As teachers, scholars, artists and mentors, graduate students are valued members of our community and are essential to the intellectual vitality of UCLA and to the future of higher education. Full-time student status comes with the expectation that the individual’s primary focus is on earning their degree. UCLA works hard to help them successfully do so.

Currently, some UCLA graduate students are participating in campus actions in support of UC Santa Cruz graduate student employees who are engaging in an unauthorized strike.

UC Santa Cruz 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. We remain committed to providing the strongest possible financial support packages to help our graduate students thrive and achieve their educational goals.

What financial support does UCLA provide its graduate students?

About 80% of UCLA graduate students receive some kind of financial support, whether merit-based (fellowships, academic apprentice teaching or research appointments) or need-based (scholarships, loans and employment).

Most graduate students are eligible to hold academic apprentice employee positions that provide experience and training in teaching or research. Graduate students whose jobs require working at least 10 hours per week each quarter, receive important benefits: tuition and fee remissions (or equivalent program fee remissions), health insurance, a childcare subsidy and childbirth accommodations.

UCLA has increased financial support for graduate and professional degree students by 35% over the past decade. Additionally:

  • 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%, including an 87% increase in TA funding and a 39% increase in fellowship funding.
     
  • Funding for need-based financial aid increased 122%, while student loans increased by only 3%.

UCLA just completed its Centennial Campaign which raised $665 million for student support. How much of that supports graduate students?

The Centennial Campaign for UCLA raised $414 million for graduate fellowship support, more than double what was received during UCLA’s previous fundraising campaign. Additionally, many of the 170 new endowed professorships — funded separately in the most recent campaign — include endowments that support graduate students. New centers and institutes, which also received financial support through the campaign, provide funding opportunities for graduate students.

Will UCLA continue to raise money for graduate students even though the campaign has ended?

Yes, we will continue to make graduate student funding a top priority. UCLA deans are exploring how we can guarantee 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.

What is UCLA doing to address high student housing costs in the region?

Student housing costs in our area are the second highest in the UC system and UCLA has been working to create additional housing inventory and new, lower-cost housing options for graduate students. UCLA currently offers housing to 3,545 graduate students at rents that are 35% to 50% below current market rents in the region. Additionally, we provide living space for nearly 500 graduate students at $1,000 or less per month. Hundreds more living spaces at that rate will become available in fall 2020, fall 2022 and fall 2024. UCLA continues to work with Graduate Student Assembly representatives to make available more lower-cost housing for graduate students.

What will UCLA do to support graduate students going forward?

UCLA is committed to working to find solutions to the financial challenges graduate students face while earning their degrees. We have been and will continue to advocate in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., for legislation providing additional resources to support graduate education, including subsidized loans for graduate students, increased grant funding and work study money. Together, we will continue to do our best to fulfill our mission of educating all UCLA students.

How is the University of California responding to these issues?

You can read the UC statement here.