17. Financial Support

17.1. Teaching Assistantships

Teaching assistantships are the chief source of financial support to our graduate students. In the summer, students may also work as TAs and advanced students are eligible to teach as Teaching Associates.

Please note that paychecks are issued at the end of the pay period. Thus, your first paycheck will not arrive until Nov. 1; the last paycheck arrives July 1. You may split your fall quarter salary into four payments, receiving checks Oct.1, Nov. 1, Dec. 1 and Jan. 1.  This option is only available for the fall quarter.  You need to contact the Graduate Program Assistant and fill out all employment paperwork prior to September 1 if you would like to take the 4 paycheck option for fall.  With a TAship, it is possible to defer payment of fees until the arrival of your first paycheck. Please contact the BARC office for this. Also, in emergencies, it is possible to borrow against your first paycheck. See 17.6, “emergency loans.”                                                   

The university limits TAships to 12 quarters, with exceptions allowed up to a maximum of 18 quarters. (Summer TAships are not counted in this tally.) Renewal of TAships is based on academic and pedagogical performance. Note: if a student’s GPA falls below 3.0, his/her TAship will be withdrawn, according to university policy, which supersedes any departmental contracts for a one-year TAship.

17.1.1. Graduate Student Academic Appointments

All students who receive academic appointment positions must maintain continuous enrollment and remain within normative time to degree. Students who have exceeded the time limit for completion of the master’s degree (four years) are not eligible to hold academic appointment positions, unless an exception is granted by the Graduate Division. For further information on the conditions of employment, see www.graddiv.ucsb.edu/handbook/

17.1.2. International students

International students must pass a TA Language Evaluation Exam. For more details see: www.graddiv.ucsb.edu/admissions/admitted-applicants/admitted-international-students

17.1.3. Selection of Teaching Assistants

Application Deadline: Potential appointments for Teaching Assistants for the subsequent academic year are confirmed in late spring.

Initial TA appointments are based on the applicant’s academic record and letters of recommendation. Reappointment depends on satisfactory progress toward the degree and evaluations by the graduate faculty, teaching supervisors, and students. Graduate students with incomplete grades may be disadvantaged in the competition for TAships (see 3.4). If a vacancy occurs during the academic year, the files of all eligible students will be considered in filling the position.

17.1.4. TA Training

The Comparative Literature Program encourages professional preparation and development of our graduate students by offering workshops to train new Teaching Assistants and enhance pedagogical excellence. Throughout the academic year, Comparative Literature runs a peer TA training program consisting of workshops where new TAs meet with experienced TAs.

17.2. Other Employment

Other employment may be available through readerships. For domestic students, any additional employment beyond a 50% TAship (up to a maximum of 75%) is possible only if they are making good progress to the degree. For international students, employment beyond 50% is only possible during winter break, spring break, and summer.

Graduate students may also be invited to teach during UCSB’s Summer Sessions, on a competitive basis. Please note that Summer TAships are subject to 9% FICA withholding, like most forms of employment in the U.S. (This is not the case, however, for TAships during the regular school year. Regular TA salary is “sheltered” from FICA because TA’s are considered primarily as students, not employees.)

17.3. Fellowships, Fee Remissions, etc.

17.3.1. The FAFSA

All domestic students who wish to be considered for any kind of financial aid, including TAships, fellowships, and loans, must file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) every year, between Jan. 1 and March 2. You can obtain paper applications in the Financial Aid Office, or can fill out the form online, at www.fafsa.ed.gov

Students who do not file the FAFSA by March 2 will not receive priority consideration for need-based aid.

17.3.2 Campus Fellowships

The Graduate Division’s website is the best source for information on both university and extramural fellowships. See www.graddiv.ucsb.edu/financial. Consideration for most fellowships is dependent upon being nominated by the department’s Admissions and Fellowships Committee, but certain fellowships and grants can be applied for by the student. You are urged to take the initiative and search the Graduate Division’s website, as described above.

Recipients of some UCSB fellowships (including Chancellor’s, Regents, Doctoral Scholars) have campus employment restrictions: the department may offer them one quarter of TAship only (considered 50% employment), with the option of an additional 50% position during another quarter. Such offers are at the discretion of the department.

Students who are beyond normative time, on probation, or have P-3 status cannot be considered for university fellowships.

17.3.3 Department Language Training and Travel Grants

The department will make every effort to make funds available for students to enroll in intensive language training abroad. Depending on academic performance and good standing as well as yearly budget, department travel funds to give a paper at a professional conference may be made available. Other funding resources include the Graduate Division/Academic Senate and the Graduate Center for Literary Research. Please ask the Chair or Faculty Graduate Advisor for details.

17.3.4 Extramural Fellowship

Advanced students are strongly encouraged to compete for extramural fellowships. The Graduate Division's website is the best source of information on Extramural Fellowships: http://www.graddiv.ucsb.edu/financial/extramural-funding

Again, take the initiative and search the database for appropriate sources of funding.

17.3.5. Partial Fee Remission

Teaching Assistants whose appointment is at least 25% time qualify for a partial fee remission and payment of health insurance.

Graduate students who are hired as Readers are eligible for partial fee remission if they work at least 100 hours (25% time) over the course of the quarter.

17.3.6 TA Fee Offset

The department makes every effort to pay the student’s campus-based fees. The TA partial fee remission pays the education and registration fees. (It does NOT pay nonresident tuition.)

