The company I work for is funding a project led by a professor at an engineering department in a US university. I was recently accepted by the university and they offered me a departmental fellowship for my first semester with subsequent semesters being funded by the advisor's grant money (which includes a stipend and full tuition). Also, my employer put me on a scholarship that covers my tuition and a very low stipend for the duration of the PhD even though they are also paying the advisor grant money for the project. I am currently in my first year in the PhD program working under the advisor on the project. I realized that the stipend I receive from my employer's scholarship is barely enough to pay for the rent and all the other students working on the same project are being paid an RA departmental standard stipend which is double that of my scholarship stipend. I brought this up indirectly to my advisor in the hopes that he will offer me an RA that at least augment my scholarship stipend to a livable wage similar to my peers (which is the department's policy) however he would give me vague answers and then complains that my company still hasn't paid their grant installment for this year/or how other students are having a hard time finding affordable housing..etc. I just feel like I am being treated like a bargaining chip, even though I am a student and bringing outside money that pays my tuition in full and half the departmental standard stipend. Should I be upfront with my advisor and ask/email him to augment my stipend and hire me as an RA just like my peers who are working on the same project? What if he refuses? To whom should I talk? I don't want to take out loans to compensate for the low stipend since I live in a high cost of living area.
I also checked the grant contract written by my company, it mentions no restriction in me receiving a stipend. I don't want to bring this up to my company management and make things sour between me and my advisor since we get along well and his advising style checks all my preferences.
Edit: The admission letter that I signed and accepted states the following:
"in view of your superior academic achievement and credentials, the **** Engineering department is pleased to offer you financial support for your graduate studies, contingent upon continued satisfactory academic performance. Our standard support package includes a minimum annual stipend of $*** (double my current stipend) plus the payment of tuition and fees, including the graduate student health insurance plan."
Then the letter goes on say that" the department supports students for the first semester ,followed by support in the form of a Research Assistantship from the contracts/grants of the student’s advisor."