Dear GSAS doctoral students:
I hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. I also hope you are holding up under the various pressures entailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. GSAS students have admirably risen to the challenges the crisis has posed, and I especially appreciate how effectively all of you have navigated the University’s sudden change in pedagogic mode—not only in the courses in which you are enrolled, but also in those you are teaching. It is inspiring to watch our community persevere in these times.
We in GSAS are keenly aware that the coronavirus outbreak has seriously disrupted doctoral students’ research activity. We have been working to mitigate that disruption ever since it began, and I am writing now to inform you of the plan we have devised to offer some form of extended financial support to all MacCracken Fellowship recipients still within the funding terms outlined in our letter of admission. Working in partnership with our various PhD-granting departments, we will provide some current MacCracken Fellows with funding extensions—i.e., extended stipend payments—of up to one year. MacCracken recipients who are not offered funding extensions will be granted extensions to waivers of NYU student health insurance premiums, maintenance of matriculation fees, and registration and services fees. The protocols for both types of extension are detailed below.
Each individual department will determine which of its doctoral students will receive funding extensions, based on the degree to which their ability to fulfill program requirements has been hindered by the pandemic. In accordance with principles established by the Graduate School, funding extensions will be available only to MacCracken Fellows whose award terms have not yet ended as of Spring 2020. In general, extensions will be granted uniformly to all the members of a class cohort identified by a department as requiring them—e.g., to all current third-year students, or to all current fifth-year students—though there may be exceptions in this regard for some departments. Students designated for extensions will receive their additional funding at the end of their regular award terms. For example, a student who is in the third year of a five-year MacCracken term in 2020-21 will receive the extension funding in year six, 2023-24, if still enrolled.
While a department may designate for funding extensions as many of its current MacCracken Fellows as it deems appropriate, the size of its incoming PhD classes in future years will almost inevitably be reduced in corresponding measure, as support for new and continuing students alike is drawn from the same limited MacCracken budget. Each department will also be required to put a portion of its 2021-22 MacCracken allotment into a contingency fund from which it will, if necessary, disburse monies to doctoral students confronted with unforeseen pandemic-related emergency expenses in the next few years. This contingency fund allocation will somewhat intensify the need to reduce the size of future PhD cohorts.
As you know, the MacCracken Fellowship Program normally provides waivers of maintenance of matriculation fees, registration and services fees, and NYU student health insurance premiums for two years immediately following the end of the MacCracken award term for students who have not yet completed the degree. GSAS will extend those waivers by up to one additional year for MacCracken recipients whose award terms ended with either AY2017-18 or AY2018-19, and for current MacCracken Fellows who are not designated by their departments to receive funding extensions.
Early this month, GSAS will begin consulting with departments about their plans for providing funding extensions to current PhD students, who should expect to learn by mid-June how those plans will affect them. Meanwhile, I want to emphasize how sensitive the Graduate School is to the stresses faced by all of our students as a result of the pandemic. While we are positioned to help primarily with those that are academic in nature—and then only within the limits of our budgetary capacity—I encourage all of you to avail yourselves of the resources provided by other offices at the University, including the Student Health Center and the Wellness Exchange. A full summary of those resources is provided on NYU’s Coronavirus Information Page.
I will be happy to address any questions you may have about the information provided here—and again, I hope you and your loved ones are well. Please take care of yourselves, and of one another.