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FAQ: Stipend Req for Interns and Postdoc Fellows

Frequently Asked Questions about APPIC's Stipend Requirement
for Interns and Postdoctoral Fellows

1. Why does APPIC require a stipend be paid to all interns and postdoctoral fellows?

The APPIC Board discussed this issue for a number of years before taking action. The Board wanted to strike a balance between maintaining the number of quality programs available for training while at the same time avoiding an undue burden on trainees by adding to their debtload. The APPIC Board was concerned with the number of new internships that did not pay a stipend and wanted a policy that reaffirmed the value of psychology trainees. A vote of the membership was required to change the APPIC membership criteria. In addition, APAGS endorsed this requirement and provided great support for the change.

2. What is APPIC expecting of programs?

Since the membership criteria change in 2006, APPIC no longer accepts NEW member programs unless they provide a stipend to trainees that is consistent with regional standards, equal among all trainees, and stated clearly in advance (through promotional materials, the APPIC Directory, etc.).

3. What does APPIC mean by "consistent with regional standards"?

APPIC expects that new programs that submit application materials for membership will provide data about how their stipend compares to other APPIC member programs in their region. For example, if the average for stipends paid by internships in Minnesota is $20,000, then most programs should be within this range. The Board understands the need to compare on the basis of geography, as the cost of living in New York City is significantly different from a program in Center City, Minnesota.

4. Given the example in #3, what standard is being used to determine what is really "consistent with regional standards"? Is $19,500 okay? Is $18,000? What about $17,500?

The answer to each of these questions is YES. However, any program with a stipend significantly below other training programs in the region will be asked to submit materials again in one year and will be evaluated for what steps have been taken to increase their stipend.

5. A "grandparenting provision" was part of the change in membership criteria. What does this mean?

A grandparenting provision was added so that current member programs in 2006, when the membership criteria change regarding stipends went into effect, continued as APPIC member programs, but were expected to take steps toward obtaining funding or increasing their stipend to meet regional standards. For example, a number of programs were successful to work with administration in their agency to find funding resources in order to provide intern stipends. Other programs have written grants to obtain training funds and APPIC strongly believes that a fair stipend is the right thing to do for our profession.

6. How is this monitored?

For new programs submitting application materials for the first time, they must have funding for a stipend. If they have a stipend but one that is relatively low compared to other programs in the region, they will be asked to re-submit materials in one year regarding action they have taken to increase the stipend in order to maintain membership. Current member programs that were already APPIC members in 2006 (at the time of the change in membership criteria) must submit materials every three years for renewal of membership. At the time of review, the APPIC Review Committee will insure that the stipend is appropriate. If the stipend is not appropriate, the Committee will ask for additional materials in one year in order to monitor progress and emphasize the importance of this criterion. Any time that APPIC learns about a low stipend, the Board will take the opportunity to review materials and challenge the program to work toward greater funding in order to insure continued APPIC membership. APPIC will require that renewal members provide APPIC with documentation of reasonable efforts to secure funding and describe plans to obtain future funding in order to meet this criterion.

7. What if programs must end their training program because of this stipend criterion?

APPIC understands the financial difficulties facing many programs across the country and is hesitant to lose quality member programs. However, we believe that the field benefits from raising the bar in this area. This criterion change primarily impacts NEW member programs who will be required to have a stipend in order to become APPIC members, while programs that were already members in 2006 were "grandparented" so that they maintain membership while held to the expectation that they continue efforts to obtain funding. APPIC offers a number of member benefits to help programs whenever possible, by connecting them to Mentors who can guide them with other possible funding streams; in addition, we work closely with national policy making and advocacy groups to increase national funding for Psychology Training (i.e., Graduate Psychology Education or GPE grants). We are hopeful that the stipend requirement will enhance the training field and raise the standards to be commensurate with other professions (e.g., medical interns and residents all earn stipends while completing their training). A number of programs have been successful with increasing their stipend following the change in membership criteria; anecdotally, a number of training directors have thanked APPIC for giving their administration the impetus needed to make a change that had not occurred despite years of effort by the training faculty.

8. What about different stipends amongst an intern cohort such as a consortium where different agencies come together under an umbrella organization to offer internship training but have different funding available for stipends? How discrepant can they be?

Programs have always been asked to provide full disclosure about this type of inequity in all promotional materials so that applicants know in advance the differences between programs within a consortium program. APPIC expects all of the stipends to be fair and reasonable compared to regional standards. These programs will be challenged to create equity across interns and to resubmit materials to document progress and steps taken if there is inequity.