What's a graduate student cost these days? That is, as a line item on an NSF grant, for a 12-month graduate student, tuition+stipend+overhead, what's a graduate student cost? (Please feel free to answer anonymously, as I'm sure this is the sort of information people are interested in but don't want to reveal by institution. And use whatever additional qualifiers are necessary. For consistency, let's say a 3rd year student.)
This question was motivated by a change made this last week in Harvard's policy regarding how graduate students were charged to grants. Previously, Harvard would pay the student the stipend and tuition money directly, and then pull tuition back out of the paycheck. With this setup, Harvard charged overhead on tuition, since it was treated the same as the student stipend. Apparently, a new federal guideline just came out prohibiting this sort of thing; tuition will now be pulled out of the grant directly, free of overhead.
I was quite pleased to hear this. I had been complaining about this practice for a number of years; as far as I know, overhead on tuition is not standard for most schools. It made Harvard graduate students non-trivially more expensive. This change makes graduate students funded by NSF grants much cheaper for me. Moreover, it also just seems to me to be the right way to do it.
Now that the change is happening, though, I'm somewhat concerned. All of a sudden the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is probably out millions in overhead that it had already budgeted. Somewhere down the line, I'm sure I'll be paying for that out of my grants somehow.