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MFA Financial Support

Updated August 2018

MFA in Writing students are eligible for financial support if they study fulltime, maintain good academic standing and make timely progress toward the degree. 

New students receive a letter of support upon admission. The letter describes the type of funding the student can expect and what they must do to secure it. Most support offers are based on a 9-month teaching assistantship that the student must apply for each year.

The program strives to fully fund all students. This includes international students provided they meet the English language certification requirement for teaching assistants. Generally 'full funding' means the student receives sufficient support to cover the regular tuition and fees. All MFA students have received full funding or better since the program launched in 2009.

Currently, our benchmark for full funding is a 9-month appointment as a teaching assistant at 50% time (more on this below). We surpass our benchmark most years by supplementing TAships with stipends and scholarships.

Academic Student Employment

Teaching Assistantships

Most MFA students fund their programs by applying for and obtaining 9-month TA appointments at 50% time (~20 hours/week) with UCSD's six college writing programs or academic departments. Currently most of our students teach for the Sixth College/Culture, Arts and Technology writing program.

TAs attend course lectures, grade papers and examinations, meet with the supervising professor to discuss the progress of the course, conduct discussion sections, hold office hours, and do other teaching-related tasks.

TAs employed at 25-50% time during the academic year receive student health insurance and tuition/fee remissions as described in the chart below. TAs also receive teaching apprentice training, academic credit, and a salary (currently $20,653 for a 50% TAship).

Tuition/Fee Remissions  – 50% TAship for 9-Month Academic Year 
FEES & REMISSIONS FALL WINTER SPRING TOTALS
    Regular Tuition & Fees 5,803 5,803 5,803 17,006
    Less: TA Tuition/Fee Remissions -4,190 -4,190 -4,190 -12,570
    Less: TA Health Insurance Remission -1,203 -1,203 -1,203 -3,609
BALANCE PAID BY STUDENT $276 $276 $276 $828
Remissions don't apply to nonresident supplemental tuition (see MFA Scholarships below). Figures subject to change. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Readerships

Students who don't want to teach can apply for readerships to fund their programs. Readers grade student work but don't conduct discussion sections.

Readers employed at least 25% time (~10 hours/week) during the quarter receive the same fee remissions of the regular tuition/fees as TAs, plus a salary of approximately $16 per hour. Most reader positions are at 15-20% time but students can combine multiple positions to attain 25% employment and be eligible for fee remissions.

Readerships do not offer teaching apprenticeship credit. Students may petition to substitute Literature seminar credit for the teaching apprenticeship credit required for the MFA degree.

MFA Program Scholarships and Stipends

Tuition Scholarships

The MFA Program may offer scholarships to help nonresidents pay up to 100% of the supplemental tuition. Nonresident tuition scholarships are for 1 year for domestic students and 2-3 years for international students who are not eligible to establish California residency for tuition purposes. (Refer to Costs of Attendance for information about supplemental nonresident tuition.)

The program may also offer scholarships to help students pay the balance of regular tuition/fees not covered by TA/reader fee remissions (approximately $825).

All eligible students are considered for MFA Program scholarships; no application is required. Award decisions are made by the MFA admissions committee or program director at their discretion.

Fellowship Stipends

The MFA Program may offer stipends to supplement students' TAships or other primary funding. Stipend awards may have a stipulation that the student complete a research project that benefits the program or department as well as the student.

All eligible students are automatically considered for available stipends; no application is required. Award decisions are made by the MFA admissions committee or program director at their discretion.

UCSD Fellowships

San Diego Fellowship

UC San Diego offers a limited number of San Diego Fellowships as a means to increase campus diversity. Applicants for the fellowship must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or AB 540-qualified. Only new incoming students are eligible.

Award Information

MFA students selected as fellows receive a $20,000 per year stipend for the first two years of their program, full coverage of tuition and fees for the first year (including nonresident supplemental tuition, if applicable), and coverage of all resident tuition and fees for the second year. The student must establish California residency during the first year to avoid owing nonresident supplemental tuition in sequent years. Students who continue in the MFA Program for a third year will be supported with TAship-based funding as described above.

Nomination and Award Decisions

Applicants must be admitted to UCSD, meet all eligibility requirements, and be nominated by the MFA Program.The program is allowed to nominate a limited number of candidates. Award decisions are made by a campus committee. In the event an applicant is nominated but does not receive an award, they will be eligible for TAship-based support as described above.

How to Apply

See the MFA application instructions and the San Diego Fellowship application instructions.

SEED Fellowship

UCSD offers a limited number of SEED Fellowships to nominees who received an associate, bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree from an Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), an Historically Black College or University (HBCU), or a Tribal College or University (TCU), and whose presence would enhance diversity to the benefit of the entire campus community. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or AB 540-qualified individuals. Only new incoming students are eligible.

