To Make Do, These Ph.D. Students Share Bills and a Bank Account

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D.L. Anderson for The Chronicle

Karim Wissa (far left), one of the founders of a graduate-student financial collective at Duke U., talks with other members. "It’s a better way to live your life," he says of sharing funds.

More than half a dozen Ph.D. students sat cross-legged in a circle on the grass here at Duke University last month, holding copies of their bank statements.

They had gathered to review their finances and to figure out how, together, they might pay for a plane ticket to Brazil for a fellow doctoral student whose dissertation is about a 19th-century writer from Rio de Janeiro.

They could cut expenses by eating out less, they said, and by shopping at Food Lion rather than Whole