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darredet
Darren A. Deth


Jul 5, 2004, 8:40 PM

Post #1 of 104 (11836 views)
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Financial Assistance for MFA Programs Can't Post

One thing that would be nice is a board where we can trade information regarding grants and scholarships for those of us considering graduate school.

Is that possible?

Darren


taizhu


Jun 5, 2005, 12:11 PM

Post #2 of 104 (12549 views)
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Re: [mzevin] MFA Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

I think that full funding for an mfa program is definitely a possibility. As a matter of fact, I applied for MFA's last year on the self-imposed condition that I would attend ONLY if I received full funding.

My experience is that few schools in NYC offer good funding packages. So you have to be willing to be somewhere else. But out of the 10 schools I applied to--I got into 5, of the 5--four of them offered full funding + stipend.

I got into 1 school in NYC. Its funding offer was laughable...particularly given the job prospects following an mfa program.

I will be attending an MFA program next year. I am definitely going to be living in a town that I would not have moved to otherwise. Not so happy about that, but the money makes it a no-brainer for me. I still contend that it makes no sense to pay for an MFA degree.


lillyl


Jun 6, 2005, 9:42 AM

Post #3 of 104 (12519 views)
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Re: [mzevin] MFA Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Any advice on how to get into MFA with full funding or is this impossiblity...

It's definitely not an impossibility. I applied to only schools that offered full funding. You've just got to be willing to maybe move away from NYC-- I can't think of a new york school that offers full funding.
My list:

UT Austin Michener Center-- Full funding & way more than any other school-- I think about 15,000 a year stipend.
University of Florida-- teaching assistantship with 9,000 a year stipend
The Ohio State University-- either first year fellowship or TA ship, 12,000 a year
Wichita State-- I think
Indiana University

& tons more. You've just got to be willing to do a TA ship or move somewhere.

I honestly do not suggest getting into debt from an MFA program. It is not a career path.


sovietsleepover


Jun 6, 2005, 1:26 PM

Post #4 of 104 (12498 views)
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Re: [mzevin] MFA Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Schools that offer full funding to all accepted students:
- University of Wisconsin (new program that accepts 6 students in one genre every other year)
- University of California @ Irvine
- University of Alabama (3-4 year program)
- University of Cincinnatti
- University of Michigan (funds everyone at least 70%, others more; the TAing deal is really cushy)
- Michener Center--University of Texas @ Austin (that stipend is $22k with no teaching duties!)
- University of Florida ($9k for 1 class/semester)
- University of Houston (~$10k for 2 classes/semester--overwork!)
- University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champagne
- University of Indiana
- Florida State University
- Notre Dame
- Washington Univ of St. Louis
- Penn State
- Ohio State University, I think..


nomojo
A.D.T.

Jun 6, 2005, 9:43 PM

Post #5 of 104 (12478 views)
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Re: [sovietsleepover] MFA Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for this list.


taizhu


Jun 7, 2005, 12:20 AM

Post #6 of 104 (12464 views)
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Re: [nomojo] MFA Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

One more school to add to the list for full funding for all students...Cornell. They only take 4 in each discipline but they ARE onyl 4 hours away from NYC.


nomojo
A.D.T.

Jun 7, 2005, 12:23 AM

Post #7 of 104 (12463 views)
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Re: [taizhu] MFA Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

When we are all saying 'full funding', does this mean that tuition is waived entirely or that one's stipend or assistantship is enough to pay for tuition?


taizhu


Jun 7, 2005, 12:34 AM

Post #8 of 104 (12461 views)
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Re: [nomojo] MFA Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

For the schools that I received full funding from--each offer consisted of free tuition + stipend

Three of those stipends required some sort of service commitment (teaching or research assistanceship). One of them required nothing on my part.