17.3.7. Nonresident Tuition Fellowships

We have limited funding for nonresident tuition fellowships, made available to us by the Graduate Division. Awards may be made for full or partial payment of nonresident tuition, on a year-to-year basis. Tuition fellowships cover nonresident tuition costs only; recipients must still pay university fees (registration fee, education fee, and health insurance if not covered by a TAship). Tuition fellowships are awarded primarily to domestic out-of-state applicants (US citizens or permanent residents), who are expected to take steps immediately upon their arrival at UCSB to establish California residency. If the proper steps are taken, residency becomes effective one year later.

For our most competitive international students (who cannot establish California residency), the International Doctoral Recruitment Fellowship,* funded by our Graduate Division, pays in full the non-resident supplemental tuition beyond the first year and until the student advances to candidacy within normative time (which is to say for a period of nine registered quarters); when students are advanced to candidacy and are writing their dissertation, non-resident supplemental tuition fees are reduced by 100% for up to three years (or 9 quarters) from the date of advancement to candidacy. If you have not completed the degree within 3 years of advancement, non-resident tuition will revert to 100%, for which you will be responsible.

*As of winter 2015, the International Doctoral Recruitment Fellowship Program has been awarded to ALL incoming international doctoral students. The fellowship commences for the student’s fourth quarter of enrollment and continue until the student has advanced to candidacy, providing the student remains within the official time-to-advancement approved by the Graduate Council and advertised on the Graduate Division website.

17.3.8. Fellowship Payment

Most university fellowships will be credited directly to your BARC account, in 3 equal installments, at the beginning of the 3 quarters of the academic year. If there is a surplus after all fees have been paid, you may receive a stipend check, available shortly before the beginning of the quarter. Checks are available at the Cashier’s Office, 1212 SAASB.

17.4 Taxes

Fellowships that are paid directly for tuition and fees are not considered taxable income. Stipends used for other purposes are taxable income. Thus a student receiving a fellowship which includes a stipend, the payment of fees, and tuition, will pay taxes only on the stipend. A student receiving a stipend from which he or she is expected to pay fees and tuition will subtract those items and pay taxes on the remainder. Nonresident tuition fellowships, fee offsets, and travel grants are not taxable.

TA salaries are taxable. The amount you pay for tuition, fees, books, and course materials may not be deducted from this salary for tax purposes.

For international students, the University is required to withhold taxes at a rate of 14% for federal taxes and 5% for state taxes. All international students must bring their passports and complete a “statement of citizenship” when picking up a stipend at the beginning of fall quarter and again after Jan. 1, for the new calendar year. If you are from one of the countries listed below, which have tax treaties with the U.S., you can avoid having some of the 14% federal tax withheld. (For example, for students from those countries, the first $2,000 that you earn per calendar year is exempt from withholding; the remainder is subject to withholding, but may be refunded when you file income tax forms in March-April.)

Countries with Tax Treaties with the United States: Austria, Belgium, China, Cyprus, Egypt, Finland, France, Iceland, Japan, Korea, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Trinidad & Tobago, and the former USSR.

17.5. Deferral of Payment of Fees

Teaching Assistants may defer payment of fees until they receive their first paycheck of the quarter. Request a letter from the Graduate Program Assistant, and take it to the Cashier’s Office, 1212 Student Affairs Bldg. There is a $25 fee for deferrals.

17.6 Emergency Loans

Teaching Assistants can borrow against their first paycheck, starting on the first day of fall quarter. Request a letter from the Staff Graduate Advisor confirming that you are a TA, and take it to the Financial Aid Office. They will lend you one month’s TA salary, which is repaid in 3 installments, automatically deducted from your Nov. 1, Dec. 1, and Jan. 1 paychecks. A 1% interest fee is charged. For more information, see http://www.finaid.ucsb.edu/loans?filter=graduate.  Other small emergency loans may be available through the Alumni Association. If you have financial problems, you can discuss them with the Graduate Program Assistant.

17.7. Health Insurance and Student Health Services

Major medical health insurance is provided at no charge for all Teaching Assistants. For all other graduate students, enrollment in the Graduate Student Health Insurance Plan is automatic and part of the registration process. Students who can show evidence of comparable outside health insurance coverage can be exempt from this fee. The health insurance begins on the first day of the fall quarter and continues for one year, if the student is enrolled for all 3 quarters. Spouses and dependents are eligible for enrollment in the Graduate Student Health Insurance Plan, for a fee. Details and an application form are in the GSHIP handbook distributed at the beginning of Fall Quarter, or on the Student Health Services website:


For minor illnesses and injuries, go to the campus Student Health Service center. There is an annual deductible; after it is met, basic services are free for the rest of the plan year. A co-payment is charged for the eye clinic, the dental clinic, and physical therapy. For details, consult the website listed above, the SHS brochure or call 893-5361. To make an appointment you can call (805) 893-3371 or go to https://studenthealthoc.sa.ucsb.edu/login_dualauthentication.aspx. Except in emergencies, you should go to the SHS center first; they will refer you elsewhere if necessary. If you are outside of a 50-mile radius of Santa Barbara, you can seek medical attention wherever available, but you must notify SHS no later than 72 hours (3 days) after receiving treatment, if the expenses are to be covered by your health insurance policy. For local emergencies or for major medical problems, your policy covers treatment at Goleta Valley Community Hospital and at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Again, notify SHS within 72 hours if you sought attention elsewhere.