VII. Financial Support

The primary purpose of financial support is to recruit and retain high quality graduate students to UCSC. The most successful graduate departments strike a balance between recruitment and retention efforts. Departments are encouraged to communicate typical funding patterns and provide clear expectations of multi-year support packages for students using a combination of block grants, academic apprentice positions, and extramural and endowment funds.

Fellowship Support

Funds are awarded on the basis of merit and promise of productive scholarship. Types of awards and funding sources include centrally administered fellowships and departmental block grants. Block grants are allocated to departments in the fall and are based on enrollments. Fellowship funds can provide for any of the following: payment of fees and/or nonresident tuition or provision of a living stipend. A fellowship is any payment to a student that is not salary or direct reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses such as travel costs. Fellowships are normally processed and disbursed by the Graduate Division.


Students must be registered in the appropriate quarter to receive any financial support funds from the Graduate Division or the department. New students may not receive any University funds until they are registered in courses and fall quarter begins.

All domestic students should file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the current academic year. Information from the FAFSA is used to compile a "need analysis," which is used to determine fund sources for support packages.


Graduate Division processes all fellowship funds to graduate students (payment of fees, nonresident tuition and stipends). Departments notify the Graduate Division of all awards Students who receive a fee fellowship (payment of fees, including health insurance and/or nonresident tuition) have that fellowship credit applied to their AIS account.

Students who receive a stipend as part of a fellowship may receive a check or apply for direct deposit (Electronic Fund Transfer) through Student Business Services.

Before a stipend check or EFT can be disbursed to a graduate student, the student must be registered in courses for the quarter in which the check has been prepared and the student’s fees must be paid (either by the fellowship or by the student) for that quarter.

Departments frequently award students fellowships that include the full payment of fees. After those awards are made and reported to the Graduate Division, many students secure academic appointments that include fee remission benefits. When this occurs, the Graduate Division will automatically adjust the departmental fee payment award so that the student’s fees will not be overpaid.

When a department crafts financial award packages, the Graduate Division encourages provision of payment of fees or nonresident tuition, before awarding any stipend. Internal Revenue Service publications explain that, generally, candidates pursuing a degree can exclude from income payment of fees and tuition. Stipends, however, are taxable income.


All candidates for centrally administered fellowships for new students are nominated directly by the department. Awards are made by the Graduate Council and the Dean of Graduate Division.

In support of the campus goals of excellence and diversity, all nominations for central fellowships require strong evidence of the student’s ability to contribute to the UCSC academic community and research environment. All applicants for fellowships should provide evidence of present and future ability and accomplishments in their grade point average, research experience, and GRE scores as applicable, as well as in letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and personal statement.

Procedures for nominating students for diversity fellowships are the same as for other fellowships. All diversity fellowships are first and foremost merit-based. Students who are deemed to be academically meritorious are considered for awards based on merit, potential for success, experience of disadvantages, and contribution to diversity and equal opportunity in the academic community through their teaching, research, or service.

Applications for diversity fellowships should present evidence in their statement of purpose and personal statement of how they would qualify in at least one of the following ways:

Experience of situations or conditions that were an impediment to advancing to graduate study, such as no family history of college attendance; or matriculation in a school with poor financial or curricular support; having a physical or learning disability; or having worked long hours while attending school; or

Academic research interest focusing on cultural, societal, or educational problems as they affect educationally disadvantaged segments of society; or

Evidence of an intention to use the doctoral degree toward serving educationally underrepresented segments of society

Examples of Diversity Fellowship Criteria For fellowships in the Humanities:

Candidates whose research emphasizes issues such as diversity, multiculturalism, and communities underserved by traditional academic research.

Research which considers issues such as race, ethnicity, and/or gender as they relate to traditional academic fields is of particular interest. This includes research in such areas as community development, social justice, educational reform, economic development, public health and safety, and the dynamics of multicultural communities.

Within these general parameters, research that invigorates traditional disciplines by challenging conventional paradigms or by using innovative methodologies such as interdisciplinary and comparative approaches is of special interest.

For fellowships in Math, Engineering, Life Science, and Physical Science: Candidates who have participated in teaching, mentoring, or outreach programs that promote educational opportunities for underrepresented students in higher education. For example, individuals who have volunteered in K- 12 outreach programs or have served as mentors or tutors in programs designed to increase gender and racial diversity in mathematics, technology, engineering, and the sciences are of special interest.

