To the Campus Community:
As a public research university, UCLA is dedicated to training the next generation of leaders. Our graduate students, in addition to pursuing their studies, help us advance research and support undergraduates in their own studies. Pursuing a university education, particularly as a graduate student, is a noble endeavor that is a fundamental aspect of our mission.
At the same time, we recognize that the costs graduate students face today are greater than those of past generations, particularly for housing, and especially in an expensive region like Los Angeles.
UCLA strives to provide robust financial support for graduate students, however, we recognize that more needs to be done, particularly for students lacking support during the summer months to continue their scholarly work uninterrupted from the academic year. To that end, I am pleased to announce that UCLA is working to utilize some of the funds from our just completed Centennial Campaign, as well as other institutional funds, to provide summer graduate fellowships for up to three months at $2,500/month to support students engaging in scholarship, research, and creative work toward doctoral degrees.
While we are still working through details, please be assured that this plan has broad support among the deans and other leadership across our campus, including Chancellor Block. This program will not be a blanket resource to all graduate students but it will be available to those students who don’t have other opportunities for sufficient summer funding.
Most importantly, providing these summer fellowships will allow graduate students to focus on continuing their educational progress at UCLA. In addition to helping students have financial support year-round, one of our goals for this new program is to reduce their time-to-degree, so students are able to graduate faster and with less debt.
Recognizing the challenge that the high cost of housing presents for our graduate students, UCLA has been working to create additional housing inventory and new, lower-cost housing options for graduate students. UCLA currently offers housing to 3,545 graduate students at rents that are 35 percent to 50 percent below current market rents in the region. Those options include living spaces for nearly 500 graduate students at $1,000 or less per month. Hundreds more living spaces at that rate will become available in fall 2020 and fall 2022. The university will continue to look at additional opportunities to expand our graduate housing inventory through purchases of new facilities.
About 80 percent of UCLA graduate students receive some kind of financial support, whether merit-based (fellowships, academic apprentice teaching, or research appointments) or need-based (scholarships, loans, and employment).
Moreover, UCLA students who work as TAs or graduate student researchers receive substantial benefits in addition to their salary, including tax-free tuition and fee remission, tax-free health insurance, and a childcare subsidy.
In order for our entire educational community to succeed, it must be a partnership. Just as our graduate students rely on us to find even more beneficial ways to support them, our faculty rely on graduate students to support their courses, just as our undergraduates rely on TAs to evaluate their hard work throughout the quarter. We must work collectively to ensure that undergraduates are able to complete their coursework and receive the grades they need to maintain financial aid and take advantage of additional course enrollment opportunities.
The first key step in any strong partnership is clear and honest communication between all sides. We encourage our graduate students — and others — to accept our invitation to begin a conversation about how we can better support them, financially and otherwise, and how we can meet our shared goal of maintaining UCLA as one of the world’s top public research universities: One that is accessible and supportive to our students across graduate and undergraduate education.
Emily A. Carter
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost