The first step toward being be considered for financial aid is to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Questions about financial aid can be directed to the financial aid office, or by reviewing the information provided on the financial aid website. All EWU scholarship listings can be found at the scholarships web page.
The university provides our program with a small number–usually 8 or 9 annually–of teaching assistantships to award to incoming students. These appointments grant recipients a full tuition waiver (some at the resident tuition rate and some at the non-resident rate) plus a monthly stipend, and involve the teaching of one expository writing course per term. The duration of a TA-ship is two academic years, but in the second year the award covers resident tuition only, except in the cases of international students. For this reason, it is important that new teaching assistants take specific bureaucratic steps (under the helpful guidance of our office staff) to establish Washington State residency well before the start of classes their first fall, in order to qualify as 12-month residents by their second fall quarter.
To be considered for an assistantship, applicants must complete a Graduate Service Appointment (GSA) Application and have a complete MFA application file before February 15th (postmark deadline) for the following academic year. Applicants for teaching assistantships must write an additional brief letter in which they describe their interest in and prior experience with classroom teaching. Teaching assistantships are awarded after February 15th for the following year. No applicant can be considered for a teaching assistantship until all required material has been received. Note especially that in order for the department to receive the GRE scores by February, applicants must take the GRE no later than the previous December.
English 170 Graduate Assistantships
The Department of English offers a large, lecture-style Introduction To Literature course to undergraduates, and utilizes a number of course facilitators who run break-out sessions and online discussions with smaller sections of the large group. The department reserves three of these facilitator positions specifically for incoming MFA students. This award involves approximately 20 hours of work per week, in exchange for a resident tuition waiver. No stipend is attached to this position. Interested program applicants should follow the same steps as those for a teaching assistantship.
Eastern Washington University participates in the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) program, in which applicants from WICHE member states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and the U.S. Pacific territories) can be awarded a tuition reduction (to the resident rate) for their first year of graduate study in another member state. All applicants to the MFA program are automatically considered for a WICHE waiver if they reside in one of the relevant states or territories, so no formal application is necessary. Because the tuition reduction applies only to the first year of graduate study, it is imperative that recipients of a WICHE waiver take formal steps to establish Washington state residency well before the start of classes their first fall.
Non-Resident Tuition Scholarships
Applicants from outside the state of Washington are automatically considered for a Non-Resident Tuition Scholarship (NRTS), which reduces their first-year’s tuition by several thousand dollars, to 150% of the in-state rate. Again, because the tuition reduction applies only to the first year, NRTS recipients must take formal steps to establish Washington state residency well before the start of classes their first fall.
Additional Aid Available to Second-Year MFA Students
Graduate Student Appointments
For students in their second year of study, four non-teaching Graduate Service Appointments (GSAs) are available, one for each of our internship programs. The specific GSA positions are: Managing Editor, Willow Springs; Managing Editor, Willow Springs Editions; Program Assistant, Get Lit!; and Student Director, Writers in the Community. These appointments grant the recipient a full tuition waver plus a monthly stipend. Applications for the majority of the GSAs are taken in the spring of the year preceding the start of the position, and all first-year MFA students with experience in the relevant internship may apply. Applications for Managing Editor, Willow Springs are taken a full year in advance, so that the person hired can train by serving first as Assistant Managing Editor.
English 170 Graduate Assistants
Second-year MFA students who are eligible for the in-state tuition rate may apply for English 170 facilitator positions as the department announces new openings quarter by quarter.
The MFA program sometimes receives, on an unpredictable basis and usually in late spring, funds it may award to exceptional students for use the following academic year. These small scholarships (usually a few hundred dollars) involve no application procedure, but are distributed by frighteningly secret faculty nomination and vote.
Employment Placement Opportunities for EWU Students
Eagle Axis, the online career management system for EWU students and alumni, allows its members to search hundreds of available jobs, and to submit and track applications directly online. Jobs range from hourly to full-time, and include both on- and off-campus positions, offered by both university and private industry employers. With a simple directed search, our MFA students can find a number of tutoring, teaching, publishing, advertising, and technical writing opportunities in and around Spokane at any time during the calendar year. Students who have further expertise in other industries — such as computer programming or health sciences — will find even more opportunities.
In addition, because the Inland Northwest Center for Writers is so integral a part of the arts scene in Spokane, local employers in the arts and culture services occasionally solicit our program directly for graduate students who might be interested in job openings.