Terms and Conditions

Students who receive University fellowships must be registered full time, devote full-time study to the field in which they receive the award, maintain continuous enrollment, remain in good academic standing, and maintain satisfactory academic progress.

U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible for nonresident tuition fellowships only for their first three quarters at UCSC. During their first year students should establish residency. For detailed information, please consult the Office of the Registrar.

Students must register each term they receive fellowship support.Students are not allowed to be on Leave of Absence or in Filing Fee status when receiving a fellowship. Fellowships are awards that enable students to spend the majority of their time studying.

It is anticipated that additional financial need should be minimal. The supplementation policy is designed primarily to ensure that excess service as an academic apprentice will not impede fellowship holders' graduate studies and to allow a distribution of University support funds among highly qualified students.

Financial Aid Support (Need Based)

Graduate students applying for aid through the financial aid office are eligible for Federal Direct Loans. To determine eligibility for a Federal Direct Subsidized Loan, a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, or a Graduate PLUS Loan, students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The FAFSA application can be submitted on-line at To guarantee an award before the fall bill due date, the FAFSA application must be submitted by the priority filing deadline of March 2nd and any additional requested documentation to the financial aid office by June 1st.

Note: The combination of graduate student loans, graduate fellowships, fee remissions, and health insurance awards cannot exceed the standard budget for the academic year. Graduate fellowship information is reported to the Financial Aid Office by the Graduate Division and updated periodically throughout the academic year. Your federal loan eligibility may change as the combined total of graduate awards with federal loans cannot exceed the budget for the academic year. Teaching assistantships and the GSR fee remission are also included in the information provided to the Financial Aid Office. Paychecks you receive from being a TA are not considered as estimated financial assistance for the current year. Wages earned in 2008 are reported as income on your 2008 tax return and on the 2009-10 FAFSA application.

Direct Loans

Under the Direct Loan Program, eligible graduate students may borrow up to a maximum of $22,500 per year.

Direct Unsubsidized loans begin accruing interest at the date of the first disbursement. Interest on the unsubsidized loan is fixed at 6.8%. You have the option to pay the interest as you go, or interest payments can be deferred until after graduation. This adds the interest payments to the loan balance, increasing the size and cost of the loan. All students that qualify for federal aid, regardless of need, are eligible for the Direct Unsubsidized Loan. Repayment for Unsubsidized loans begins six months after completion of the program.

Direct Unsubsidized loans begin accruing interest at the date of the first disbursement. Interest on the unsubsidized loan is fixed at 6.8%. You have the option to pay the interest as you go, or interest payments can be deferred until after graduation. This adds the interest payments to the loan balance, increasing the size and cost of the loan. All students that qualify for federal aid, regardless of need, are eligible for the Direct Unsubsidized Loan. Repayment for both the Subsidized and Unsubsidized loan begins six months after completion of the program.

Graduate PLUS Loans

Recent changes in federal legislation now permit graduate students to borrow through the Graduate PLUS Loan program. The Grad PLUS Loan allows graduate students to borrow up to the full cost of education minus other aid received. Interest on the Grad PLUS loan is fixed at 7.9%. Interest begins accruing as soon as the first disbursement is made. Payments on Grad PLUS Loans are deferred while enrolled at least half-time. Graduate students must exhaust their Direct Loan eligibility before a Grad PLUS Loan request will be processed.

For more information about the financial aid process, please visit the Financial Aid Office’s website at.

Extramural Funding

There are numerous federal and foundation fellowship opportunities for graduate students. All students should be encouraged to apply for extramural awards and to aggressively search the Internet for funding opportunities. In addition Graduate Division will regularly post fellowship opportunities on our web page as well as notify department of these funding opportunities.

Campus Employment

Departments will routinely hire graduate students to serve as Academic Student Employees (ASE) which include Teaching Assistants, Teaching Fellows, and Associate In positions. Interested students should either contact their department or visit the ASE Opportunities section of the Graduate Division web page.

Graduate students may also be hired as a Graduate Student Researcher. These positions involve conducting research with and for faculty members. Interested students should contact their faculty advisor.

Lastly Departments may also hire graduate students as Readers or Tutors. Interested students should contact their department.