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Spring 2003
The Challenge
Going After the Best
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Spring 2003
Going After the Best
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In general, competitors were able to offer net stipends (the amount of money awarded after all tuition and fees have been paid) that were $2,287-per-year larger than UCLA’s package. Adjusted for relative cost of living, the difference was $4,790. Among the students in this study, the greater the discrepancies, the more likely they were to decline admission to UCLA. Further, 72 percent of the students were offered multiyear award packages by our competitor institutions, while UCLA was able to make such offers to only 59 percent. Of the 25 percent of students who ranked affordable housing among the top three reasons for their decision, only 2 percent chose UCLA.

Another recent study by UCOP showed that the net stipend provided to UCLA’s current doctoral students is one of the lowest in the UC system; UCLA ranks even lower after cost-of-living adjustments. Student support at UCLA varies by discipline, and problems related to inadequate funding may be more critical in some areas of campus — the social sciences, arts and humanities, for example, and selected programs in the physical sciences and professional schools.

The seriousness of the issue extends beyond our ability to recruit the best graduate students. It affects the campus as a whole because the excellence of graduate education is a crucial factor in attracting and retaining the best faculty. At its best, the faculty/student relationship is symbiotic, and exceptional graduate students are not simply consumers of knowledge but active participants in advancing scholarship, research and the curricular mission of their discipline. They choose UCLA to work with the most creative and productive faculty, and the most creative and productive faculty choose UCLA to work with outstanding graduate students.

To ensure the continuing excellence of our university, we must persist in seeking new and creative ways to attract these very best students to UCLA.

Jim Turner is assistant vice chancellor for the Graduate Division.

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