions for sustained improvement of graduate student finances in Canada.