Award Information

MFA students selected as fellows receive a $25,000 per year stipend for the first two years of their program, full coverage of tuition and fees for the first year (including nonresident supplemental tuition, if applicable), and coverage of all resident tuition and fees for the second year. The student must establish California residency during the first year to avoid owing nonresident supplemental tuition in sequent years. Students who continue in the MFA Program for a third year will be supported with TAship-based funding as described above.

Nomination and Award Decisions

Applicants must be admitted to UCSD, meet all eligibility requirements, and be nominated by the MFA Program.The program is allowed to nominate a limited number of candidates. Award decisions are made by a campus committee. In the event an applicant is nominated but does not receive an award, they will be eligible for TAship-based support as described above.

How to Apply

See the MFA application instructions and the SEED Fellowship instructions.

Tribal Membership Initiative

The Tribal Membership Initiative is an endeavor by UC San Diego's Graduate Division to increase diversity by providing fellowships to incoming graduate students of Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian ancestry who are enrolled members of federal- and state-recognized communities.

Award Information

Tribal members admitted under this initiative receive a $20,000 per year stipend, a one-time bonus of $5,000, full coverage of tuition and fees for the first year (including nonresident supplemental tuition, if applicable), and coverage of all resident tuition and fees for years 2-3. The student must establish California residency during the first year to avoid owing nonresident supplemental tuition in sequent years.

Nomination and Award Decisions

Applicants must self-nominate and provide documentation. If the applicant is admitted to UCSD, the Graduate Division will verify the tribal affiliation and send the applicant an award letter.

How to Apply

Indicate on the personal information page of the application for admission that you would like to receive consideration under the initiative. You must indicate your tribal affiliation on the application and provide verification of the affiliation. Refer to Tribal Membership Initiative for details.

Competitive Edge Summer Fellowship

Competitive Edge is a summer transition program for selected incoming graduate students. The eight week program is designed to give selected graduate students an opportunity to begin research prior to the start of their graduate program and to acclimate to the campus environment. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or AB 540-qualified individuals who demonstrate high academic aptitude and achievement. Only new incoming students are eligible.

Award Information

Competitive Edge awardees participate in an 8-week transition program the summer before their first quarter at UCSD. They receive a $4,000 stipend during the program and a priority housing offer to live in graduate student housing while a registered graduate student through normative time to degree. 

Nomination and Decisions

Applicants must be admitted to UCSD, meet all eligibility requirements, and be nominated by the MFA Program.The program is allowed to nominate a limited number of candidates. Final decisions are made by a campus committee.

How to Apply

See the MFA application instructions and the Competitive Edge Fellowship guidelines.

Other Funding

Financial Aid

Graduate students who are U.S. citizens (and certain noncitizens) may be eligible for financial aid in the form of grants/gifts and personal loans in addition to their program-provided support. Visit UCSD's financial aid site to learn about types of financial aid and financial aid packaging policy for graduate students.

It's advisable to apply for financial aid concurrently with your graduate admission application. Refer to the financial aid timeline for graduate students for more information.

Self-funding

A student who does not want to teach may fund their program using their personal resources. The student will petition to substitute seminar units for the teaching apprenticeship credit required for the MFA degree.

Veteran's Benefits

Financial aid for veterans and their families is coordinated by the Financial Aid Office. Refer to Financial Aid Office / About Veteran Benefits. 

Extramural Awards

Occasionally a student is admitted with an extramural award and/or contract that funds their tuition and fees. In such instances the funds from that primary source of support are used first. Any subsequent award/tuition and fee remission made from university funds are used only in the case of a shortfall in the primary source of support.

Summer Teaching Opportunities

There are a limited number of teaching positions on campus during the summer. Below are two of the best opportunities for MFA students.

Writing Programs

MFA students who are employed as TAs for one of UCSD's college writing programs during the academic year may be invited by their program to apply for a limited number of summer positions.

Academic Connections

MFA students can design and teach a course for Academic Connections, a campus-based program that introduces high school students to the college experience. Academic Connections accepts course proposals during the fall for courses to be taught the following summer.

FAQ

Can I obtain a TAship if I don't have teaching experience?

Yes. The college writing programs hire graduate students who don't have teaching experience. The MFA Program provides guidance on where to apply, how to apply, and how to prepare application materials.

If awarded a UCSD fellowship, would I still be eligible to teach during the first two years of my program?

You would be eligible to work as a TA for academic credit. You might also be eligible to TA for pay to supplement your fellowship stipend, within limits.

MFA Admissions 2019


Application Period
Sep. 4 - Dec. 12, 2018

Decision Notifications
February - March 2019

Program Begins
September 2019

[ Admission Overview ]

MFA Program Director
Anna Joy Springer

MFA Graduate Coordinator
Tania Mayer
(858) 534-8849
mfawriting@ucsd.edu

Mailing Address
UC San Diego
Literature Dept / MFA Program
9500 Gilman Drive #0410
La Jolla, CA 92093-0410