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Unfunded from waitlist?


silentskye

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So my top-choice university put me on the waitlist, but said that anyone taken off the waitlist will go unfunded. This seems unfair and unreasonable.

The question is, has anyone experienced this and managed to convince the university to fund you anyway? Or is the whole thing a lost cause?

Thanks

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Why is it unfair and unreasonable?

They have a certain amount of funding, and gave it out. They're saying that if they have the opportunity to take more of you, it will have to be on an unfunded basis. At least they're letting you know ahead of time.

You're in English, for which the funding situation is much worse than, say, the STEM fields- I would say it's not a matter of "convincing" the university to fund you, but a matter of them not having any money with which to fund you.

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Why is it unfair and unreasonable?

They have a certain amount of funding, and gave it out. They're saying that if they have the opportunity to take more of you, it will have to be on an unfunded basis. At least they're letting you know ahead of time.

You're in English, for which the funding situation is much worse than, say, the STEM fields- I would say it's not a matter of "convincing" the university to fund you, but a matter of them not having any money with which to fund you.

This seems like a perfectly reasonable objection! If a program has, say 5 funded places, and the original poster was first on a waiting list, then if someone drops out of the original five they still have a funded place. Why should that funding 'disappear' if an offer is turned down?

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This seems like a perfectly reasonable objection! If a program has, say 5 funded places, and the original poster was first on a waiting list, then if someone drops out of the original five they still have a funded place. Why should that funding 'disappear' if an offer is turned down?

That's what I assumed, too.

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Maybe they have already accepted some students on an unfunded basis? And therefore if the funded slots get turned down, the funding goes to the students already accepted without funding before those being taken off the waitlist? Rather than speculating, I think that it is completely reasonable for you to respond to a waitlist notification with a request for clarification, especially on the funding issue.

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This seems like a perfectly reasonable objection! If a program has, say 5 funded places, and the original poster was first on a waiting list, then if someone drops out of the original five they still have a funded place. Why should that funding 'disappear' if an offer is turned down?

As has been mentioned in other threads, some schools now are in the situation of only being able to give out a funding offer once- they might not be able to transfer the package to another wait-listed student. Some universities have to go to the college/administration for funding for students, and it's competitive between departments. It may be that their first choice students (the ones not wait listed) could be nominated for funding, and it will be too late once it comes time for the wait listed students.

That said, I still don't see how even in that scenario it is "unfair"- they are stating what they can and can't do up front. If they have no more funding to give out- or even if they have no more funding they want to give out this admission cycle- that's their choice. It's not "unfair" to you any more than some students receiving fellowships and others not is "unfair".

I don't see any problem in asking for funding in the future (should you be accepted from the wait list), I just don't see it as being exceptionally likely that you'll be able to convince them.

Edited by Eigen
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Ah, I didn't realize that the funds are competitive among the different departments. That does make sense.

I'm not saying the necessarily are in your case, I just know they often can be.

I'd certainly ask about the particulars in your case. It also may be that you would be unfunded for your first semester/year, but might be able to pick up a TAship after that.

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I'd imagine the dept. accepted people (not on waitlist) without offering funding, and are infering that should funding become available through others choosing other schools, the funding will go to the students who were accepted without funding, not those coming off the waitlist. Or perhaps they let the funding trickle down to the top master's students.

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