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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Vanderbilt summer research programs increase stipends by up to $2,000

Stipends across numerous programs were raised due to increasing housing costs in the Nashville area, among other factors.
Tasfia Alam
Medical Research Building III, as photographed on Oct. 4, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Tasfia Alam)

Vanderbilt’s summer research programs have increased student stipends by as much as $2,000 for their 2024 cycles. Starting at $5,000, the largest increases were the Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (VINSE) and Vanderbilt Undergraduate Summer Research Program’s (VUSRP) raises to $7,000 and $6,000, respectively. 

Other programs, including the Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy’s consortium, STEM Transition and Retention and NIH Maximizing Access to Research Careers, have similarly increased their stipends in recent years. MARC raised its stipend from $5,000 to $6,000 for Summer 2022, and some programs now cover housing, travel expenses and conference attendance in addition to providing higher stipends.

The Office of Experiential Learning and Immersion Vanderbilt — which oversees VUSRP — attributed its stipend increase to Discovery Vanderbilt and Vanderbilt’s emphasis on research as a “Research 1” institute. 

“Students are vital to the social impact research can have on the community,” a representative of the Office of EL&IV said. “Not only has the stipend amount increased, but we are pleased to offer more awards year after year as endowments grow.”

Kathy Friedman, associate provost for undergraduate research who coordinates the START and MARC programs, added that stipends were increased due to rising cost of living in Nashville. She said she also worked with the Office of Conferences and Events to develop reduced-cost on-campus housing for students with demonstrated financial need participating in Vanderbilt research programs. Starting this summer, some programs will provide an option for on-campus housing costs to be deducted from the $6,000 stipend. 

“This arrangement eliminates the requirement for students to pay for housing up-front,” Friedman said. “In the past, payment for housing has been required at an earlier date than when students receive their summer stipend.”

The number of faculty stipends — $1,800 per student — awarded has also increased in recent years. In 2022, when stipends to faculty were first awarded, only a fraction participating faculty received stipends. Last year, the Office of the Provost provided support and recognition for all faculty mentors of VUSRP. This support is expected to continue through 2024.

Junior Lauren Link, a summer 2022 VUSRP participant, explained that living in Nashville with $5,000 is difficult but possible. 

“Rent is definitely expensive, but if you’re frugal you can make it work,” Link said. “I think it’s great they are increasing it to $6,000 with inflation because it will give more people the opportunity to do research this summer.”

Junior Jake Kubina, a summer 2023 VUSRP participant, said that although $5,000 was enough to cover housing and food, he didn’t have any money left over at the end of the summer. 

“Increasing the stipend from $5,000 to $6,000 will provide students with less budgeting stress during their summer and allow them to complete the experience with a few hundred dollars left over,” Kubina said. “It will allow students to put greater focus on their experiences instead of their finances.”

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About the Contributors
Swarada Kulkarni
Swarada Kulkarni, Staff Writer
Swarada Kulkarni (‘27) is majoring in neuroscience in the College of Arts and Science. Outside of writing for The Hustler, she enjoys singing, reading books and exploring new restaurants with her friends. She can be reached at [email protected].
Brina Ratangee
Brina Ratangee, Editorial Director
Brina Ratangee ('24) is a student in the College of Arts and Science majoring in medicine, health & society and neuroscience. She previously served as News Editor. When not writing for The Hustler, she enjoys trivia nights, solving NYT crosswords and biking around Nashville. You can reach her at [email protected].
Tasfia Alam
Tasfia Alam, Multimedia Copy Editor
Tasfia Alam (‘25) is from Los Angeles and is majoring in neuroscience and political science in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, she can be found obsessing over a new book, trying to expand her music taste or taking pictures of pretty sunsets. You can reach her at [email protected]
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