In general, I think it depends on the school. I found the following website helpful in my search:

http://www.writehabit.org/programs.html

I would also check the program websites to see what they say about funding. Alot of schools waive and/or reduce tuition if you receive a fellowship/assitanceship.


mingram
Mike Ingram

Jun 7, 2005, 11:02 AM

Post #9 of 104 (12446 views)
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Re: [taizhu] MFA Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Iowa is pretty close to full funding as well. Not everyone gets the same deal, but they're pretty good about finding money for everyone, either through fellowships (that may or may not involve teaching), teaching assistantships, or research assistantships. The financial aid situation at Iowa is, frankly, a little confusing, since it's a bigger program and they have to get money from all corners. But the bottom line is that they're good about finding money for their students.

Mike


ejdifili
Emily

Sep 30, 2007, 12:21 PM

Post #10 of 104 (11280 views)
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Re: [mingram] MFA Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

I completed an MA in Spanish Literature at Washington University in St. Louis in 2005. Now, I am in the process of applying to MFA programs, and I wanted to share my opinions and experiences with financial aid.

Wash U provided all students accepted into the Spanish MA with full tuition waivers and stipends of about $15K per year. The MA was 3 semesters, and you had to teach for 2.

First of all, I am most thankful that I did not go into debt doing my MA. While Spanish is, in theory, more "useful" than creative writing, any kind of humanities degree probably isn't going to put you in a postion to earn a ton of money afterword. Unless you want to get into some kind of business field and eventually pursue an MBA, which was not my bag. At this point, I am teaching Spanish at a Catholic high school in rural Missouri. I like my job, although I make less than $30K and am still incurring tuition expenses to get my Teaching Certificate.

Just FYI: if you think you're going to teach English or writing K-12 after completing your MFA, then you may have a rough go of it until you're fully certified, which implies at least another 20 hours of coursework in education. It's feasible, but you'll probably end up going part-time at night, and it's highly unlikely that you'll get any financial aid for that. And of course, you can't count on being fortunate enough to land a tenure-track position at the university level right out of grad school.

One of my undergraduate professors once told me not to look at the MFA as a professional degree, that is, as something that's actually going to earn you money. Hopefully it will get you closer to publication and to teaching at the college level if that's what you want, but you should have a back-up plan. And, as I say, unless you have skills to enter the business world or some other high-paying industry, you're not going to be making much once you graduate. Don't combine that situation with massive debt.

In addition, I found my teaching experience at Wash U to be highly valuable. You may think that teaching high school or at a community college sounds shitty, but to me, it's at least better than sitting in a cubicle 40 hours a week. so having some teaching experience during your graduate years can help expand your options after completing your degree.


Moonshade


Sep 30, 2007, 3:04 PM

Post #11 of 104 (11264 views)
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Re: [ejdifili] MFA Programs [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
You may think that teaching high school or at a community college sounds shitty, but to me, it's at least better than sitting in a cubicle 40 hours a week.



AMEN!!! For the past year I've been a substitute teacher (or a babysitter as some people sneer), and although the pay is LOUSY and the job stressful, I find it preferable to those boring Office jobs. I hate all that admin. crap--filing, faxing, answering phones, phony office culture, etc. So I use my grand English Lit. degree to sub-teach instead. No desire to be a "real" teacher either, the beaucracy, red tape and work forced upon teachers is way too much for me too. Plus the public school system is practically in the toilet.

I've got to find a better way to use my degree.....


Clench Million
Charles

Sep 30, 2007, 6:36 PM

Post #12 of 104 (11239 views)
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Re: [darredet] Financial Assistance for MFA Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

One thing I would say on this subject is to do research amongst the schools that interest you. By which I mean, find out from the administration or current students what the current financial situation is.

