UCLA’S Commitment to our Graduate Students

March 2, 2020

Dear Faculty Members:

As instructors, researchers and future colleagues, UCLA graduate students play key roles in the teaching and research missions of our university. As you may be aware, some UCLA graduate students are participating in campus actions this week in support of UC Santa Cruz graduate student employees who are engaging in an unauthorized strike.

UCSC students — and some UCLA graduate students, under the banner UCLA4COLA — are demanding that the University of California pay all graduate students a cost of living adjustment to offset housing and other costs.

  • We recognize that the high cost of living in Los Angeles presents unique financial challenges to students pursuing graduate and professional degrees. UCLA remains committed to providing the strongest possible financial support packages to help our graduate students pursue their educational goals. To that end, UCLA has increased financial support for graduate and professional degree students by 35 percent over the past decade, even as enrollment increased by only 9 percent.
  • In 2018–19, UCLA graduate students received $489.1 million in total funding, $261.7 million of which was awarded based on merit (fellowships, research assistantships and teaching apprentice appointments).
  • Between 2009–10 and 2018–19, merit-based funding for graduate students increased 47 percent, including an 87 percent increase in TA funding and a 39 percent increase in fellowship funding.
  • Funding for need-based financial aid increased 122 percent, while student loans increased by only 3 percent.

The Centennial Campaign for UCLA raised $414 million for graduate fellowship support, an increase of 214 percent from the last campaign. Additionally, many of the 170 new chairs across campus include endowments that fund graduate students. New centers and institutes also provide funding opportunities for graduate students. And we will continue to make graduate student funding a top priority.

UCLA deans are receptive to guaranteeing multiyear funding packages for all doctoral students, and we remain committed to increasing the availability of both merit- and need-based support for all graduate students. And, recognizing that graduate student housing costs in our area are the second highest in the UC system, UCLA has been working to create additional housing inventory and new lower-cost housing options for graduate students. UCLA already provides living space for nearly 500 graduate students at $1,000 or less per month, and more capacity at that rate will become available in fall 2020 and again in fall 2022.

UCLA graduate students and faculty share a commitment to teaching our undergraduate students. We hope that everyone will keep this commitment in mind as they express their opinions and concerns in the days and weeks ahead.

We also want to remind faculty of their responsibilities to the UCLA undergraduate and graduate students they teach. These responsibilities include maintaining, approving and submitting grades for all courses for which they are the instructor of record.

UCLA remains committed to engaging with our graduate students to find solutions to the financial challenges they face while earning their degrees. To this end, we will look to you for help in guiding students toward timely degree completion, fundraising for graduate fellowships and research assistantships, and advocating in Sacramento for additional resources to support graduate education throughout the University of California. Together, we will continue to do our best to fulfill our mission of educating all UCLA students.


Emily A. Carter
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
Robin L. Garrell
Dean, Graduate Division
Vice Provost for Graduate Education