Ph.D. students are pretty much expected to be low on cash.
After all, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average price of a year of graduate school at a public university is $US10,408, and at a private school is $US21,955. Considering that a Ph.D. program takes years to complete, that typically means shelling out a ton of cash and/or living on meager stipends, particularly in the underfunded humanities fields.
But nine students in North Carolina — eight from Duke University and one from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — have taken an unusual step to lessen the pain on their wallets: They’re sharing a bank account.
The Chronicle of Higher Education profiles the students, some of whom call themselves the “Duke Collective,” and explains that the group, made of literature and English students, pools their money for each member to access as needed.
The account includes funds from their stipends (about $US21,500 at Duke, or $US27,000 including a summer stipend, and $US15,200 in the case of UNC Chapel Hill), and from outside jobs, as well as tax refunds and even gifts from family members. There are no formal rules, and each member may contribute and withdraw as he or she would like.
The money is spent on everything from groceries to plane tickets to a car for group use, and one student tells the Chronicle that “it’s a better way to live your life.”
While combining money doesn’t create more, it allows each member to have peace of mind should sudden costs arise — although the group hasn’t discussed what would happen in the case of a major bill, like a medical emergency.
Without worrying about affording day-to-day living, the students explain, they can better concentrate on their studies and graduating quickly.