The financial situations of schools can change dramatically from one year to the next and misinformation is pretty rampant about MFA programs. Find out what schools look interesting to you based on location, reputation, faculty, alumni and so on, then call the schools and learn what the chances for fellowships are for the upcoming year.


jacarty
Jessie Carty
e-mail user

Oct 1, 2007, 6:09 PM

Post #13 of 104 (11185 views)
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Re: [Moonshade] MFA Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

I said no to my office/cube job as well but sub teaching is WAY stressfull and I didn't need that along with all the MFA work so i'm looking for a good ole bookstore job now :)


http://jessiecarty.com


writerle


Oct 1, 2007, 6:17 PM

Post #14 of 104 (11182 views)
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Re: [jacarty] MFA Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

I've done the good ole bookstore job and the sub teaching. I loved the bookstore (except for the evening and weekend hours) but the pay was lousy. I make about three times as much sub teaching. I put up with the stress so that I can work less hours and free up more time for writing.


jacarty
Jessie Carty
e-mail user

Oct 1, 2007, 6:21 PM

Post #15 of 104 (11180 views)
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Re: [writerle] MFA Programs [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I've done the good ole bookstore job and the sub teaching. I loved the bookstore (except for the evening and weekend hours) but the pay was lousy. I make about three times as much sub teaching. I put up with the stress so that I can work less hours and free up more time for writing.



you must have a good county to work in :) the pay here for sub teaching isn't bad but isn't that much different from a decent retail job. what i'd like to do is just find some work tutoring, but I'll keep looking.

i'm impressed by the people who manage to work full time and do the mfa programs. i think if i had a job i liked i could do it too.

--jessie


http://jessiecarty.com


writerle


Oct 1, 2007, 6:30 PM

Post #16 of 104 (11178 views)
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Re: [jacarty] MFA Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

I live in Southern California, so yes, the pay for sub teaching is probably much higher than in many other areas. But then, so is the cost of living.

I'm low res and I do know plenty of people in my program who work full time, so it can be done. Of course, I've never actually had a full time job before, so what would I know?


jaywalke


Oct 4, 2007, 10:05 AM

Post #17 of 104 (11123 views)
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Re: [jacarty] MFA Programs [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I said no to my office/cube job as well but sub teaching is WAY stressfull and I didn't need that along with all the MFA work so i'm looking for a good ole bookstore job now :)


I have an office/cube job I enjoy--at a university. There is a different atmosphere when the end result is something other than profit. There are politics and machinations at every job, but the depths of office evil are much shallower here than when I worked in the private sector for ten years before entering academia. There are also great perks like gyms and low-cost trainers, classes, arts events, library privileges, sports and clubs for every interest.

If you're near a university, especially one in a smaller town, an English degree will likely give you a leg up when applying for admin jobs. When I post an opening for my group I get 100 applications minimum, and the first thing I do is sort through looking for English degrees.

Obviously, it also puts you in with a group who is supportive of education. I'll be keeping my full-time job when I start at Queens, and everyone at work is aware of it. They're nearly as geeked as me.


edwriter



Oct 4, 2007, 7:13 PM

Post #18 of 104 (11074 views)
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Re: [darredet] Financial Assistance for MFA Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

I know I've posted this before on another thread, but this seems like a good place to repost: I maintain a list of possible funding resources specifically for writers in low-res programs here. If you know of changes/updates/new resources to add, I'd be grateful if you'd leave a comment. Thanks!

Best,
Erika D.


Quiet Americans: Stories
http://www.erikadreifus.com



edwriter



Oct 4, 2007, 7:38 PM

Post #19 of 104 (11068 views)
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Re: [jaywalke] Non-teaching university employment for writers [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I have an office/cube job I enjoy--at a university. There is a different atmosphere when the end result is something other than profit. There are politics and machinations at every job, but the depths of office evil are much shallower here than when I worked in the private sector for ten years before entering academia. There are also great perks like gyms and low-cost trainers, classes, arts events, library privileges, sports and clubs for every interest.


Even after earning an MFA, non-teaching university employment is something to consider. Not everyone who wants to teach is going to be able to get a tenure-track teaching job (especially soon after graduation); some people aren't interested in teaching in the first place. But universities can indeed be very good places for writers to work.

