Funding the MFA

Scholarships, financial aid, and fellowship opportunities

Funding is an important component to consider when applying to an MFA in Creative Writing program. At Saint Mary's the creative writing MFA degree program offers partial tuition fellowships, as well as teaching fellowships and other campus assistantships. Potential funding streams outlined below include scholarships, fellowships, and loans.


Scholarship awards are announced with admissions offers, disbursed after August 1, and applicable towards tuition. All applicants are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships by way of their application materials. No additional documents are required. 

Students receive awards for two years. Year one scholarships typically range from 40-50% of tuition and year two scholarships range an average of approximately 10% of tuition. Third year dual-concentration students or those staying on for the Book Manuscript Intensive fifth semester receive scholarships based upon availability. We do not offer full tuition scholarships, but we aim to provide scholarships to all entering students.

Students also have the option to apply for private scholarships through websites such as Accredited Schools Online has a great resource specifically for LGBTQIA scholarships

Fellowships & Assistantships

Fellowships and Assistantships are disseminated directly to the student via direct deposit through payroll or graduate student instructor teaching contracts on a bi-weekly schedule.

  • Prospective students may apply for a Teaching Fellowship in the Composition Program when they apply for admission. Composition Fellows receive a $5,000 stipend their first year of study and approximately $6,800 their second year of study. They receive mentorship and training the fall semester of their first year, and they teach their own English 4 Freshman Composition course during the fall of their second year. Students are issued Graduate Student Instructor contracts.
  • The MARY Journal Managing Editor Fellow receives a $2,000 stipend their first year and a $5,000 stipend their second year. They receive mentorship by the Managing Editor during the first year, serving as Assistant Editor, and they assume the role of Managing Editor during their second year. No additional essay is needed to apply to the fellowship, but please indicate in your personal statement if you are interested in this position. 
  • Community Partner Fellowships are offered with Lambda Literary for LGBTI+ students, Kearny Street Workshop, and Hedgebrook. These are designed to give students access to these organizations and their communities and networks through internships. Fellows receive hourly wages via payroll for approximately $2,000 for one semester. Please indicate interest in these fellowships in your personal statement. 
  • MFA program administrative assistantships are available to entering MFA students for the duration of their time in the program. These positions typically range from 15-20 hours a week. First year hourly pay is $15 per hour and second year is $18 per hour. Students must be eligible for federal work study via submitting their FAFSA. Students receive mentorship in content marketing, social media marketing, email campaigns and more. They edit the MFA program website and support program staff  with events. They also chair two student committees, the Graduate Student Reading Series Committee and the Welcome Committee. Students interested in arts administration and social media should express interest in this position.


Loans are a separate process from scholarships. You'll need to complete a FAFSA to apply for federal loans, which are available to all incoming students. You can find out more about federal graduate student loans on the financial aid website. For more information on Federal Student Financial Aid Programs, please visit the Federal Student Aid website.

Support once you are here

There are many campus jobs available to our students, as well as Resident Director positions available via application through campus housing. There are development grants associated with the college at large to support student conference attendance, as well as other funding opportunities that are available to graduate students.