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Student Funding|Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

MFA student support funding, scholarships, residencies, travel, publication, and other opportunities

Various funding opportunities are available from our program as well as from the English Department and other departments (check out the Office of Student Financial Aid for potential university-wide resources).

The MFA program is committed to funding each student as fully as possible: starting in 2008, we began admitting fully-funded classes.  Beyond assistantships, each student in our program is given a stipend for the summer between their first and second year; and an annual amount of student support funding that students may use in support of their creative efforts, towards travel, research, MFA Projects, and personal publication efforts.  The English department also has an application process for support, as well as emergency funds for students in need.  The English department will announce its processes and deadlines for such requests each year—please keep a close eye on the English website for details.

Whenever a student wishes to tap their annual MFA support funds, they should prepare a brief proposal with an itemized estimated budget attached (use this form).  This proposal should be given to the MFA director for approval. Students may use these funds broadly in support of their creative work.  Funds may be used in support of writing time and writing-related travel; research, supplies, and equipment needs; MFA Projects; publication efforts (contest fees, manuscript printing, etc); and/or professional development (PhD application fees or conference attendance, for example).  It’s up to each student to decide how they’d like to apportion their annual support funding (a student could use it all towards travel, for example, or use part for professional development and part for publication support—whatever uses are most creatively productive for the individual).  We ask students to help us keep careful track of their individual, ongoing use of these funds, and we encourage thoughtful planning in advance.  Requests must be mindful of fiscal year deadlines—please work well in advance with the director and staff if a request will fall near the end of the fiscal year or across the fiscal year deadline.  Students graduating in the spring semester must make any final funding requests before April 1st of that year; students graduating in the fall semester must make any final funding requests before November 1st; students graduating in the summer must make final requests before June 1st.  Funds must be used before the date of a student's graduation (you must be an enrolled UW student to access these funds; funds cannot be granted for activities and needs that fall beyond the date of a student's graduation).  Except in rare circumstances or in the case of equipment purchases, students can access funds only through reimbursement (not through advance payment). The annual support figure will vary from year to year dependent upon program resources, and the MFA director will keep students apprised of how much is available to them each year.

MFA students in their second year are offered week-long writing residencies at the Shortgrass Steppe research station in Northern Colorado. The residencies give students space, time, and quiet in a beautiful landscape where they can work on their thesis projects. The MFA program covers the housing costs associated with the use of Shortgrass. The MFA program associate and director will organize the residencies each winter.

Guidelines, directions, and rules for the Shortgrass residencies.

Our program also actively helps students seek funding opportunities once they've arrived in the program, and we regularly collaborate with students on grant applications for research, travel, and writing support.  Our students have consistent success in the competitions for English department scholarships, ENR Program grants, and coveted Arts and Sciences Independent Study Awards that support summer writing projects (previous winning MFA proposals include studies of pronghorn migration in the Tetons; state fair and carnival culture in the Midwest; the science of taxonomy and the culture of natural history museums in American and Europe; and southern towns destroyed by and recovering from tornados). MFA students have traveled, with program and university grant support, across the US and abroad to Mexico, China, Latvia, Iceland, Uzbekistan, France, Spain, England, Lebanon, Poland, Israel, Romania, Norway, Uruguay, Germany, Indonesia and elsewhere.

Each year the program also collaborates with the Ucross Foundation to award one graduating student a writing residency at Ucross.  The program director will oversee the application process each winter.

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