Buchheit graduate student fund helps cover child care, emergency costs

Graduate architecture students from the Sam Fox School work with lecturer Matthew Bernstine (center) at the annual "Informal Cities" design charrette in 2022. Through the Buchheit Graduate Student Family Support Fund and other programs, Washington University is expanding support for graduate students. (Photo: Whitney Curtis/Washington University)

Washington University in St. Louis has launched a new initiative, the Buchheit Graduate Student Family Support Fund, to support graduate students with financial need who have dependents under their care, announced Chancellor Andrew D. Martin. 

“Raising a family while pursuing a degree takes hard work, unflagging stamina and, yes, financial resources,” said Chancellor Andrew D. Martin. “The Buchheit Graduate Student Family Support Fund will serve as another important resource for students with children so they can thrive academically and personally.” 

Alumna and Emerita Trustee Joyce Buchheit and her husband, Chauncy Buchheit, have  committed $100,000 annually for the next five years to the fund. Buchheit was a young mother herself while earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Olin Business School in the 1970s. 

Joyce Buchheit in Knight Hall

“When I started at the business school, there were not many women and very few mothers,” recalled Buchheit, who also recently funded, along with her husband, the university’s new Heartland Initiative.

“I chose Washington University because of the financial aid package I was offered,” she said. “I hope this fund will make a WashU education possible for other parents.” 

Graduate students may apply for funds through the Graduate Center. Funds may be used to cover expenses such as relocation, housing, child day care and other vital or emergency needs.

“I work closely with our graduate students on a day-to-day basis and understand that our graduate students with dependents under their care often bear additional expenses and face circumstances that can hamper their ability to thrive as members of our community,” said Vijay Ramani, vice provost for graduate education and international affairs. “The Buchheit Graduate Student Family Support Fund will help to support these students by providing us the flexibility to aid graduate students when they face exigent situations.”

The Buchheit Graduate Student Family Support Fund is just one of many new initiatives designed to support graduate and professional students. Other efforts include: 

Make Way: Our Student Initiative: Announced in October, Make Way is a $600 million fundraising initiative to support both undergraduate scholarships and graduate scholarships and fellowships and to provide a “best-in-class” experience for all students to learn, develop and flourish while on campus and beyond.

Gateway to Success: Unveiled in 2021, the Gateway to Success initiative includes $200 million in designated financial aid for graduate and professional students.

PhD stipends: Effective in 2023, the base 12-month PhD student stipend has been increased to $34,000 for every PhD program, with the exception of post-professional specialty programs in the medical school.

Day care subsidy: The child day care subsidy for PhD student families recently increased to $3,550 (one child) to $5,500 (three or more children) maximum per semester.

Revamped Graduate Center: Located in the Danforth University Center, the revamped Graduate Center offers a variety of professional development workshops, networking events and cohort-building activities for graduate and professional students in all schools. 

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