As you know, SAS has made the difficult decision to pause school-funded PhD admissions for the 2021-22 academic year. Some graduate groups regularly support students with external grants and so may be able to admit graduate students, albeit in smaller numbers. Among the factors that led to this necessary action are the fiscal shortfalls that became especially acute following the University’s mid-August rollbacks in tuition and fees.

At the same time, this decision was also driven by what SAS believes to be ethical and moral imperatives to support our current students who need extra time and funding to complete their degree. If we had continued with our regular admissions cycle, our budgetary shortages would have made it impossible to offer additional funds to students already in our programs. SAS believes it has an obligation to support these students.

A one-year funding extension, including tuition, fees, stipend, and health insurance, will be provided to graduate students who have:

  1. reached the end of their guaranteed funding at the end of the 2020-21 academic year and do not have access to external funding.
  2. encountered significant disruption or delays in the completion of their degrees as a result of COVID-19.
  3. received the support of their dissertation committee and graduate group for funding extension.
  4. remained in good academic standing and demonstrated steady progress toward degree completion prior to the pandemic.

Any graduate student who meets all of these criteria will receive this additional funding in support of degree completion. No formal application is required. In the coming weeks, the SAS Dean’s office will continue to work with graduate groups to implement the extensions.

We fully recognize that students at earlier stages of their graduate careers may also require extra time and support when their funding comes to an end. We are prepared to address these needs as they arise in due course, but our focus at this time is on students in their final year of funding.

Advanced students should be in touch with their advisors and dissertation committees to discuss research and writing progress, and follow up with their graduate group chairs about their plans for completion and need for extended funding.

It is imperative that you apply widely for external fellowships in your field, as you would have had this funding not been available. Such grants not only provide financial support, but also enhance your academic portfolio. An external fellowship attests that you have demonstrated to a committee of experts that your work is promising and worthy of support.

Individual students in their final year of funding will have their funding extensions confirmed in the spring semester.