Jump to content

Funded (wink wink nudge nudge) or not


django_r

Recommended Posts

I just received my offer letter for my PhD program, and have been given only four days to respond with an acceptance or a rejection of the offer.  Funding is still "undecided" with a likelihood to hear back in the near future, but no guarantee of hearing back before the acceptance deadline.  The reason given for this is the recent sequestration that's taking place due to congress.

 

I've been given some indications that I'd probably get funded, but at the same time I'm extremely leery of accepting a position without guarantee of at least partial funding.  I've already completed a year of a masters program at the institution I'm applying to, and would effectively start "a year ahead" in the PhD program.  This also means that if I reject the offer, I'll still end up paying for at least one year more tuition to complete my MSci.  

 

My tuition costs would be on the order of ~$30K/yr in a Bioinformatics program.  If I accept the offer and am ultimately not funded, how difficult is it generally to leave with just my MSci, and how much time is it likely to cost me?  How comfortable would you be in taking or rejecting such an offer?

 

Thanks for any input you're all able to provide.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm in a completely different field, so I can't say much regarding Bioinformatics PhD programs (let alone even guess in which school it might be housed). However, I think it's important to note that most graduate programs can't legally force your decision before April 15th (as far as I know), unless your school hasn't signed the national grad. school agreement on the decision date. Secondly, I'm actually communicating back and forth with a school regarding funding, and I do feel like I've pushed a bit to get an answer. It seems that there's department funding that usually goes to continuing students, which isn't given out until May. I basically expressed interest in the school but was up front about having received an offer from another school. I would suggest that you underscore the importance of funding, and how it would impact your decision. Again, I don't know enough about bioinformatics to know whether it might be an investment worth the risk (as a JD might be... or might have been five years ago), but I wouldn't take on any loans for graduate school, and that's speaking from experience as much as in my current 'prospective PhD student' status.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel a little strange disclosing my school, since it would be pretty simple to identify me as my program only accepts two PhD candidates a year, and I believe the other accepting PhD has already secured funding.  Suffice to say that it's a well-respected program in the field.  From reports I've heard, I could be reasonably expected to increase my earning potential by $15-$30K/year with a PhD over a MSci.  Of course, that's dependent on what the job market looks like in the future, whenever I manage to complete the degree.

 

I just received the PhD offer sheet tonight roughly two hours ago by email, so I fired off a reply pushing for more information on funding.  I'll probably go down to pester people for further information tomorrow.  The quick expected turnaround for a decision is what's shaken me the most, although as you say I should be able to push to have at least until April 15.  Thanks for the advice.  I agree that taking out loans for a PhD program would probably defeat much of the increased earning potential.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The April 15th date is not a government thing, but an agreement between universities. And as far as I know, it is only for offers of funding. 

The wording in the agreement does read as though it's only for offers of funding, but I can't help but feel that it's through extension of admission.

 

I meant that the April 15th deadline seems to be a legal thing.

 

//edited because my decision anxiety manifested in my wording.

Edited by anoveldave
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not seeing them listed there, but I would be surprised if they didn't adhere to the same general timeline, since a number of schools in the list receive funding from the same sources as are available to me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The wording in the agreement does read as though it's only for offers of funding, but I can't help but feel that it's through extension of admission.

 

I meant that the April 15th deadline seems to be a legal thing.

 

//edited because my decision anxiety manifested in my wording.

 

The CGS resolution does not apply to admission, only funding. Just because you "feel" that a document means one thing does not make it true, especially with explicit wording indicating otherwise. That said, you are correct in that funding and admission are intertwined, and so as a result many schools use April 15 as an admission deadline as well.

 

The resolution is an agreement between schools, and not a real law (that you'd be able to sue with). Which is all moot anyway since your school is not on the list.

 

As for going unfunded; there is reasonable debate as to whether graduate school with funding is worth it, let alone without funding. I don't know your situation, but i would apply again next year instead of risking unfunded graduate school.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.