Graduate assistantship stipends have greatly increased, and now range from $14,000 up to $22,000 a year (plus tuition waiver). Presently, all full-time students funded. Assistantships not only offer teaching opportunities in writing and rhetoric coursework, but also undergraduate creative writing classes as well. Assistantship assignments also include opportunity to coordinate VCU’s national literary awards, including the Cabell First Novelist, Levis Reading Prize, and Tarumoto Prize in short fiction. Newly established travel stipends for MFA students for summer writing conference and study abroad travel, as well as yearly travel funding and registration waivers for students attending the annual AWP conference. Due to the competitive nature of the process, VCU can not offer such assistantships to part-time applicants. Additional forms of financial aid (i.e., loans), please see:
For current student tuition and fees, see http://www.vcu.edu/enroll/sa/.
Graduate Assistantships (GA) for MFA Program
Most if not all full-time MFA graduate programs are funded by Graduate Teaching Assistantships available through the Department of English. These are awarded on a competitive basis and are generally renewable for up to three years. The standard 9-month GA covers the cost of tuition and provide a stipend (currently about $11,500 per year) in return for the equivalent of twenty hours of work per week in the writing center, computer center, or classroom. In some cases, 12-month GAs coves the cost of tuition and provide a stipend (currently range from $18-24,000 per year) in return for project specific and/or reduced work loads.
MFA applicants must make separate GA application for graduate assistantships. The application (and all required GA materials) must be submitted by January 15th and should be sent directly to the Department of English at:
Graduate Programs Advisor
VCU MFA in Creative Writing
VCU Department of English
P.O. Box 842005
Richmond, VA 23284-2005
NOTE: Those MFA applicants wishing to be considered for graduate assistantships/fellowships must submit both the online general graduate application — and the separate GA application.
Additional Graduate School Assistantships for incoming MFA Students
The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing awards a number of 12-month assistantships each year to outstanding new students in fiction and poetry. The assistantship cover the cost of tuition and fees and provide a stipend (currently $24,000 for the full calendar year) in return for the equivalent of ten hours of work per week in the writing center, computer center, or classroom. To be considered, the GA application must be received by January 15.
Additional Assistantships for continuing MFA Students
Cabell First Novelist Fellowship
Each year, one third-year MFA fiction student is awarded the Cabell First Novelist Fellowship which comes with a full tuition waiver and a 12-month stipend of $22,000. David Baldacci, VCU alumnus and Richmond writer (Total Control, Absolute Power), graciously funded a graduate student fellowship from 2004 to 2007 to help establish the First Novelist Award. The Baldacci Fellowship was awarded to a second-year MFA fiction student to assist in administering the First Novelist Award. Starting in the fall of 2008, the Cabell Associates of VCU’s University Libraries began to underwrite the annual fellowship. Named after the famed Richmond author James Branch Cabell, the Cabell Fellowship provides year-long assistance in the administration of the competition and in making the arrangements for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award ceremony each November.
Previous First Novelist Fellows:
Cade Varnado – 2015/2016
Kate Zipse – 2014
Matt Phipps – 2013
Chad Luibl – 2012
Shannon O’Neill – 2011
Joel Kabot – 2010
Dale Smith – 2009
Elizabeth Hahn – 2008
Matt Crady – 2007
Andrew Blossom – 2006
Michelle Poulos – 2005
Patty Smith – 2004
Michaux Dempster – 2003
Levis Prize Coordinator
Additionally, the MFA program designates one continuing 9-month GA to be the Levis Coordinator. This position is responsible for the administration of the University’s national competition and in making the arrangements for the Levis Reading Prize ceremony each September.
Previous Levis Coordinators:
Rachael Hägglund – 2016
John-Michael Bloomquist – 2015
Christian Detisch – 2014
Lena Moses-Schmitt – 2013
Katelyn Kiley – 2012
Emila Phillips – 2011
Gregory Kimbrell – 2010
Andrea Cleary – 2009
Ben Dombroski – 2008
Kate Beles – 2007
Anna Journey – 2006
Other Funding Opportunities for Graduate Students
Other scholarship support may be available to qualified students from the School of Graduate Studies. See:
Clint McCown, Director of Creative Writing
Thom Didato, Graduate Programs Advisor