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10 Financial Support Tips for New Graduate Students

There are numerous options and opportunities to fund your education here at UC Davis, and navigating the options can be tricky. The Financial Support Unit in Graduate Studies is here to provide resources to make sure you strive academically while fully understanding your financial support. The resources we provide below center on fellowship and funding opportunities, priorities for saving before your arrival, and terminology at UC Davis.

Let’s start with the differences between Fellowship, Academic Appointment, and Student Loan, three common ways graduate students receive funding. Confused about your current funding? Contact your graduate coordinator first to troubleshoot questions around funding.

  • A Fellowship, the equivalent of a ‘scholarship’ in the undergraduate world, given in recognition of your academic achievement. You do not have to pay back this award as it is free money with few, if any, strings attached.
  • An Academic Appointment is student employment at UC Davis. e.g., a Teaching Assistant (TA) position or Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) position.
  • Student Loans are funds borrowed from an external source via the UC Davis Financial Aid Office.

The differences between these three categories are essential to understand as you collaborate with your graduate program coordinator and apply for future funding.

We’ve created a list of 10 Financial Support Tips for Newly Admitted Graduate Students to help you better navigate your finances during your time at Davis. These apply to all graduate students at UC Davis, whether you are a master’s or Ph.D. candidate, California resident, or international student.

Financial Support Tip #1: Navigate Funding Through November

While graduate school begins in late September, the first pay date for academic appointment salaries is November 1. The first pay date for fellowship stipends is at the end of September.

At UC Davis, salaries are paid a month in arrears and are split into 3 monthly payments each quarter.  Fellowships are on a different schedule; during fall quarter, fellowship payments are paid in 4 equal installments.  The rest of the academic year, fellowship pay dates are paid in 3 monthly installments alongside the employment payments.

A Tuition & Fee fellowships or Tuition & Fee remission (a benefit of being employed as a qualifying academic employee) is automatically applied to your account in the fall quarter. If you do not have a fellowship or academic appointment, then you are responsible for paying your Tuition & Fees. Academic graduate students have until the eighth week of the quarter to pay their Tuition & Fees. The published payment due date for fall tuition & fees may be found at the registrars’ website. 

If you have not paid your fall quarter account balance by the eighth week of the quarter, a $110 late fee is assessed to your student account and you will be dropped from winter quarter classes, and a hold will be placed your account preventing you from registering.

Financial Support Tip #2: Campus Grants and Loans

UC Davis provides several grants and loans to support graduate students. Note that transition and Emergency loans are short-term loans that are paid back within less than a year. 

  • Graduate Transition Emergency Loan: If you are in need of an advancement before your November paycheck from your TA appointment, GSR appointment, or fellowship earnings.
  • Graduate Student Child Care Grant (GSCCG): This grant is not need-based, with funding of up to $1,100 per quarter.
  • Community-Based Care Grant (CBCG): This grant is need-based intended to supplement the GSCCG funds. Amounts vary based on ages of children in childcare.
  • Emergency Loan: Available in several increments throughout the academic year, emergency loans can supply money before your first paycheck. 
  • Graduate Assistant Loan: Available to Teaching Assistants, Graduate Student Researchers, Associate Instructors, and Post-Graduate Researchers

Financial Support Tip #3: SSN and Direct Deposit

Enroll in Direct Deposit
We strongly encourage students to sign up for Direct Deposit to expedite your future student refunds and employment salary payments. This minimizes problems such as misplaced, lost, or stolen paper checks. Direct Deposit allows students to have their funds transferred electronically into a bank account of their choosing. We recommend you enroll in both “Student Refunds” and “Employee Payroll" as soon as possible.

  • To sign up for student refund Direct Deposit, please visit directdeposit.ucdavis.edu
  • Student employees will be able to use UCPath to enroll in direct deposit. The Direct Deposit enrollment section is listed under the "Income and Taxes" menu.

Social Security Number Submission
In compliance with the Internal Revenue Service Code, UC Davis must obtain Social Security Numbers (SSN) or Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TIN) from all enrolled students. Entering your Social Security number into the Student Information System (SISWEB) is extremely important so we can accurately track and report your financial support. To provide your Social Security Number, login to the SISWEB page, and click on “Personal Information.” Click “Report SSN” to enter your SSN. 

International students
International students should visit the Services for International Students and Scholars page for more information and assistance with this process.

Financial Support Tip #4: Statement of Legal Residence

All incoming students must complete a Statement of Legal Residence (SLR) form for UC Davis to determine residence. The level of tuition and fees you are assessed is based on your residency classification (e.g. California Resident, Nonresident). More information is located on the Registrar's page.

