- Definition of financial aid; fellowships,
assistantships, and scholarships described.
- Application forms.
- Process of recommendation.
- Origin of awards.
- Coordination of aid award.
- Notification of award.
- Limits of aid.
- Questions concerning aid.
1. Definition of financial aid; fellowships, assistantships, and scholarships described.
Each year the Nonfiction Writing Program is able to recommend that most of its students receive financial aid in the form of fellowships, scholarships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships. The term "financial aid" refers only to the kinds of fellowships, scholarships, and assistantships listed below and does not apply to other forms of financial assistance, such as loans, available through the University of Iowa and other sources. The following kinds of financial aid are available to MFA students in the NWP:
- Teaching Assistantships: Teaching assistantships are the predominate form of financial aid in the NWP. An appointment to teach three courses for the academic year is referred to as a half-time teaching assistantship. A teaching assistant (TA) usually teaches in the Rhetoric Department and less frequently in the General Education Program for the Department of English. In their third year, TAs may have an appointment devoted, in whole or in part, to teaching an elective nonfiction writing course for advanced undergraduates. A quarter-time or more appointment qualifies a TA for resident tuition.
- Research Assistantships: Research assistantships at one-third time or more are periodically available with The Iowa Review or Philological Quarterly. Other RAs, usually quarter time, may become available when the department identifies a faculty member who needs assistance with a research project. A quarter-time or more RA qualifies for resident tuition.
- Iowa Arts Tuition Scholarships (IATS): The IATS are supplements offered to six students each year to cover two years of tuition expenses. These are usually the first six students for whom we are able to secure a TA or RA appointment. An IATS presumes such an appointment so that the recipient qualifies for in-state tuition.
- Graduate Merit Fellowships (GMF): GMFs are two-year awards from the Graduate College given to a small number of highly talented applicants from underrepresented populations. GMFs cover tuition and fees and offer a stipend similar to that of a half-time TA. Usually a GMF holder is offered an appointment as an RA or TA in the second or third year so that he or she may receive maximum support throughout the program.
2. Application forms.
Financial Aid application forms are available in 329 EPB from the Secretary for Graduate Studies in English. Anyone interested in receiving financial aid for the next academic year, including individuals who already hold some form of financial aid, must apply by the January 15 deadline. (A Financial Aid Application is included with the graduate study application for those who are submitting an initial application for study.)
3. Process of recommendation.
All financial aid recommendations are made
by the program's committee on admissions
and financial aid.
- For a student applying to renew financial aid, the recommendation is made on the basis of the applicant's having remained in good standing with the Nonfiction Writing Program. For GMFs who are not also holding teaching or research assistantships, good standing means having successfully completed at least nine semester hours each semester and demonstrating normal progress toward the degree; for TAs and RAs, good standing means having successfully completed at least six hours each semester (or more if required by the department or program supervising the assistantship) and again demonstrating progress toward the degree. Applicants must also submit a piece of literary nonfiction written during the last calendar year.
It has long been the policy of the program to recommend the renewal of financial aid if the above conditions have been met.
- For students in the program who do not already hold financial aid, the recommendation is made on relative merit. Such applicants must also submit a piece of nonfiction written during the last calendar year.
4. Origin of awards.
All fellowship awards are made by the Graduate College, although application for them will have been initiated by the NWP.
Assistantships, too, are officially offered by the department where the teaching or research or editing will take place, although, again, the Admissions and Aid Committee of the NWP will have recommended candidates for each position.
5. Coordination of aid award.
After all applicants have been considered by the our committee, the director of the NWP consults with the Dean of the Graduate College, the Chair of the Department of English, the director of the teaching program in Rhetoric, and the directors of General Education and of the undergraduate writing program in English to match as closely as possible the program's recommendations with available fellowships and assistantships.
6. Notification of award.
All applicants are notified by letter of their status by the NWP. The Graduate College, the Rhetoric Department, and the Department of English are responsible for officially offering awards and assistantships.
7. Limits of aid.
Our expectation is to offer three years of half-time aid to as many students as possible. Occasionally, aid might marginally exceed half time if, for example, in the second or third year, one proved particularly well suited for additional work, such as helping orient and train incoming TAs. While it is true that RA appointments rarely match the support offered for equal appointments in Rhetoric or General Education, our overall goal, nevertheless, is to spread out the aid as evenly as possible and come as close as we can to offering three years of half-time support to everyone.
8. Questions concerning aid.
Questions concerning financial aid should
be addressed to the director of the Nonfiction
Writing Program, 308 EPB, The Department
of English, University of Iowa, Iowa City,