I have a full-time non-teaching job now in a university (after having spent some years post-MFA teaching and/or freelancing), and I know several other writers who have finished MFA programs who have also found full-time writing-related work in universities. In fact, a group of us proposed an AWP panel this year specifically on this topic of non-teaching university employment for writers, but the proposal was turned down.

I've begun including these jobs on my weekly "Monday Morning Markets/Jobs/Opportunities" posts on my blog, so if this interests any of you and you want to see the possibilities I'm locating, please check the blog (link below)

Best,
Erika D.


Quiet Americans: Stories
http://www.erikadreifus.com



ejdifili
Emily

Oct 4, 2007, 9:19 PM

Post #20 of 104 (11055 views)
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Re: [edwriter] Non-teaching university employment for writers [In reply to] Can't Post

   
I appreciate these posts about non-teaching jobs at universities. To be honest, it's not something that I'd really considered, but it sounds like a good idea. Although the great part about teaching (K-12 or at the college level) is having the summers off for writing and other pursuits. A creative and intellectual work envioronment means a lot though.

We should start a thread about post-MFA employment options. I don't think I have that capability.

-Emily


edwriter



Oct 5, 2007, 8:31 AM

Post #21 of 104 (11031 views)
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Re: [ejdifili] Non-teaching university employment for writers [In reply to] Can't Post

Good point. I can't seem to start a new thread, either. Dana, could you please help us?

I also wanted to mention that I know a few people who have worked their way through MFA programs at the same universities that employed them. (Often benefits include reduced tuition.)

And yes, it would be nice to have the summer free (and a possible long winter recess, too). Right now I'm saving up my vacation days, which are fairly generous (more generous than they were when I was working for the government) in case I apply for and receive admission to a conference or residency in 2008.

Best,
Erika D.


Quiet Americans: Stories
http://www.erikadreifus.com



motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Oct 6, 2007, 9:08 PM

Post #22 of 104 (11015 views)
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Re: [edwriter] Non-teaching university employment for writers [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Dana, could you please help us?



Sure thing...

Try this --- Finished the MFA - Now what?


ecphraticknolls


Oct 7, 2007, 1:16 AM

Post #23 of 104 (11001 views)
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Re: [sovietsleepover] MFA Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

I just want to say: don't limit yourself to programs that automatically offer full funding. There are plenty of GTA opportunities at other programs... don't wash your hands of them simply because the funding isn't automatic. Seriously... look for places where you like the people you'll be working with. Then see what happens from there. Of course funding is an issue, but I'm saying that it is worth applying to other places where it isn't automatic if there is faculty that excites you. I'm very happy that I applied to Colorado State.


edwriter



Oct 7, 2007, 10:11 AM

Post #24 of 104 (10991 views)
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Re: [motet] Non-teaching university employment for writers [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, Dana.


Quiet Americans: Stories
http://www.erikadreifus.com



sovietsleepover


Oct 8, 2007, 1:55 PM

Post #25 of 104 (10937 views)
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Re: [ecphraticknolls] MFA Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

I definitely agree*. As for the out-of-left-field funding, an acquaintance of mine who got her MFA from Pitt without funding was able to find a sort of workstudy job answering phones for some paraprofessional school, which paid minimum wage plus a tuition waiver. She may've gotten official funding for her second &/or third years. Other friends of mine worked 20hrs/wk AND had tuition waiver graderships, which seemed like a lot of work.

Still, paying for an MFA (and the cost of living/rent/food while trying to commit to writing) is a heavy decision, and without lots of savings &/or family wealth, the weight of accumulated debt may encumber your writing process. I know it would mine--my family has always lived far beneath the poverty line, so taking on that kind of debt would be paralyzing to me. Personally, if I had to choose between paying for an MFA and not going to graduate school for another year or two, I would choose the latter. You can always become a better writer on your own and keep trying!



*Though places which don't offer full funding to everyone can have a weird hierarchy & innate competition, which may not be fun to be part of. Ask students about this if you consider going to one of these places!

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