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A stipend is a regular fixed sum of money paid for services or to defray expenses, such as for scholarship, internship, or apprenticeship.[1] It is often distinct from an income or a salary because it does not necessarily represent payment for work performed; instead it represents a payment that enables somebody to be exempt partly or wholly from waged or salaried employment in order to undertake a role that is normally unpaid (e.g. a magistrate in the United Kingdom) or voluntary, or which cannot be measured in terms of a task (e.g. members of the clergy). [2][3]

Stipends are usually lower than what would be expected as a permanent salary for similar work. This is because the stipend is complemented by other benefits such as accreditation, instruction, food, and/or accommodation. Some graduate schools make stipend payments to help students have the time and funds to earn their academic degree (i.e. master's and doctoral degrees). Universities usually refer to money paid to graduate students as a stipend, rather than wages, to reflect complementary benefits.[4][5]


The UK government was committed to getting two million more girls into school in Pakistan by 2015. UK aid helped more than 590,000 girls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa stay in school by giving them small cash stipends.[6]

Stipends can be used to compensate interns at non-profits, however they are discouraged to be used for volunteers as this may require that they be reported as employees and therefore tax paid on the stipend. This type of stipend is temporary and normally lasts for less than a year.[7][8]

Church stipends[edit]

In some Catholic jurisdictions and parishes, a Mass Stipend is a payment made by members of the church, which is generally nominal, to a priest for saying a Mass, that is a Mass not done in his normal course of work.[9] It is considered simony to demand payment for a sacrament, and thus, stipends are seen as gifts.[10]

Stipend has a specific, different, use in the Church of England, meaning the salary of a stipendiary minister, one who receives payment directly from the diocese (as opposed to other forms of disbursement such as free use of a house in return for clerical duties, known as house-for-duty). A self-supporting minister (previously termed a non-stipendiary minister) is therefore one who is licensed to perform clerical duties but without receiving any kind of payment from the diocese — although non-stipendiary ministers often receive reimbursement of expenses incurred in pursuit of their duties, e.g. travel, postage, and telephone costs. Non-stipendiary ministers normally depend on secular employment or pensions for their income and are often unavailable for pastoral duties when they are fulfilling their obligations to their employer. A minister in secular employment, on the other hand, is a minister who exercises a significant ministry in and through their work. This is distinct from chaplaincy.[11][12][13][14]


Stipends have also been used to erode employee-employer relationship and to essentially hire junior teaching and research staff with lower pay and worse working conditions.[15]

See also[edit]