The university provides our program with many (between 11-16 annually) teaching assistantships to award to incoming students. MFA candidates could potentially teach composition, literature, or creative writing. Most of our TA-ships (7-8 annually) are awarded in composition. These appointments grant recipients a full tuition waiver plus a monthly stipend, and involve the teaching of one composition course per term (classes are capped at 25 students). The university offers a one-week training session for incoming teaching assistants and year-long support from faculty and second year mentors. 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 steps (under the helpful guidance of our office staff) to establish Washington State residency before the start of classes their first fall, in order to qualify as 12-month residents by their second fall quarter.
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 between 4-8 of these facilitator positions specifically for incoming MFA students. This award involves approximately 20 hours of work per week, in exchange for a tuition waiver. No stipend is attached to this position. Interested program applicants should follow the same steps as those for a teaching assistantship.
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 that our program no longer requires GRE scores.
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 Books; 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. Many students who held management positions in our internship programs have gone on work for presses such as The Gettysburg Review, Milkweed Editions, and more.
The university also offers a number (3-4 annually) of GSA positions in other departments doing technical writing, advising work, and working in the Writers’ Center. These positions also come with a full tuition waiver and a monthly stipend.
Scholarships and Travel Funding
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 involve no application procedure, but are awarded based on faculty nomination and vote.
We also offer funding for travel to both national and international conferences based on availability.
We are excited to announce that as of summer 2016 we will be offering two first-year students per year (prose writers only at this time), scholarships to attend the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop.
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.
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.
In addition, because the MFA at EWU is such an integral a part of the arts scene in Spokane, local employers in the arts and culture services (including our favorite independent bookstore, Auntie’s) occasionally solicit our program directly for graduate students who might be interested in job openings.
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.