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Leveraging Funding


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Hello there!

I've been accepted with full tuition to 3 MA programs, and the last one also offered me a $15,000 stipend. I asked the other 2 programs earlier about possible stipends, but I was told they weren't available.

Would it be going too far to tell the other 2 programs about this third school giving me a stipend and leverage that to re-ask whether a stipend is possible? Ugh academia etiquette. 

And if no stipend for the first two is possible, would it be crazy  to choose an unstipended school over a stipended one and hope to get a well-paying job? All are in relatively affordable areas. 

Thanks! 

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In my opinion, as someone applying to MA programs as well, it is ill-advised to go for an unfunded MA unless you are independently wealthy. This is advice I have received from every professor I talked to about the matter. If you already asked about funding and the programs said it is not available, I am not sure saying you got funded somewhere else would make any difference. Maybe somebody would have some different advice than me, but I say go for the one that is funded! Congratulations on all your acceptances!

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i don't see anything wrong with telling the other two programs that you have a funded offer to see if they might be able to find a way to fund you. however, i don't know if that's likely given their answer to you before was that it was unavailable. it might just be that their program does not fund MAs. are they offering you tuition remission or anything else? if not, even working full time, absolutely do not take on student loan debt for an MA.

personally, if one of the unfunded offers was at my dream school--best faculty for my interests, great placement record in whatever i'm hoping to do after the MA, great location, great departmental vibe--then i would tell them they were my number one choice but that funding is preventing you from accepting the offer, especially given you are receiving funding at a different program. if both unfunded offers were from my dream schools, i suppose i'd attempt to negotiate with one at a time.

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Great, thank you for the advice! I will probably go with the stipended option. I did get tuition remission, mandelbub, at the other 2 schools, but I don't know if working a part time job will be enough to make ends meet, especially as I still have undergrad loans. 

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1 minute ago, wildsurmise said:

Great, thank you for the advice! I will probably go with the stipended option. I did get tuition remission, mandelbub, at the other 2 schools, but I don't know if working a part time job will be enough to make ends meet, especially as I still have undergrad loans. 

Just saw your signature. I did my undergrad at Lehigh so let me know if you have any questions about the program / school / town

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@wildsurmise student loans go back into deferral when you're in school, so you don't have to pay on them while you're attending grad school. if you do get tuition remission, then you won't really be going into further debt by going. you may want to see if there's any campus jobs you could take that'd be flexible with your courseload? 

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I know some grad students in other fields, and it seems like there's the general idea that offers without funding are more "soft rejections" than actual acceptances. I do think this isn't entirely transferable to English as it seems like at least some schools do find the funding for their applicants eventually, but I found an interesting blog post that you might consider reading: https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/gradhacker/unfunded-phds-go-or-not-go

It's about PhD programs, but I think it's still applicable to MA programs. Additionally, when I was figuring out program applications, I commented that even if I didn't get into their PhD programs maybe they would offer me a MA slot...I had one of my mentors say that unfunded MAs are looked down upon as cash cows and could possibly hurt me down the line rather than help me. As a note, I have seen the Chicago MA (notorious for being $$$) on some students' CVs at top programs, but usually it's when they're pivoting from a different field after majoring in bio or something in undergrad. 

Edit: I know the programs you're  considering aren't entirely unfunded, but still! Ya gotta eat. 

Edited by sugilite
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@wildsurmise If you were accepted to the MA at CU Boulder and are considering their offer, feel free to PM me about it. I was accepted with a fellowship and "possible funding," and did end up attending because I secured funding through another department. I would be happy to talk about my experiences/what I know about funding for MAs in the department. 

Edited by natalielouise
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