Financial Aid and Funding

There are several different forms of financial aid available to incoming graduate students: fellowships, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and tuition and fee waivers. These forms of financial aid are explained below.

Fellowships

Graduate fellowships are awarded in recognition of scholarly achievement and promise. Fellowships enable students to pursue graduate study and research without a service requirement, and they vary in amount and duration. For legal and taxation purposes, fellowships are regarded as gifts, not as compensation for services rendered.

UIC’s Graduate College is responsible for awarding fellowships. Unless stated otherwise, all fellows supported by the Graduate College are exempt from tuition and service fees. Students who hold fellowships are required to complete at least 12 semester hours each term.

Funding for Graduate College fellowships is derived from both university and external sources. Please visit the Graduate College fellowships page for information on fellowships that are currently offered to graduate students and the terms and conditions applicable to each.

Teaching and Research Assistantships

Teaching and research assistantships are another way in which graduate students can fund their education.

Teaching assistants typically support faculty members who are teaching undergraduate courses. Teaching assistants may grade homework, hold office hours, tutor students, lead review sessions, and present material in lectures. The department determines the number of teaching assistantships that will be available, based on instructional needs and other priorities, and assigns students to these roles. The work of each teaching assistant is then determined by his or her supervising faculty member. This position includes a monthly stipend and a tuition and service fee waiver, though TAs will be required to pay some student fees. Please note that PhD applicants have precedence over MS students for teaching assistantships.

Research assistants are appointed by individual faculty members to help them in their scholarly research work.

Teaching and research assistantships are determined by a percentage of time. The appointments are generally 50%, which carries a commitment of 20 hours per week, a stipend, and a tuition and service fee waiver, though RAs will be required to pay some student fees. Generally these assistantships are awarded to continuing students whom faculty members have come to know through their courses and their work on campus. However, a growing number of research assistantships are awarded to incoming students based on their prior scholarship. If you are an especially strong candidate with research experience, you should email individual faculty and inform them of your interest and experience. Please be selective and email only the faculty whose research interests match your own; faculty are generally non-responsive to “broadcast” appeals for financial aid, particularly from students whose background and interests do not match the research of the faculty members. Because our faculty receive large volume of email, please do not send repeat emails. Faculty will respond to your email request if they are interested in considering you for an RA position. The yearly contract term runs for 9 months. Please note that PhD applicants have precedence over MS students for research assistantships.

Students holding 50% teaching or research assistantships must register for at least 12 credit hours each semester.

Tuition and Fee Waivers

The graduate committee may nominate a few PhD students for tuition-and-fee waivers. These nominations are forwarded to the Graduate College, which makes waiver decisions. The director of graduate studies is the primary resource for information on these waivers, which typically are awarded to the most advanced and high-performing PhD students. They cover the cost of UIC tuition (including non-resident tuition) and only certain fees per term. These waivers are usually not awarded until a few weeks before the semester begins.

Fellows and students with a tuition-and-fee waiver must register for a minimum of 12 credit hours each semester.

Financial Aid

In general, financial aid information is available from UIC’s student affairs office. Visit the Office of Student Financial Aid website to learn about:

  • Cost of attending UIC
  • Financial aid processes
  • Types of financial aid
  • Necessary forms

The Office of Student Financial Aid can be reached at (312) 996-3126 or money@uic.edu.