2022 Stipend Survey Results

Survey Objectives

On Monday, November 14th, 2022, SAC released a survey to assess how on-going inflation has continued to impact DBBS students. The survey addressed past and current costs of living, ability to save, financial stress and/or stability, and whether the recent (July 2022) stipend increase has continued to be effective. Responses from 275 students were analyzed.

Major Takeaways of Survey Results

  • The continued, historically high inflation in the costs of basic expenses, such as rent, gas, and groceries, has again had significant financial impact on DBBS students.
  • Respondents noted the lack of affordable housing options near campus, an on-going reduction in their ability to save compared to previous years, and increased cost of living as factors that drive financial insecurity.
  • DBBS students report increased financial stress from the lack of a safety net, which has negatively affected the mental health of many students. 
  • A PowerPoint of the survey results with more extensive analyses is available in Box
  • In response to the survey results and other factors, DBBS Administration has increased the stipend for FY 2023-2024 to $37,000.

Brief Summary of Results

Similar to the results of our 2021 cost of living survey, the majority of DBBS students (>80%) rent their residence in neighborhoods in close proximity to campus (Central West End, 54%; Debaliviere, 8%; etc.) with an average increase in rent reported to be ~$125 per month. Over 75% of students reported Proximity to Campus playing a moderately to extremely important role in their decision of where to live. 

When asked whether costs associated with other factors including utilities and transportation have changed as well, 67% and 69% of students reported an increase, respectively. Additionally, 90% of students report feeling impacted by additional increase in inflation in costs of living related to groceries, childcare, and recreation. 

Overall, the on-going high inflation has continued to negatively impact student well-being. 90% of students shared that their ability to save in the past year has decreased, compared to ~75% in the 2021 survey. When asked about financial stress, 84% of respondents report an increase in financial stress, with 15% reporting the same amount of financial stress as the previous year. 

Lastly, when asked how the last stipend increase did/did not help address the increased cost of living, the majority of students reported that, while it did help initially, increased cost of living soon outgrew the increased stipend. 

SAC’s Actions

SAC leadership presented preliminary results with Interim Dean Steve Mennerick and DBBS executive director Cami Spampani after 190 survey responses were recorded for their discussion at Executive Faculty meeting. Furthermore, we helped create a spreadsheet detailing stipend adjustments and estimated living wage at peer institutions. On December 6th, 2022, we presented a summary of survey results to the DBBS Executive Council, which included Interim Dean Mennerick, MSTP Director Wayne Yokoyama, and members of various programs and departments affiliated with DBBS. The Council was very supportive of advocating on behalf of students.

On January 11th, 2023, DBBS announced a stipend increase for FY 2023-2024 to $37,000. 

If you are interested in joining SAC or sharing your thoughts about this effort, email us at sac@wustl.edu

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