VII. Financial Support

The primary purpose of financial support is to recruit and retain high quality graduate students from diverse backgrounds to attend 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, employment as a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI), Teaching Assistant, and/or a Graduate Student Researchers, and extramural and endowment funds.

Fellowship Support

Funds are awarded for a variety of fellowships 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, who in-turn determine how they are distributed. Fellowship and block grant funds can provide for payment of fees and/or nonresident tuition, and/or a living stipend. A fellowship is any payment to a student that is not employment-based salary or direct reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses such as travel costs. Fellowships are normally processed and disbursed by the Graduate Division.


Financial support is contingent on the student being and remaining in good academic, student conduct, enrollment, and employment standing.

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. Per the Financial Aid Office, due to federal regulations, eligible financial aid disbursements are applied to students' accounts no earlier than 10 business days prior to the start of instruction.

All students who wish to apply for Federal and/or State Aid Programs must file the Free Application for federal student aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) if eligible.


The 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 MyUCSC 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.

Nomination for UCSC Fellowships

All candidates for UCSC campus-administered fellowships are nominated directly by the department. Awards are made by the Graduate Council and the Dean of Graduate Studies.

In support of the campus goals of excellence and diversity, all nominations for UCSC 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 based on their academic records, evidence of research achievement and promise, letters of recommendation, statements of purpose, and personal statements. Some UCSC fellowship programs also focus on enhancing diversity in overcoming barriers and/or addressing societal challenges in equity. Please see program descriptions and annual calls for applications for specific criteria and requirements. 

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 student conduct and 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 actively working towards their degrees.

​​Per Graduate Division policy, students are generally not allowed to hold multiple year-long fellowships concurrently.  Students also need Graduate Division approval to accept campus employment as a TA, GSR, etc. at 25% or more while receiving full fellowship support.

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. 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 received from being a TA are not considered as estimated financial assistance for the current year. For example, wages earned in 2023 are reported as income on a 2023 tax return and on the 2024-25 FAFSA application.

Direct Loans

If a student is enrolled as a graduate or professional student, they can borrow up to $20,500 each year in Direct Unsubsidized Loans. Direct PLUS Loans can also be used for the remainder of the college costs, as determined by this campus, not covered by other financial aid.

Direct Unsubsidized loans begin accruing interest at the date of the first disbursement. Interest on the unsubsidized loan is fixed at 6.54%. Students 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.

Graduate PLUS Loans

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 currently fixed at 7.54%. 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 for funding opportunities. In addition, the Graduate Division will regularly notify departments of funding opportunities. Graduate students in some disciplines are supported as Graduate Student Researchers (GSRs) based on extramural funding secured by faculty and researchers.

Campus Employment

Departments will routinely hire graduate students to serve as Academic Student Employees (ASE) which include Teaching Assistants (TAs), 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 (GSR). These employment positions involve conducting research with and/or for faculty members or researchers. Interested students should contact their faculty advisor.

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

Financial support in the form of employment (i.e. TA or GSR appointments) is subject to maintaining valid authorization to work for the duration of the employment period as required by federal law. Failure to maintain a valid authorization to work makes the student ineligible for employment. Receipt of salary and continued TA or GSR appointments is also conditioned on satisfactory completion of all employment obligations outlined in the appointment letter for each quarter. Students should contact their department and/or advisor with questions concerning employment.