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2021 Cost of Living Survey Results

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A graduate student’s compensation package only partly describes the quality of life experienced by the graduate student during their tenure at Virginia Tech. VT offers competitive assistantship packages to prospective students, but considerable work needs to be done to see the effectiveness of these packages across all of Virginia Tech’s campuses where graduate education occurs. The Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) administered a survey to gauge what graduate students were paying to cover the basics every month and are providing some recommendations based on the results.

The Cost of Living Survey was administered by the GSA between February 5th, 2021 to March 13th, 2021. The survey was sent to students via the GLC weekly email, GSA delegate email lists (then forwarded to the respective constituents), and social media. We received approximately 1,100 responses to the survey. The topics that the survey asked were related to stipend information, income taxes, supplemental income, educational costs, rent/mortgage, utilities, childcare costs, groceries, parking/transportation, and health insurance. The full question set can be found in Appendix A.

We classified students as Blacksburg, Roanoke, or Greater Washington DC depending on their primary place of work/study. Expenses are reported as either 1) All VT students, 2) Blacksburg students, 3) Roanoke Students or 4) Greater Washington DC Students. The results from this survey indicate the minimum cost of living per (1) graduate student."