Jump to content

To be fully funded or not funded, that is the question


CP3

Recommended Posts

This thread covers a few different areas. I will keep it short and open it up for discussion.

 

Last year I was flat out rejected. Most of the schools only admitted students who would receive full funding.

 

I already owe quite a bit in loans. I did not want to add more debt, so I stuck with schools that gave a full funding package (stipend, tuition waiver, insurance). However, these were VERY competitive programs.

 

Should I not worry about funding while applying to schools?

 

Do schools that do not guarantee funding admit more students each year?

 

It seems that schools with less competitive funding packages would be willing to let in more grad students, is this correct or am I crazy?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I strongly believe the following: 

 

Do worry about funding. Do NOT go to graduate school if you are not fully funded. It is NOT worth it to go into debt for a degree in the Humanities or Social Sciences (and many other fields, but I know less about those) because you will have a very hard time repaying loans with the salary from your likely future job, after you graduate with the degree.

 

I understand the desire to go to school, get an education, pursue a dream job--but I would not do it at all costs. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I third fuzzy's statement! This may be a very blunt/harsh thing to say, but it was a driving factor in my decision to go to grad school: I only applied to grad school with full funding packages because if I was not good enough to get a fully funded package at the beginning of grad school, how could I ever catch up to the rest of the field (in terms of competitiveness) when it comes to finding a good job with my degree at the end of grad school? The competition level will only get higher from here on out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

and again, yes, go to a fully funded program (I was so tempted to go "fourth" !).

 

However if I understand the OPs question correctly, there seem to be some additional nuances -

 

(1) There is a difference between fully vs partially funded vs competitively funded, i.e. different fully funded programs may cover all your tuition / insurance / etc. but the cash component (after paying off the tuition / school / insurance) of the stipend paid as TA/RA may still differ, making some fully funded programs less competitive than others. As long as the tuition/insurance is fully funded, a less competitive cash component program may still make a lot of sense if it is the right program fit etc.

 

(2) There is a difference between schools providing "full funding to some students" and those that "guarantee funding for all students", i.e. I would not restrict myself to applying only to schools which "guarantee funding to all students" upfront. I think most (many?) schools and programs would provide "full funding" to at least some students, although there is no way of knowing where you will stand at the time of application.

 

So my recommendation is not to worry too much about funding at the time of application, i.e. do not rule out schools at the application stage (unless you have it from an inside source in the program that they are desperately short on funds or are clearly not providing full funding to anyone), but make it one of the most important factors once you receive admits and know the exact funding offer made by the school / program. If you are lucky enought to get multiple funded offers, many programs are known to take competitive offers into account and increase theirs a bit as well.

 

Best of Luck!

Edited by zapster
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are some schools which offer funding from the second semester, or even the second year, and as an international student, i know many people getting into a school without funding, but after showing their potential at the first semester, they were able to get funding for the second semester on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

^I personally wouldn't bank on getting funding in your second year or second semester unless the program could almost guarantee that you will get it (I'm talking about 90-95% sure), and there's historical evidence for that (i.e., most students get funding in their second year).

 

Because if you borrow $60,000 to attend your first year and then you don't get funding in your second, you're stuck.  You can either borrow another $60,000 to attend hoping you'll get funding for your third year (and if you go unfunded the first 2 years, what's to say you'll get any then?) or you can leave with $60,000 extra debt and nothing to show.

 

I am personally a subscriber to fuzzylogician's logic.  PhDs in the humanities and social sciences (really, any PhD) are not worth the cost if you have to bear it yourself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^^Just to agree with the above statement. I would NOT trust schools to provide funding in the second year and beyond if they didn't put it in writing. 

 

For example, I know of a grad student who applied to school X. She was a great applicant, but applied after the deadline to be considered for a GTA position. Then school X admitted her and told her that she should apply for a GTA position in her second year because she was a strong candidate for full funding.

 

So the applicant accepted, paid for her first year of MA out of pocket and volunteered as a TA to bulk up her credentials. When her second year rolled around, the school did not take her as a GTA. Their reasoning: if she was already in the door and paying, she probably wouldn't transfer, so they could use that GTA line to bring in another student instead. I was privy to the adcom's conversation and I was just horrified at how they conducted themselves, but apparently such decisions are fairly common in administration, where the pressure is on them to bring in new students rather than fund existing students. 

 

Once they have you in the door and paying, the school holds much more power than the student. I think it's best not to put yourself in that position. Essential, I'm with fuzzy and everyone else above--funding matters a great deal, and I would only consider fully funded schools. Even partial funding gets too expensive over the course of a five (or more) year graduate degree.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Many great thoughts. thanks!

 

I agree with everything said above, which is why I only applied to well-funded schools last Fall. I am reconsidering applying this fall, and waiting another year to beef up my application. One of the reasons is so that I can be accepted with a funding package. I feel that if I apply now, I may get accepted, but a better candidate will get the money. I don't want to get stuck anywhere, that's for sure. Plus, I already owe too much money to have that happen!

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

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use