A stipend is a fixed, regular payment made to an individual, often to cover living expenses or provide financial support during periods of education, training, or internships.
Updated: Jun 6, 2024

3 key takeaways

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  • Stipends provide financial support without the expectation of formal employment.
  • They are commonly used in educational settings, internships, and training programs.
  • Stipends are typically lower than salaries but help cover basic living expenses.

What is a stipend?

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A stipend is a fixed amount of money paid regularly to an individual, primarily to support them during periods of education, training, or internships. Unlike salaries, stipends are not linked to specific job duties or hours worked. Instead, they are intended to help recipients cover their living expenses while they pursue activities that often do not provide substantial direct income.

Characteristics of stipends

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Stipends have several distinctive features that differentiate them from regular salaries or wages:

  • Fixed payment: Stipends are usually paid at regular intervals (e.g., monthly) and are set at a fixed amount, regardless of the specific hours worked or tasks completed.
  • Purpose-specific: Stipends are often designated to cover specific expenses, such as housing, food, and transportation, rather than being payment for services rendered.
  • Tax implications: Depending on the country and specific circumstances, stipends may be subject to different tax treatments compared to salaries. In some cases, they may be tax-free up to a certain limit if used for educational purposes.

Example of a stipend

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Consider a graduate student who receives a stipend of $1,500 per month from their university. This stipend helps the student pay for rent, groceries, and other living expenses while they focus on their research and coursework. The stipend is not tied to specific job duties, allowing the student to concentrate on their academic pursuits.

Uses of stipends

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Stipends are used in various contexts to provide financial support:

  • Education: Graduate students, research assistants, and teaching assistants often receive stipends to support their studies and living expenses while they complete their academic programs.
  • Internships: Many internships, particularly in fields like non-profits, arts, and research, offer stipends to help interns cover their living costs while they gain practical experience.
  • Training programs: Trainees in professional development programs, apprenticeships, or residency programs in fields like medicine and law might receive stipends to support their training period.

Benefits and limitations of stipends

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Stipends offer several benefits, but they also come with limitations:


  • Financial support: Stipends provide essential financial support, enabling individuals to focus on their education or training without the immediate pressure to earn a full salary.
  • Flexibility: Recipients can use the funds to cover various living expenses, providing some financial flexibility.
  • Professional development: By receiving a stipend, individuals can participate in internships and training programs that enhance their skills and career prospects.


  • Lower income: Stipends are generally lower than full-time salaries, which may not be sufficient to cover all expenses, particularly in high-cost living areas.
  • Lack of benefits: Unlike salaried positions, stipends typically do not come with additional benefits such as health insurance, retirement contributions, or paid leave.
  • Temporary nature: Stipends are often limited to the duration of the education, internship, or training program, providing only temporary financial support.

Stipends play a crucial role in supporting individuals during periods of education, training, and internships. By providing financial assistance, stipends enable recipients to focus on their development and gain valuable experience without the immediate need for full-time employment. Understanding the nature and implications of stipends can help individuals make informed decisions about their financial and professional paths.


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Arti is a specialized AI Financial Assistant at Invezz, created to support the editorial team. He leverages both AI and the knowledge base, understands over 100,000... read more.