Funding at UC Davis BAE

Graduate Student Funding

NOTE: There have been recent updates to the ASE, GSR and Postdoc contracts due to the bargaining agreements ratified in late December 2022.  This website is NOT YET updated with the new information.  Please visit the Graduate Studies website for the most up-to-date information, FAQs regarding the new contract, salary rates, and academic employment.

Overview

There are several ways to be funded at UC Davis, but most graduate students in GBSE are funded through a combination of fellowships and academic appointments. Typically funding discussions start at the time of admission, although the offer of admission and the offer of financial support are separate processes so it is possible that some students will not receive a financial offer prior to starting (especially true for MS students). If you do not receive an initial financial offer that does not mean that you won’t have funding while here, as you can work to find appointments in positions listed below upon your arrival. Though there is no guarantee of funding for our students, the majority of our students receive full or partial funding with over 90% of our doctorate students having historically received full funding for their degree, which includes in-state tuition, out-of-state fees, health insurance, and a living stipend. Additionally, over 60% of our master's students have historically received full funding for their degree, with an additional 20% receiving partial funding. Still, we highly encourage students to be proactive in seeking funding opportunities outside our department and campus to maximize funding opportunities. 

If you are funded, your Major Professor is generally responsible for coordinating your funding, and letting the various staff members know what the funding plan is (and students should be in communication with their Major Professor as well). It is highly recommend you have frequent and open conversations about your funding with your faculty so you understand the funding source, funding level, funding duration, and work expectations associated with your funding plan. We also encourage the use of the BAE Student Support Planning Worksheet for this purpose.

All funding is contingent on eligibility to receive the funding (more information and links below). Generally, eligibility includes: legal status to work and/or receive fellowships, prerequisites (such as TA orientation), full time enrollment, GPA, good standing, and satisfactory progress. In BAE, students can work between 25-50% during the academic year, and up to 100% in summer. Often times, graduate students will seek both Academic Employment and Fellowships (and potential loans as well). This ensures that all costs, not just tuition, are paid for including books, housing, food, etc. There are a number of resources available for graduate students seeking funding for their degrees through the Graduate Studies Website.

Students are responsible for staying on top of their funding plans. It is highly recommend that students check their account balances/paychecks at least once a month, and always check their MyBill account well in advance of the graduate student final fee payment deadline. We also highly recommend students check in with their faculty member about their funding each quarter so they can understand how they are being funded. Mistakes do happen, and when students ask questions and bring issues to the awareness of the staff, those mistakes can usually be fixed quickly.


Types of Funding

Academic Employment

Many graduate students work in academic appointments known as Teaching Assistants (TAs), Readers, or Graduate Student Researchers (GSRs) while pursuing their degree. Academic appointments 25% or greater come with partial or full fee remission (depending on appointment type) in addition to a salary. Students must be legally eligible to work to hold an academic appointment, and meet general eligibility requirements

  • Graduate Student Researcher (GSR)
  • A Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) participates in a faculty member’s research project during the academic and summer quarters. Typically the research is in conjunction with the student’s M.S. or Ph.D. thesis work. GSR positions are appointed directly by the faculty. Faculty obtain funding for these positions from externally-funded research grants or contracts. Students are encouraged to consult with faculty members working in their field of interest concerning availability of GSR positions. In order to take advantage of GSR opportunities, it is extremely important that students contact faculty in their area as soon as possible. GSR positions are more common for Ph.D. and M.S. plan-I (thesis) students.

    Benefits: GSR positions pay a salary, and also provide full tuition and fee remission (in-state and NRST). 

    Limitations: Students may work a maximum of 21 academic quarters (excluding summer sessions) in research titles.

    More information about GSRs can be found here.

  • Teaching Assistant (TA)
  • A teaching assistant (TA) position is available for registered graduate students in full-time residence serving under the supervision of a faculty member. TAs are responsible for conducting discussion sections, holding office hours and grading homework. A TA is responsible for participating in regular class, as well as their discussion section. The purpose of this rule is to ensure responsibilities such as proctoring or grading exams are shared equally among fellow teaching assistants. As a TA, you will be asked to administer midterms and finals for lectures, and be asked to hold extra office hours during midterms and finals. TA positions are appointed directly by the course instructor, after completing the BAE TA/Reader Application. More information about becoming a TA for BAE can be found here.

    It is highly recommended you apply for TA and Reader positions with other departments. You can look for position listings in Handshake, or check individual departments' websites for more information on how to apply for TA and Reader positions with other departments. Our students have been hired in other departments -- math, physics, statistics, chemistry and design -- as well as various departments in the humanities and social sciences depending on that student's background.

