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Berkeley and the California Budget Crisis


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For anyone who hasn't heard yet, the state of California is almost bankrupt:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/17/us/17 ... wanted=all

Now, I'm an international student, and am completely dependent on institutional funding for my support. How safe would my fellowship be at a public institution like Berkeley? Could they ever renege on their offer? I mean, are these fellowships entirely connected to the California budget, or do they come from separate funds (i.e. endowments)?

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Berkeley has a bit of an endowment, and is also partially self-sustaining (tuition, grants, etc). Some of that cut will indeed be felt, but I don't think your fellowship is in too much jeopardy.

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You are safe for next year, but as there is a chance they may cut your 5 year guarantee short (yes, even though you signed a contract).

This happened at UCSD (my undergrad university) and everyone is usually able to find funding in another department.

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Could someone elaborate on this perhaps a little more?

I've been funded for 5 years at at UC school, and even though I'm sure I'll be signing things and have a guarantee, they can actually tell me in a year that I won't get any support for the next 4 years? What does "everyone is usually able to find funding in another department" mean? That they actually had to apply for PhD programs again at another institution in the hopes of finding funding? Sorry if I sound green about this.

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Sorry for the confusion.

What I meant was that instead of having funding for five years, these people only had funding for four. Rather than cutting you off after one, they just cut it down a year. They basically said they didn't have any TA positions for them, and if they want to keep tuition remission and health insurance, they would have to find a TA-ship or RA-ship on their own.

For most, this meant being a TA for interdisciplinary undergrad programs that had no grad students of their own (gender studies, film) or the various undergraduate required writing programs. Some of them also approached various professors who had grants and were able to get RAships, others appealed to endowed chairs to get funding.

It just basically meant that instead of the department handing you a position, you had to find it on your own. One thing you may ask current grad students is if this has ever happened, and what the students ended up doing.

But, for the most part, departments will keep up their end of the bargain.

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