Oct 8, 2009
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Has anyone been told that they could not be funded? I've been accepted at a very prestigious university that offers incoming students full tuition remission, a $19,000 a year stipend, and university healthcare. While some students get this package, the university claims to not be able to give me any sort of funding.

This is a huge state and federally funded university, and they claim this is all because of the economy. Why should some students get that killer funding package, but not a cent for me?

I'm not as bent out of shape as a I seem about this, it just took me by surprise when I got word of it.
 
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Ollie123

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Unusual, but I've heard of this happening before.

Its possible you weren't their top choice and they only offered it to the top x number of people. Its also possible "the economy" means your advisor doesn't have grant money budgeted to pay for students and the rest of the department does and has nothing to do with you at all.
 

Markp

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Has anyone been told that they could not be funded? I've been accepted at a very prestigious university that offers incoming students full tuition remission, a $19,000 a year stipend, and university healthcare. While some students get this package, the university claims to not be able to give me any sort of funding.

This is a huge state and federally funded university, and they claim this is all because of the economy. Why should some students get that killer funding package, but not a cent for me?

I'm not as bent out of shape as a I seem about this, it just took me by surprise when I got word of it.
Seriously, I would be bent out of shape. The economy is a bull**** excuse... after all where did all their stimulus money go?

While it might be tough for them on some fronts, they shouldn't be offering spots to students whom they cannot support. This is a cop out, are you telling me that the economy is soooo bad that they can't scrape up a few thousand dollars that they are using to fund some football player who can't even survive the most basic academic tests?

I would probably be reluctant to accept if I had another fully funded option.

Here is a question to ask: "Would it be possible to defer my acceptance for a year while you find funding for me?"

Mark

PS - Probably has to do more with dept politics and advisor grants than the economy!
 

Featheredwyngs

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While it might be tough for them on some fronts, they shouldn't be offering spots to students whom they cannot support.
I completely agree... Though I have heard of some schools doing this. Not to spread potentially incorrect information, but someone who was accepted to UCLA's Clinical PhD program told me that that they extended offers with and without funding assuming that some people who they made funded offers to would turn it down (and they'd be able to fund the others). Could be that this school made more initial offers than funding could technically support and had more people accept than they originally expected.
 

YoungestOld

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I completely agree... Though I have heard of some schools doing this. Not to spread potentially incorrect information, but someone who was accepted to UCLA's Clinical PhD program told me that that they extended offers with and without funding assuming that some people who they made funded offers to would turn it down (and they'd be able to fund the others). Could be that this school made more initial offers than funding could technically support and had more people accept than they originally expected.
Ick. Suddenly the practice of overbooking commercial flights feels less sinister.
 
Feb 7, 2010
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Thats terrible

If that happened to me I'd be looking at other options. Lot of phd programs do some really shady stuff and this is just one thing. If some kids get funding and some do not then what does that mean for you during your stay there? Less research opportunities? Prof's going to take most of the credit for your work/research? Won't be the first time that happened (UCLA)
 
Mar 8, 2010
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This doesn't sound so sinister to me. It could be that they like and want more people than they have funding for. Ultimately it is your decision if you want to go without funding, and they are just giving you that option. Also, UCLA presented their funding with great transparency and was incredibly up-front about the process during their interview weekend, so it didn't seem shady in the least.
 
Jan 28, 2010
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This doesn't sound so sinister to me. It could be that they like and want more people than they have funding for. Ultimately it is your decision if you want to go without funding, and they are just giving you that option. Also, UCLA presented their funding with great transparency and was incredibly up-front about the process during their interview weekend, so it didn't seem shady in the least.
Not sure if they mentioned this when you interviewed but American did the same thing. They told us that they were going to admit around 6 students and only fund 4 with a similar package as the one OP posts above. Although I thought it was pretty crappy to hear that, I was glad they were pretty up front about it. That's actually all my POI talked about during my interview. She 'really liked me' but wasn't sure I'd be one of the lucky 4 to be funded. I didn't get in so it didn't become a problem for me. No funding in DC area is not fun.
 
