Is there any university funding available for master’s students?
Date: January 2020
I desperately need your help.
I am a second year M.S. student (international), going into my last semester before graduation. However, I am at a financial difficulty and it is unclear whether I can support the tuition for my last semester. Is it possible for me to be supported with some form of fellowship or assistantship from across the university? If so, where should I look and ask about any teaching assistantships or research assistantships? I am lost and do not know where to start my search for financial support. Please help!
A Help-Needed Student
Dear “A help-needed student”,
I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve encountered financial difficulties just as the end of your degree is only a semester away. If your admission letter did not offer assistantship support it will be unlikely that your graduate field or department will have a TA or RA position available for you but M.S. and M.A. students are indeed eligible to hold assistantships. You might wish to reach out to your Graduate Field Assistant (GFA) to ask if she or he knows of any opportunities. There is no central listing of available assistantship positions because they are usually filled well in advance but, sometimes, there are last-minute openings just before the start of the semester. This may occur when a class has a surge of late enrollments and needs more TAs, or when a planned TA is unable to serve. Here are some other suggestions:
- If you are a fluent speaker of a language other than English you could check to see if language courses are looking for TAs.
- Large introductory courses in mathematics, biology, computer science, and others subjects often require large numbers of TAs and may have new sections added near the start of the term. If you believe you are qualified contact the departments that offer these courses and leave your name.
- Reach out to faculty who are in your network and familiar with your academic background. They may be aware of assistantship openings that would be a good fit.
As an international student you probably won’t be eligible for most U.S. educational loans but perhaps you would qualify for funding in your home country. You may also find you qualify for alternative loans described on the Financial Aid website.
In order to receive a U.S. student visa, all international students are required to certify they have sufficient financial resources to cover the cost of their education. If something has changed with your family’s finances since the time you certified funding you might find it helpful to speak with the Office of Global Learning and your program about taking a short leave of absence to find employment and/or rebuild financial reserves. Many students resume their studies after one or two semesters. I know that’s not an ideal option but it’s important to have a realistic plan for covering tuition before the semester begins. The last day to request a leave of absence without incurring prorated tuition charges is January 27th so I would encourage you to work backwards from that date as you consider all your options.
With best wishes,
Associate Dean for Administration