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A stipend is a form of payment that is given to individuals in place of salary or wage. It is generally only intended to cover living expenses, and is often given to people who are participating in an internship, apprenticeship, graduate work, or a fellowship, just to name a few. A stipend is typically a fairly low wage, and is typically not based on hourly work, but rather on a prearranged set of factors regarding the type and amount of work that should be completed in a period of time.
When someone is doing work for a graduate program or in an internship, for example, a monetary stipend may be given to allow the individual to devote the necessary time for this work without needing to find an additional job. A stipend will also typically come along with other benefits that make it acceptable to take a lower wage. These benefits might include living arrangements, a certain number of meals per day, college credit, or additional knowledge and work experience gained in a specific field that can be beneficial to add to a resume.
A stipend may also be paid out on a less frequent basis than a regular paycheck; often, stipends are given once per month, or even as a lump sum once per semester. For this reason, it is important for people who are receiving stipends to be careful with managing the money, and to be sure it lasts for the entire period of time for which it is intended. In addition, this method of payment is typically only used for people who will be working for a brief period of time, such as for one semester, six months or a year, though of course the exact period of time can vary. It is not mean to be a long term payment solution, except in some cases for clergy members.
A stipend may be given by non-profit organizations to workers as well, though many of these people are simply volunteers. A stipend is usually a guaranteed sum for as long as the individual has the apprenticeship or internship, as long as he or she is completing the work as agreed. Again, it is not often based on actual hours worked, but rather on the requirements set forth needed to complete the work within a certain period of time. If this work is completed, then it is reasonable to assume that the intern put in a the acceptable amount of hours in order to receive the stipend.