Establishing California Residency 
For incoming domestic students, US Citizens and Permanent Residents who are not already California residents, it is very important to establish California Residence for Purposes of Tuition. Please carefully review the “How to Establish Residency” information provided on the Registrar's Tuition Residence page.

Financial Support Tip #5: Financial Support Regulations

Eligibility for financial support is dependent on meeting and maintaining specific requirements and regulations. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Minimum GPA (3.0).
  • Good academic standing.
  • Full-time registration (12 units per quarter).
  • An active student status (Planned Education Leave Program (PELP) status is not an active status).
  • An eligible citizenship status.

Learn more about student status requirements, tax information, California residency status, general policy, and more by visiting the Fellowship Regulation page or the Employee Regulations Policy page. Questions? Contact your graduate coordinator for policy and guidance on financial support regulations.

Financial Support Tip #6: Graduate Student Employment

Graduate student employees are hired under specific student academic titles such as Graduate Student Researcher (GSR), or one of the following teaching titles:

  • Teaching Assistant (TA)
  • Associate In (AI)
  • Reader
  • Tutor

Each title receives full or partial Tuition & Fee remission (once you are employed at 25% time with an average of 10 hours of work per week) as a benefit of employment and teaching titles are represented by a union bargaining agreement. You can find more information on fee remission benefits on the UC Davis Student Accounting website.

International Student Employment or Fellowship: International students are required to complete online forms for employment and fellowships in Glacier. Before being paid each calendar year, students required to complete these forms will be contacted via email with instructions on how to access the Glacier system.

Financial Support Tip #7: UC Davis MyBill Student Account

Are you receiving financial support?  If so, you are probably paid monthly.  But where is that money coming from? It’s important for you to know how and when you’re getting paid – that way, if mistakes ever happen, you can make sure they’re fixed ASAP.  We recommend you review your offer letter which outlines the details of the support.

Always know how you’re getting paid and always check your student accountIf you’re a teaching assistant or graduate student research over 25% time, you already know all, or some, of your Tuition & Fees for the quarter will be paid via fee remission – but did you know there might be a balance that is your responsibility to cover? That’s why it’s important that you regularly check your student account. A small balance can affect your future payments and might even keep you from registering for future quarters. Log on to MyBill to check your student account regularly.

Financial Support Tip #8: Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) Waiver

Because health insurance is required, all currently enrolled graduate students are automatically enrolled in the UC Davis Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). Students with insurance through another provider have the option to apply for a SHIP waiver before the start of each academic year. Remember, if you are employed in a qualifying title at 25% FTE or more, coverage is included as a benefit of employment. 

Visit the Student Health and Counseling Services website to learn more about SHIP and to access the online UC SHIP Waiver Application.

Financial Support Tip #9: Registration Statuses

As a full-time graduate student, you must register for at least 12 units each quarter. However, during your time at UC Davis, you may need to take a break, do research outside of California, or complete your thesis or dissertation. Different registration statuses are available that allow you to preserve your status as a current student while being away from campus. Visit the Graduate Studies website to learn more about them.

Planned Educational Leave Program (PELP)

$70 fee: Graduate students who need to take a leave from their academic program for various reasons, including health-related issues, financial problems, family crises, or to clarify educational goals may petition for this status for a maximum of three quarters. Learn more about PELP by visiting the Options for Non-Registered Students page.

In Absentia

Tuition and fees charged per quarter are reduced for students in the in absentia status. This option allows a reduced-fee registration status for full-time, regularly enrolled, students who have an academic need to conduct research or study outside of the state of California for up to one academic year. The policy recognizes that students may need to perform work away from the university but seeks to minimize the number of students who allow their registration status to lapse. Learn more about the application process and requirements by visiting the In Absentia page.

Filing Fee

$162 fee: Filing Fee is a non-registered status available to graduate students who have advanced to candidacy for their degree. Filing Fee status maintains a student’s eligibility to complete the degree while not registered, and within the approved time limitations. All coursework and research must be completed, the thesis or dissertation should be in final draft form, and the student should no longer need to use campus facilities. Learn more about Filing Fee, including the process, qualifications, and forms by visiting the Options for Non-Registered Students page.

Financial Support Tip #10: AB 540 and Undocumented Center

The AB 540 and Undocumented Student Center, UC Davis, and Graduate Studies are committed to recognizing and nurturing merit and achievement by supporting diversity and equal opportunity in academics. Students, faculty, and graduate program staff can visit the AB 540 and Undocumented Student Center website to learn about which funding sources are available to students with an AB 540 or undocumented status.