DEFINITION of 'Stipend'

A stipend is a predetermined amount of money that is provided periodically to help offset expenses. Stipends are often provided to those who are ineligible to receive a regular salary in exchange for the duties they perform, such as interns. A stipend is generally lower than a salary would be, but the recipient is at the same time able to gain experience and knowledge in a specific field.


A stipend allows an individual to pursue work that is normally unpaid by helping defray living expenses. Interns, apprentices, fellows and clergy are common recipients of stipends. Rather than being paid for their services, they are provided with stipends to provide financial support while engaged in the service or task. Often, a stipend is accompanied by other benefits, such as higher education and room and board.

Types of Stipends

Stipends may be offered to researchers at academic institutions or other organizations in order to aid them in focusing on their projects. Much like grants, these stipends may be furnished by third-parties who wish to see a particular study or form of research advance further without fiscal distractions that might otherwise hamper the researcher. Foundations and comparable entities might also offer stipends on similar terms, to support the work of researchers and the projects they are developing.

For example, the National Endowment for the Humanities offers grants in the form of stipends to support individuals conducting advance research that may be of interest to the general public or scholars. The types of research projects eligible to receive such a stipend, can include books, translations, articles, digital publications, or site reports on archeologic digs. Criteria to receive such a stipend from the organization includes ensuring the project does more than collect data. Analysis and interpretation of the gathered information must be included.

Stipends might also be offered to cover very specific types of costs and expenses. For instance, students could receive a stipend that must be used towards the purchase or lease of computers during academic semesters. Health insurance stipends might be offered by employers to their workers in the form of extra money added to their paycheck to help them with health insurance costs. An employer might also offer stipends for employees to cover gym memberships as part of a wellness program, or an education stipend for those who wish to take additional training and classes that may assist them with their jobs and career development.

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