The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

President of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly Robert Watson (left) and Penn President Liz Magill (right). Credit: Jesse Zhang

Penn leads in faculty and presidential pay among Ivy League universities but lags behind in Ph.D. student stipends, according to an analysis by The Daily Pennsylvanian.

The analysis found that the pay gap between Penn graduate students who receive stipends and the University's president was the highest among all Ivy League schools and Philadelphia area universities. Penn’s average Ph.D. student stipend is 1.23% of its president’s salary, while the Ivy League’s average graduate student stipend is 2.53% of the average president’s salary. On average, graduate student stipends among other Philadelphia universities is 3.58% of the president’s salary. 

"The University has always been committed to providing competitive salaries, and compensation for all classes of employees is evaluated regularly relative to peer institutions and the general marketplace," Penn spokesperson Ron Ozio wrote in a statement to the DP.

Penn Ph.D. stipends have largest disparity with the president's salary in Ivy League

The DP used publicly available data from University tax forms for the most recent publicly available fiscal year, as well as job-searching sites such as Glassdoor, to find the average pay for graduate students who receive stipends — such as Ph.D. students — and tenure-track faculty of all Ivy League schools and Philadelphia area universities. 

The analysis also used recent tax forms to find the salary of the president or equivalent chief executive at each university. Penn's most recent public tax forms represented salaries for the fiscal year 2021, which included United States Ambassador to Germany Amy Gutmann's last full year as Penn's president.

Penn’s graduate stipend for Ph.D. students is slightly less than the Ivy League’s average minimum stipend of $39,226 and the third lowest among the universities examined. The highest minimum stipend was at Princeton University, whose stipend for graduate students is $47,880 per year. 

Penn's average Ph.D. stipend is just below Ivy League's average pay for graduate students

Robert Watson, a third year student at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and the president of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, said that while the university’s stipend — which was recently raised by 24% — was roughly on par with other Ivies, Penn was “the only Ivy League [that plans] to not have university graduate student housing.”

“I think there definitely could be more financial resources devoted to tackling the cost of attendance for graduate students because that [cost] continues to rise,” Watson said, referring to rising inflation rates.

Compared to Philadelphia universities such as Temple University, Drexel University, and Saint Joseph’s University, Penn’s minimum and average graduate stipends for Ph.D. students were the highest. 

Penn's minimum, average Ph.D. student stipends are highest compared to local universities

Despite this, Penn's pay disparity between graduate students who receive stipends and tenure-track professors is the lowest among Philadelphia-area schools. The average Ph.D. student makes 19.1% of the average tenure-track faculty’s salary — the third-largest gap in the Ivy League.

Penn Ph.D. students make least compared to faculty among Philadelphia area schools

Penn faculty, on the other hand, were some of the best-compensated among the Ivy League, with University faculty receiving an average salary of $217,311. With this, Penn’s tenured professors were better compensated than all but two Ivy League schools. The University’s average faculty salary also outpaced that of other local universities, with Temple, Drexel, and St. Joseph’s averaging $144,388. 

Penn's average faculty salary is the third-highest among Ivy League universities

When asked about Penn’s faculty salary, Graduate School of Education professor Jonathan Zimmerman told the DP that while “elite privates pay much better” than other universities, faculty salaries depend almost entirely on research production. According to data collected by The Nature Index, Penn ranked third in the Ivy League in terms of research production.

Penn’s presidential salary also surpasses its peers. Penn’s chief executive received the highest compensation in the Ivy League in the fiscal year 2021, with then-president Gutmann being paid just under $3.4 million. 

Penn's presidential salary is the highest among all Ivy League presidents as of 2021