    Eligibility: In addition to general eligibility requirements, students who wish to be a TA during their studies at UC Davis must attend the TA Orientation. This is offered by campus each fall. There may be in the winter and spring, but you are encouraged to sign up in the fall. Additionally, depending on your undergraduate degree, TOEFL and/or IELTS scores, TAs need to fulfill the TA/AI Language Proficiency Requirement (receiving a waiver for the TOEFL at time of admission does not automatically qualify you for a waiver of this requirement). Please be sure to read the policy on Language Proficiency Requirements for Appointment of Students to Teaching Assistant and Associate In __ Titles.

    Benefits: TA positions pay a salary, and provide partial in-state fee remission (does not cover ~$196.96 of campus-based fees; full in-state fee remission expected starting Fall 2023). TA and Reader positions do NOT cover the Nonresidential Supplemental Tuition (NRST; also called out-of-state tuition).
     

    Limitations: Students may work a maximum of 18 academic quarters (excluding summer sessions) in teaching titles.

    More information about TAs can be found here.

  • Readers
  • The title “Reader” is given to a student employee who provides various services as a course assistant, such as grading student papers and examinations. A reader does not have the same responsibilities as a teaching assistant and will not be assigned the responsibilities of leading discussion or laboratory sections. A student may not serve as a Reader in a course in which he or she is enrolled. 

    Benefits: Reader positions pay a salary, and provide partial in-state fee remission (does not cover ~$196.96 of campus-based fees; full in-state fee remission expected starting Fall 2023). TA and Reader positions do NOT cover the Nonresidential Supplemental Tuition (NRST; also called out-of-state tuition).
     

    Limitations: Students may work a maximum of 18 academic quarters (excluding summer sessions) in teaching titles.

    More information about Readers can be found here.

  • Associate Instructor (AI)

  • AI appointments are assigned to graduate students of excellent scholarship and teaching promise, who is temporarily employed as the instructor of an entire lower division course or group of students in a lower division course. AIs are in charge of instruction for the course, and for supervision of Teaching Assistants. An AI is employed at 50% and receives the same tuition remissions as a TA. AI appointments require Academic Senate Committee on Courses approval and must meet additional eligibility requirements. AI positions are rare in BAE. 

    Eligibility: In addition to general eligibility requirements, students who are selected to be an AI during their studies at UC Davis must have a Master's degree or completed 30 units of graduate work and one year teaching experience, including any time served as a TA are required to hold and AI position. ate degree, TOEFL and/or IELTS scores, TAs need to fulfill the TA/AI Language Proficiency Requirement (receiving a waiver for the TOEFL at time of admission does not automatically qualify you for a waiver of this requirement). Please be sure to read the policy on Language Proficiency Requirements for Appointment of Students to Teaching Assistant and Associate In __ Titles.

    Benefits: TA positions pay a salary, and provide partial in-state fee remission (does not cover ~$196.96 of campus-based fees; full in-state fee remission expected starting Fall 2023). TA and Reader positions do NOT cover the Nonresidential Supplemental Tuition (NRST; also called out-of-state tuition).

    Limitations: Students may work a maximum of 18 academic quarters (excluding summer sessions) in teaching titles.

    More information about AIs can be found here.

Fellowships

Fellowships are highly prestigious financial support packages that typically include a stipend, tuition remission, and a subsidy for medical insurance and they can derive from University (Departmental or Campus) or outside awards. Most fellowships are merit-based and require students to apply, but others are need-based and require students to complete a FAFSA. Fellowships may be disbursed in the form of tuition payments (funds paid directly toward the tuition costs), as stipend payments (funds paid out to the student), or a combination of the two. Typically, fellowships are funds that do not have to paid back and, unlike academic employment, they do not have required instruction or research responsibilities. Students must meet eligibility requirements to receive a fellowship.

  • Departmental Fellowships
  • Incoming Student Fellowships:
    Most incoming students are considered for departmental fellowships at the time of admission. These fellowships, in combination with major professor support, will often make up your initial financial offer of support extended to you once admitted to our program. Departmental fellowships for incoming students are decided on by our Admissions Committee, in consultation with the Graduate Program Chair. Our faculty generally take all their students and other funding into consideration as they allocate the department fellowships, and these fellowship funds are often combined with other funding. Our departmental fellowships are also sometimes called GPFA, MEIP, or Block Grant. The deadline for incoming students to be considered for departmental fellowships is the GBSE application priority deadline of January 15.
    Continuing Student Fellowships:
    All eligible continuing graduate students are considered for departmental fellowships. The calls for these fellowship will be sent via email throughout the year.
  • Campus Fellowships
  • There are hundreds of fellowships available to UC Davis graduate students, but the application process differs for incoming and continuing students. Please read below for more information about each demographic's opportunities. 

