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MFA | Financial Support

Updated 9/1/17

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

Newly admitted students receive a letter of support upon admission. The letter describes the type funding the student can expect and what they must do to secure it. Most support offers are based on teaching assistantships and are for one academic year (Fall/Winter/Spring quarters), with the possibility of renewal.

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 most of the regular tuition. All MFA students have obtained full funding or better since the program launched in 2009.

Our benchmark for full funding is a 9-month appointment as a teaching assistant at 50% time. Most years we are able to surpass our benchmark by offering stipends and scholarships. Details are provided below.

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). They may apply for TAships at UCSD's six college writing programs or its many academic departments. Most choose to 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 50% time during the academic year receive health insurance, remissions of the regular tuition/fees as described below, and a salary of $20,653. They also receive training and academic credit toward the MFA degree, 

Fee Remissions and Salary – 50% TAship for 9-Month Academic Year 
FEES & REMISSIONS FALL WINTER SPRING TOTALS
  Regular Tuition/Fees 5,673.06 5,673.06 5,673.06 17,019.18
  Less: TA Tuition/Fee Remissions (*) -4,210.00 -4,210.00 -4,210.00 -12,630.00
  Less: TA Health Insurance Remission -1,191.00 -1,191.00 -1,191.00 -3,573.00
BALANCE PAID BY STUDENT $272.06 $272.06 $272.06 $816.18
 (*) TA remissions do not apply to nonresident supplemental tuition (see MFA Scholarships below). Fees and remissions subject to change. Refer to 2017/18 Full/Partial Fees Chart.

 

Readerships

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

Readers employed at least 25% time (~10 hours/week) during the quarter receive the same remissions of the regular tuition/fees as TAs, plus a salary of approximately $1,750.

Most readerships are for one quarter at 15-20% time but the student may hold multiple readerships concurrently—up to 50% timeto earn tuition/fee remissions.

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

Because of the low salary and short duration of appointments, readerships work best as supplements to another source of funding. If you are considering the non-teaching path to the MFA degree, please seek advising from the MFA graduate coordinator before you apply.

MFA Program Scholarships and Stipends

MFA 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, 2 years for international students who are not eligible to establish California residency for tuition purposes. Refer to Costs for tuition information.

The program may also offer scholarships to help students pay for the portion of regular tuition/fees that is not covered by TA fee remissions.

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

MFA Stipends

The program may offer stipends to supplement students' primary funding. Stipends usually have a stipulation that the student will complete a project approved by the MFA program director.

Newly admitted 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.

Diversity Fellowships

San Diego Fellowship

UC San Diego offers a limited number of San Diego Fellowships as a means to increase campus diversity. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents (AB 540 students are also eligible) and meet other eligibility criteria. Nomination and selection is not based on the specific race, ethnicity, gender, or national origin of the nominee.

Award Information

Fellows receive a $20,000 per year stipend, 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

Refer to the MFA Application Guidelines and the San Diego Fellowship guidelines for instructions.

SEED Fellowship

UCSD offers a limited number of SEED Fellowshipsto 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 or permanent residents (AB 540 students are also eligible) and meet other eligibility criteria. Nomination and selection is not based on the specific race, ethnicity, gender, or national origin of the nominee.

Award Information

MFA students selected as fellows receive a $25,000 per year stipend, 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 at a comparable level to the SEED award.

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

Refer to the MFA Application Guidelines and the SEED Fellowship guidelines for 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 from Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian ancestry.

Award Information

Tribal members admitted under this initiative receive a $20,000 per year stipend, 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 eligible for TAship-based funding as described above.

Nomination and Award Decisions

Applicants must self-nominate and provide documentation. If the applicant is admitted to UCSD, the Graduate Division will vet the documentation 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 / Procedure for details.

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 the Financial Aid Office site to learn about types of financial aid and financial aid packaging policy for graduate students.

It is advisable to apply for financial aid concurrently with your graduate admission application as funds are limited. 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 must 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. Contact the MFA graduate coordinator for more information.

MFA in Writing


Program Director
Anna Joy Springer

Graduate Coordinator
Tania Mayer
139 Literature Building
(858) 534-8849
mfawriting@ucsd.edu

Application Period
Sep. 5 - Dec. 14, 2017

Decision Notifications
February - March 2018

Program Begins
September 2018