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Is It Appropriate to Ask for Assistance with Moving Expenses?


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Hey guys,

 

I applied to seven programs this year and so far I've gotten in to two of them, been rejected by two, and have not heard from three, which means likely either waitlisting or rejection. But since both of the programs I got into were great matches for me, that's okay with me.

 

One of the programs I got into offered me a full ride for five years (Stipend, Tuition Remission, etc.), but is on the other side of the country. I'm a very poor undergraduate who is basically living on two and a half thousand dollars to last me until August. I'm looking for a job, but on-campus jobs don't want to hire students in their last semester (which seems backwards to me), and I don't have the transportation to get a job off campus. So this is what I'm wondering: is it appropriate to ask a school that has accepted me (irregardless of the financial package they offered) whether or not they can assist with my relocation expenses? If so, does anyone know what that would even look like?

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Some schools give you a relocation, one of the schools that I was accepted offered a 500 relocation fee for out of state residents.  However, i would think it would be very difficult to ask and receive for one when a school already does not provide it.  You might have to try to figure out a very cheap way to get there or possibly (and I know this isn't ideal) do a short term loan until your first stipends come in...sorry to hear its not easy.  Maybe you can talk to the department and see when you can receive your stipend upon enrollment and see if there is a way to get one earlier or before you arrive?  Hope for the best for you.

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It may not be available but you could ask. My experience in the social sciences/humanities has been that moving expenses are typically not covered. Other options are taking out a credit card with 0% interest for 12-18 months (if you have good to excellent credit, you'll be able to do this), taking out a student loan now through your undergraduate school, or borrowing from your parents.

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You can ask but it's rare for them to do this for graduate student. One school I got admitted to did offer everyone up to $1000 in total support for visit weekend expenses and moving (so you could choose to not visit and save it all for moving if necessary).

 

My current program also makes a 0%, no fees loan of up to $2500 available to new students to pay for startup costs. They pay the loan out just before the school year start (about 1 month before our first paycheck) and then give you a 6 month grace period then you pay it back in 18 monthly installments. So, this can be helpful if you put all your moving costs on a credit card, then use this $2500 loan to pay off the card immediately and avoid interest, and then pay off the $2500 loan over the next 18 months without any interest or fees! 

 

So maybe ask if they can do that too!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Sorry if this is too late...

 

I asked (on a recommendation from a friend) and they gave me a "fellowship" of a couple thousand dollars for moving costs. Other people in my program didn't get this because they didn't ask. Or, it could be that I had another multi-year fellowship so maybe I was in a different category from others. But, I wanted to let people out there know that this does happen (even if it's rare).

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Sorry if this is too late...

 

I asked (on a recommendation from a friend) and they gave me a "fellowship" of a couple thousand dollars for moving costs. Other people in my program didn't get this because they didn't ask. Or, it could be that I had another multi-year fellowship so maybe I was in a different category from others. But, I wanted to let people out there know that this does happen (even if it's rare).

 

Whom did you ask? I'd like to try this, but I'm not sure whose e-mail address I need to find. :P

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It was the PhD program director. I suppose you could also try department chair. I wasn't sure about asking, but my friend insisted that I at least try, so I did (during a face-to-face meeting on my prospective student visit), and he said "yes" right there and then! I was pretty shocked at how much they gave, too, since I know that some universities give that same amount for new faculty!

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It was the PhD program director. I suppose you could also try department chair. I wasn't sure about asking, but my friend insisted that I at least try, so I did (during a face-to-face meeting on my prospective student visit), and he said "yes" right there and then! I was pretty shocked at how much they gave, too, since I know that some universities give that same amount for new faculty!

 

I should've tried that! I might e-mail mine. Thanks for the tip! :)

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I should've tried that! I might e-mail mine. Thanks for the tip! :)

 

Good luck! :)

 

It worked out in my case since my department had extra funds (again, they officially called it a "summer fellowship," not "moving funds"). But, if you are accepted already, then I think you could ask.

 

As another example, when I was an undergrad, I worked for this professor for a couple of years. Finally, one of the secretaries in the office told me that I should ask for a raise. The thought never crossed my mind. But, I did, and my professor gave me a raise! It's kind of like, you'll never know if you don't ask, and the worst thing that could happen is that they say no.

Edited by NatureGurl
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