Funding FAQs

Here you’ll find answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about graduate fellowships, scholarships, and financial aid at UCLA Graduate Programs.

APPLYING FOR FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR GRADUATE SCHOOL

What types of graduate financial support are available?

Graduate financial support based solely on financial need is provided, in the form of loans, grants, and—on a limited basis—work-study employment, from the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office. Students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. For more information, contact the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office at A-129J Murphy Hall, (310) 206-0400.

Graduate financial support based on merit is available in the form of fellowships, traineeships, teaching assistantships, and graduate student researcher positions. These awards are open to all graduate students—U.S. citizens, permanent residents, students granted deferred action under the government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and international students—who have demonstrated high academic achievement. For more information, refer to the Financial Support for Entering Graduate Students or Graduate Student Financial Support on the Graduate Division website and contact your departmental graduate affairs coordinator.

What are the deadlines for applying for graduate financial support?

The deadline for graduate loans and work-study funding available through the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office is March 2. The deadline for entering graduate students to apply for other forms of support is December 15. Departments should be consulted for exceptions. The campus deadlines for enrolled graduate students to apply for fellowships vary by program. View the Graduate Student Financial Support booklet for specific dates. Consult your department for exceptions.

How is Graduate Division funding distributed?

The Graduate Division allocates funding directly to graduate programs, which in turn select fellowship recipients through their faculty fellowship selection committees based on academic merit. Departments inform the Graduate Division of those students who have been chosen to receive awards for the next academic year, and the Graduate Division sends offers of support to those recipients. Graduate tuition, fee and nonresident tuition fellowships are credited directly to students’ BAR accounts, and graduate fellowship living allowances (stipends) are issued as direct deposits if the student is enrolled in Bruin Direct.  If not, the stipend is issued as a check and mailed to the address on file with the Registrar’s Office.

How does a graduate student apply for extramural fellowships?

Extramural graduate funding originates from non-UCLA sources, such as federal agencies and private  organizations. Most extramural graduate fellowships require an application submitted directly to the sponsoring organization. Applications for some extramural graduate fellowships are available in Graduate Fellowships & Financial Services in 1228 Murphy Hall.

The Graduate Division publishes an online database called Graduate and Postdoctoral Educational Support (GRAPES), which lists the more commonly sought graduate fellowships that are available from non-UCLA sources. In addition, Graduate Fellowships & Financial Services maintains a small library of reference materials on extramural graduate funding.

Does getting extramural graduate funding affect a student’s support from UCLA?

Graduate students may not hold two major awards at the same time. When a student receives extramural funding, the amount of supplementary UCLA support is usually subject to limits. Contact Graduate Fellowships & Financial Services in 1228 Murphy Hall, (310) 825-1025, for details.

Is funding available for graduate student conference travel, research expenses and/or professional development?

Each new and continuing doctoral student will be provided up to $1,000 total reimbursement that can be used, in whole or in part, at any time through the student’s seventh year in the doctoral program, as long as the student and the activities meet the eligibility requirements.

GRADUATE AWARD DISBURSEMENT

How and when do graduate students get their fellowship money?

Graduate student fee and tuition awards will automatically apply toward registration and tuition fees. Graduate student fellowship payments are sent to students’ local mailing addresses, held for pickup, or direct-deposited one to two weeks before the start of the fall or spring term. Winter funds are disbursed on January 1, and may take about one week to be reimbursed. Monthly payments should arrive by the first day of the month. Questions regarding graduate fellowship check disbursement may be directed to Graduate Fellowships & Financial Services, 1228 Murphy Hall, (310) 825-1025.

Where should graduate students go with questions regarding BruinBill and graduate award payments?

Graduate Fellowships & Financial Services at 1228 Murphy Hall will answer questions relating to BAR and disbursement of graduate award payments. BruinBill questions regarding Financial Aid awards (e.g., need-based grants) should be directed to the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office at A129J Murphy Hall, and questions regarding loans should be directed to the Student Loan Office at A227 Murphy Hall.

Can I as a graduate student view online my financial information, scheduled payments, and direct deposits?

Yes. Using MyUCLA, you can review your BruinBill; your scheduled graduate financial aid, fellowships, remissions, and other awards; and the actual dates and amounts of your checks and direct deposits. In addition, you can check to see if you have holds on your account that are preventing the disbursement of your graduate support funds, and you can ensure that all required financial documents have been completed for the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office and the Graduate Fellowships & Financial Services Office.

Do graduate students have to pay taxes on fellowships?

Graduate fellowship stipend income is taxed differently than most other types of income you may have encountered in the past. Amounts spent on fees, tuition, or required course expenses are not taxable. However, the portion of graduate fellowship stipend income you spend on items other than fees, tuition, and required course expenses will likely be considered taxable by the IRS. Graduate students who are U.S. citizens and permanent residents  and who are also California residents (for tax purposes) do not have taxes withheld from their fellowship stipend checks. Nonetheless, these individuals may be required to make estimated quarterly tax payments and to report the income on their tax returns.

Foreign graduate students and those who live outside of California and file tax returns as California nonresidents will have state and/or federal taxes withheld directly from their checks.

Information about fellowship taxation is available in IRS Publication 970, “Tax Benefits for Education,” available for download from the IRS website. Another IRS publication available from the same website offers information on paying estimated tax when your residency status does not permit the tax to be withheld directly from your check: Publication 505, “Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax.”

Who can answer tax questions concerning graduate fellowships?

Students are advised to retain “Offer of Graduate Student Support” agreements, fellowship and traineeship offer letters, BruinBill monthly statements, payroll wage stubs, and other documents and receipts related to graduate fellowship stipends and course expenses.

View Tax Information and Forms for UCLA Award Recipients information about UCLA fellowship tax withholding and reporting.

ACADEMIC APPRENTICE PERSONNEL

What are the responsibilities of a teaching assistant or graduate student researcher?

TAs supervise assignments in small discussion and lab sections of undergraduate courses. GSRs assist faculty members with scholarly research and may or may not collaborate in the publication of research results. For more information view the Academic Apprentice Personnel Manual.

Are academic apprentice appointees eligible for benefits?

Academic apprentice appointees are eligible for fee deferrals, medical insurance, fee remissions and TA Advance Loan checks. For details on these benefits consult the Academic Apprentice Personnel Manual.

What are the requirements graduate apprentices must meet to receive fee remissions?

The following standards must be met in order for graduate students to receive apprentice fee remissions: (1) Students must register and enroll by the third week of the quarter (registration and enrollment must also be maintained throughout the quarter); (2) appointment(s) must total 25% time or more for the quarter; (3) students must work hours equivalent to 25% time in apprentice titles in a given quarter (usually 106-110 hours); (4) graduate students are expected to enroll in at least 12 units to receive health insurance and fee remissions. In addition, graduate students must maintain a 3.0 GPA to be appointed as an apprentice and may not work more than 12 quarters as a TA or more than 18 quarters in all apprentice titles combined.

Where can I find more information on academic apprentice opportunities?

Anticipated graduate student employee openings for the academic year are available online on the Academic Student Employees (ASE) Appointment Opportunities page.