    Incoming Student Fellowships:
    All new students who applied by the fellowship deadline, January 15, are considered for the Campus Prospective Student Fellowships automatically with your application. A few select students will be nominated by the department for campus-level fellowships, which are extremely competitive.
    Continuing Student Fellowships:
    Continuing students are HIGHLY encouraged to apply for campus-level fellowships each fall – I strongly encourage you take the time to see which of these you are eligible for. A list of available fellowships is on the Graduate Studies. The general deadline for continuing students to be considered for campus fellowships is January 15. Other campus fellowships may be sent to continuing students by email with their own deadlines and application requirements.
  • External Fellowships
  • External fellowships are those offered by private foundations, government agencies, and corporations.  A variety of support is given, from one-time awards to multi-year support. You are strongly encouraged to apply for external fellowships on your own – information can be found here.

    Your faculty members can be a great source of help in thinking about which external fellowships to apply for. You are always encouraged to talk to your mentors about this. You can also keep a look out for external grants that you or your PI could apply for. If you help your PI find a fun grant, you might be able to work on it too!

    Graduate Studies also lists several search engines that can be useful in finding external fellowships. Also, the Office of Research have developed a video tutorial for getting started with the Pivot database. It can be accessed by following this link and clicking the "Search a Comprehensive Funding Database" dropdown option. 

Loans and Financial Aid

We aim to support our students so they can graduate with little to no debt. Loans and other forms of financial aid are available through the Financial Aid Office.

  • FAFSA/California Dream Act Application

  • All students eligible to fill out the FAFSA or the California Dream Act Application should fill it out EVERY YEAR. There are a few awards each year—as well as work/study opportunities—that require these applications.  More information can be found here.

  • Work Study

  • Work study for graduate students is a way for a student to be hired as a GSR that yields a cost savings for the hirer. In BAE, faculty apply for our departments allocated work study on behalf of their students, but can only do so if the student in question has demonstrated need (FAFSA).

  • Campus Fee Grant

  • Many students who complete the FAFSA will be offered a Campus Fee Grant and loans through financial aid. The UC Davis Campus Fee Grant is the only grant administered by the Graduate Financial Aid Office. It is a need-based award for students who establish and maintain sufficient financial need.  Please note, Campus Fee Grant funding is not guaranteed. The Graduate Financial Aid Office strongly recommends that every FAFSA filing student report all anticipated external and academic funding (Grants, Fellowships, TA ships, GSR’s etc.) to their office so they can accurately determine your financial aid eligibility. For example, if a Campus Fee Grant is paid to you for fall quarter and you receive a large amount of new fellowship funding in the winter quarter, you may have to repay the fall Campus Fee Grant. If you have any questions about the Campus Fee Grant, please contact the Graduate Financial Aid Office.


Getting Paid

  • Direct Deposit
  • You are HIGHLY encouraged to sign up for direct deposit. You should do this twice: (1) for payroll (academic appointments) through UC Path, and (2) for student refunds through MyBill on the refunds tab.

    If you do not enroll in direct deposit:
    - Paychecks (for academic appointments) will be mailed on payday to the address on file (not necessarily your current address).
    - Fellowship stipend checks will be available to pick up at student accounting during regular business hours. 

  • Getting Started (first pay day)
  • Salary for academic appointments are paid in arrears (at the end of the month worked). If you are funded for fall quarter as a TA or GSR, the first payment (academic appointment salary) is generally November 1 (readers are biweekly-see below). 

    Some students may qualify for an emergency loan, short-term loan, graduate assistant loan, or the fall quarter graduate transition loan through the financial aid office to assist with your financial needs until payday.

    Starting in 2021, the fall fellowship has been shifted into 4 disbursement dates to allow earlier payment.

  • Pay Day

  • Academic Appointments

    For academic appointments (TA, Reader, GSR), you can look at the Payday Notice Calendar.

    Note: TA and GSR’s receive monthly pay. Readers receive biweekly pay (UNLESS you are a reader and a TA or GSR in the same quarter—then you will be paid monthly.)

    Your employment verification and the paychecks can be viewed in UC Path.

    Note: The paycheck is only available to “view” in UCPath a few days before payday. Check the “Processing Schedule” calendar from the above website for the “Pay statements on UC Path” date if you are really interested.

    SPECIFIC TO READERSHIP: you MUST fill out and submit a timesheet, OR YOU WILL NOT BE PAID. Readers are paid based on the number of hours submitted. For a 25% appointment, the department expects you to have a timesheet of about 10 hours per week (120 hours total). We ask that you manage your actual work time understanding there will be ebbs and flows in the quarter; the Graduate Program Coordinator will send out more guidance to readers at the beginning of each quarter. This is because your supervisor approving your timesheet is not the faculty member for the course you are working for, and we plan your funding based on the salary of a 120 hour/quarter position.

    Fellowships

    Stipends for internal fellowships are entered in the Banner Student Information System and routed through Student Accounting. The disbursement calendar can be found here (second half of the page).
    Note: after stipends have been entered, the stipend amounts, and refunds as they post, can be viewed in MyBill.