Feb 7, 2010
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This doesn't sound so sinister to me. It could be that they like and want more people than they have funding for. Ultimately it is your decision if you want to go without funding, and they are just giving you that option. Also, UCLA presented their funding with great transparency and was incredibly up-front about the process during their interview weekend, so it didn't seem shady in the least.
I wasn't talking about UCLA's funding being shady. I was talking about their reputation of the professors using their students as minions to do their research and then taking all the credit leaving the student who did most of the work with none. They've been doing that since the 70s.
 

LM02

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I think most similar schools in this position would just not make an unfunded offer. I'm positive that my alma mater would have not done this - they accept who they can fund, and that is it. Even if it is just one or two people for that year.

I would be hesitant about accepting this offer, even if it is at such a fantastic school. In your shoes, I know I would probably start resenting my classmates who are funded. And I also worry that this reflects a bit of arrogance on the part of the program, along the lines of "we're so good, people will pay to come here."

I like the idea of deferring a year, so that there is funding available to you. The costs of healthcare alone are outrageous. Add to that the cost of tuition and living, and it sounds like a pretty bum deal to me.
 
Mar 8, 2010
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I wasn't talking about UCLA's funding being shady. I was talking about their reputation of the professors using their students as minions to do their research and then taking all the credit leaving the student who did most of the work with none. They've been doing that since the 70s.
Wow, that is a pretty serious claim. I know many people who have either completed the PhD program there or who are there now who are very happy with the experience. Are you referring to one faculty member in particular? Because I am 100% sure that if true, your claim does not generalize to the entire department, nor would it be true only for UCLA.
 
Oct 8, 2009
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It's weird when I know someone that declined a funded offer at the same program though, and the funding still just "isn't there".

Even better, during the pre-interview presentation we were told that the University is very proud to have always funded all of their incoming students, and that they expect this year will be no different.

The best part though, is the part where I have been offered a position at a privately funded institution, and they have offered funding very close to that of this much larger state school.
 
Mar 8, 2010
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It's weird when I know someone that declined a funded offer at the same program though, and the funding still just "isn't there".

Even better, during the pre-interview presentation we were told that the University is very proud to have always funded all of their incoming students, and that they expect this year will be no different.

The best part though, is the part where I have been offered a position at a privately funded institution, and they have offered funding very close to that of this much larger state school.
I think private schools typically offer more money (my offers at DU and Harvard far exceeded my offers at UCLA and UVM).

Are you going to accept the funded offer?

I still think that as long as a school tells you when they make you the offer that it doesn't come with funding, then there is no problem. In an ideal world everyone would have equal funding (I think uneven funding makes for a very odd dynamic between students and favors those who are already wealthy and who can afford not to have funding), but the reality is that this cannot always happen.
 

PsychPhDStudent

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That's rough. I'm at a public school and have a very, very comfortable stipend -- probably the best of the places I applied when considering the cost of living ratio. I am shocked they made an offer without funding to you! As far as I'm concerned, an offer without funding is not an offer. :(
 

Ollie123

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It's weird when I know someone that declined a funded offer at the same program though, and the funding still just "isn't there".
This makes me think its lab-based. If an applicant to our lab turns down an offer, that doesn't free up funding for the other people in the program that were already accepted. It means my lab gets to extend an offer to their second-choice candidate. Or decide not to extend any offers if we didn't like anyone else. Even if we have funding and for some reason got turned down by everyone, that doesn't mean that funding is freed up for someone else, it just means that money is saved. My advisor isn't going to use his grant money to pay for students who aren't going to work in our lab and do our kind of research because its generally not a smart investment on his part unless there is some other compelling reason to do so. I don't think my school would extend unfunded offers, but its generally up to individual faculty members to come up with funding - I suspect it works the same at this school.

I agree its strange, but at least they were up front about it.
 
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Feb 23, 2010
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That's rough. I'm at a public school and have a very, very comfortable stipend -- probably the best of the places I applied when considering the cost of living ratio. I am shocked they made an offer without funding to you! As far as I'm concerned, an offer without funding is not an offer. :(
I think that's absolutely true- one of the (public) schools I was eventually accepted into told me point blank that I would be accepted once they could find funding for me. No funding, no position.