Question on graduate student funding
During the Nov. 29 webcast (view it here), Principal Heather Munroe-Blum fielded questions on a wide range of topics. She answered about 20 questions before time ran out, but you’ve asked us well over 100 questions, and we’re going to do our best to give you answers on this blog as quickly as we can.
Why did McGill decide to discontinue the usage of MIDA in order to attract international doctoral students to its research programs? Why was the decision made to allow the faculties control of this money, and not GPSO?
Increasing funding for graduate students has been an explicit high-level priority for the last 5 years. There has been a 22.6 % increase in total resources in financial support for graduate students from 2006-2007 to 2009-10, and a 27.1% increase in total Doctoral student support over the same period. A significant portion of these funds are directed specifically at international students, based on the realization that the province requires McGill to charge differential tuition fees for international students and that the federal government does not allow international students to apply for the vast majority of graduate student awards.
The McGill International Doctoral Award (MIDA) was designed to help overcome these inequities in funding. However, a reassessment of the GPS funding formula in 2009-2010 discovered that many faculty members felt that MIDA was too restrictive and mechanical: it lacked flexibility, was not integrated with other funding strategies, and made it difficult to recruit international Master’s students. Moreover, there were insufficient local resources to maintain the program over the long term.
In the new allocation formula, GPS provides more funding for international students overall than it provided for the MIDA program. The academic units who receive these allocations are working on ways to create a “level playing field” in recruitment.