Other Important Funding Information and Terms

  • Graduate Student Final Fee Payment Deadline
  • You may get reminders about paying you fees early every quarter - most "fee payment deadlines" are Undergraduate deadlines.  Be sure to pay attention to when the Graduate Student Final Fee Payment Deadline is each quarter - you will find those dates on the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar
  • Graduate Studies Emergency Grant Program
  • The Graduate Studies Emergency Grant Program provides support for graduate students experiencing unexpected challenges that impede their progress toward their degrees. Examples include:
    - Medical, dental, or other health emergencies  
    - Accidents and unexpected events such as natural disasters.
    - Expenses associated with family emergencies such as death in the immediate family

    Grants are for the direct use of enrolled students in academic graduate programs, including international and undocumented students, and their dependents.  Please visit the Graduate Studies Emergency Grant Program website for more information and to apply.

  • UC Path

  • UCPath is the payroll system for UC Davis. Your first point of contact for issues related to UC Path is the hiring department.  

  • BFTV Cluster Human Resources and Payroll Team

  • The shared-services HR unit our department uses is the BFTV Cluster Human Resources and Payroll Team. They are important when it comes to academic appointment positions (GSR, TA, Reader), and are positioned in between the department and UCPath.

    Payroll Personnel Assistance

    bftvpay@ucdavis.edu
    - Employment Actions, including Payroll Personnel System (UCPath) entries (new hires, salary actions, appointment changes, separations)
    - Payroll Time Sheets – online Time sheets
    - Student Vacancy Listings

  • Fee Remission

  • Academic appointments come with an employment benefit called fee remission. Depending on the type of employment, you may receive full or partial fee remission. More information is here.

  • Tax Resources

  • Student Accounting Tax Information
    GSA Legal, Patient, and Taxes
    Students in VITA UC Davis

Funding Related Systems and Who To Ask

Generally speaking, the key people involved with your funding will be:

  • Your Major Professor/ PI
  • Your departmental Account Manager (if you are hired on a grant or are spending money from a grant)
  • The Graduate Program Coordinator

Sometimes, staff from Financial Aid, Student Accounting, Graduate Studies (the entity responsible for coordinating internal and external fellowships), UC Path, and others will be involved.

The Graduate Program Coordinator is a good first point of contact for most questions related to funding rules/policy, funding and payment issues, what you see on your bill, fee remission policies, etc.

UC Davis has three separate accounting systems: the Banner Student Information System (SIS), the Payroll System (UCPath), and the Kuali Financial System (KFS). Each of these three financial systems is used to deliver student support to academic graduate students.

The most common types of financial transactions applicable to academic graduate students are:

Financial Support Type

Payment Parameters

Who to follow up with if you have questions

Academic employment salary

Paid via the Payroll System and visible in UC Path. Not visible in SISWEB or MyBill. Does not impact your current year loan eligibility. Withholding tax deducted.

First, the graduate program coordinator or the account manager for the account you are hired on. Second, UC Path.

​Academic employment remission

Paid via Banner and visible in SISWEB and MyBill. Lowers your loan eligibility. No withholding tax deducted.

First, the graduate program coordinator. Second, Student Accounting.

Stipend fellowships for US Citizens and Permanent Residents

Paid via Banner and visible in SISWEB and MyBill. Lowers your loan eligibility. No withholding tax deducted.

Graduate Program Coordinator

Stipend fellowships for Nonresident Alien students

Paid via Banner and visible in SISWEB and MyBill. Withholding tax deducted (if applicable).

Graduate Program Coordinator

Tuition & fee fellowships

Paid via Banner and visible in SISWEB and MyBill. Lowers your loan eligibility.

Graduate Program Coordinator

Nonresident supplemental tuition fellowships

Paid via Banner and visible in SISWEB and MyBill. Lowers your loan eligibility.

Graduate Program Coordinator

Educational loans

Paid via Banner and visible in SISWEB and MyBill. Lowers your loan eligibility.

Financial Aid

Campus fee grant

Paid via Banner and visible in SISWEB and MyBill. Lowers your loan eligibility.

Financial Aid

Reimbursement of authorized university travel expenses

Paid via MyTravel. Not visible in SISWEB or MyBill. No withholding tax deducted. Does not impact your loan eligibility.

Account Manager or Graduate Program Coordinator

Reimbursement of authorized supplies & equipment purchases

Paid via KFS; not visible in SISWEB or MyBill. No withholding tax deducted. Does not impact your loan eligibility.

Account Manager

 

We are still under construction- please check back for updates!

Do you have suggestions/additions for our student funding resources page?  Contact us at BAEadvising@ucdavis.edu

Webpage updated: 03/2023