Graduate Student Funding


Students are responsible for staying on top of their funding situation. We highly recommend students check their account balances/paychecks at least once a month, and always check their MyBill account well in advance of the graduate student final fee payment deadline. We also highly recommend students check in with their Major Professor about their funding each quarter so they can understand how they are being funded. Mistakes do happen, and when students ask questions and bring issues to the awareness of the staff, those mistakes can usually be fixed quickly.

For Ph.D. Students, your Major Professor is generally responsible for coordinating your funding, and letting the various staff members know the funding plan (students should be in communication with their Major Professor as well). I highly recommend you have frequent and open conversations about your funding with your faculty so you understand the funding source, funding level, funding duration, and work expectations associated with your funding plan. Depending on the funding plan, it may be necessary to apply to for TA/Reader positions or internal/external fellowship opportunities. 

Master's students are frequently employed as TAs and Readers. Some working with faculty on research projects (MS Plan 1) may be offered GSR employment for research related to their project.

All funding is contingent on eligibility to receive the funding (more information and links below). Generally, eligibility includes: legal status to work and/or receive fellowships, prerequisites (such as TA orientation), full-time enrollment, GPA, good standing, and satisfactory progress. 


Fellowships are highly prestigious financial support packages that typically include a stipend, tuition remission, and a subsidy for medical insurance. They derive from University or outside awards.

  • External Fellowships

  • External fellowships are those offered by private foundations, government agencies, and corporations. Financial support varies from one-time awards to multi-year support. You are strongly encouraged to apply for external fellowships on your own – information can be found here.

    Your Major Professor can be a great resource when considering which external fellowships to apply for. You are always encouraged to talk to your mentors about this. You can also keep a look out for external grants that you or your PI could apply for. 

    Graduate Studies also lists several search engines that can be useful in finding external fellowships. Also, the Office of Research have developed a video tutorial for getting started with the Pivot database. It can be accessed by following this link and clicking the "Search a Comprehensive Funding Database" dropdown option.

  • Internal Fellowships

  • Fellowships are funds that you receive—and do not have to pay back—that are intended to support you as a student for you to fully engage in your academics and research. Fellowships may be in the form of tuition payments (funds paid directly toward tuition costs) or as stipend payments (funds paid out to the student). There are campus-level as well as departmental fellowships. Students must meet eligibility requirements to receive a fellowship.

    Campus Level Fellowships:
    - All new students who applied by the fellowship deadline are considered for the Campus Prospective Student Fellowships automatically with your application. A few select students will be nominated by the department for campus-level fellowships, which are extremely competitive.
    - Continuing students are HIGHLY encouraged to apply for campus-level fellowships each fall – I strongly encourage you take the time to see which of these you are eligible for. A list of available fellowships is on the Graduate Studies.

    Program Fellowships:
    Program Fellowships are typically awarded to new Ph.D. students during research rotations in Fall and Winter quarters. Our program fellowships are also sometimes referred to as GPFA, MEIP, or Block Grant. 

  • Fall Fellowship Stipend
  • Fellowship Stipend Disbursement Dates
  • Regulations for Graduate Students Receiving Fellowships
  • Fellowship Direct Deposit: step-by-step directions


    Academic Appointments

    Students must be legally eligible to work to hold an academic appointment, and meet general eligibility requirements. Academic appointments 25% or greater come with partial or full fee remission (depending on appointment type) in addition to a salary.

    Information on the December 2022 Bargaining Agreements can be found on the Graduate Studies website.

    Some additional benefits of Academic employment are outlined in the Contract Highlights.

    • Graduate Student Researcher (GSR)
    • You might be hired by a particular faculty member (e.g., your major professor) to engage in research. GSR positions pay a salary, and also provide full tuition and fee remission (in-state and NRST). GSR positions are the most common funding source for PhD students.

      More information about GSRs can be found here.

    • Teaching Assistant (TA), Reader, Tutor

    • You can be hired by the BME department or by other departments for these positions. TA, Reader, and tutor positions (ASE) pay a salary, and provide in-state fee remission. TA and Reader positions do NOT cover the Nonresidential Supplemental Tuition (NRST; also called out-of-state tuition).

      Any student who wishes to be a TA during their studies at UC Davis must attend the TA Orientation once during their graduate career. This is offered by campus each fall. There may be additional Orientation offerings in the winter and spring, but all students are encouraged to sign up in the fall.

      Applying in BME:
      If you are interested in being hired as a Teaching Assistant (TA) or Reader for the BME department, please complete the application each quarter you are looking for a position. The application announcement emailed out to the BMEGG listserv each quarter. Please note that for the BME department, applicants will be considered when there are openings for TA and Reader positions. However, filling out the form does not ensure you will be offered a TA or Reader position (as we have many more applicants than positions available). Order of application submission does not factor into placement decisions, as long as you meet the deadline. Most of the time, the deadline will be 2–3 months before the start of the next quarter. You should also speak to your major professor, who can be an advocate for you in finding TA and Reader positions.

      Applying outside of BME:
      You can also contact other departments about possible TA and readership positions if you are interested. Each department will have its own process for selecting TAs and Readers. I highly recommend looking at both the department’s website, as well as checking for TA and Reader job postings on Handshake.

      English Proficiency Requirements for TAs:
      Depending on your Undergraduate Degree, TOEFL, and/or IELTS scores, you may be required to pass the TOEP test at UC Davis prior to being employed as a TA (receiving a waiver for the TOEFL at time of admission does not automatically qualify you for a waiver of this requirement). Please be sure to read the policy on Language Proficiency Requirements for Appointment of Students to Teaching Assistant and Associate In __ Titles.


    Getting Paid

    • Salary Points
    • There are salary scale increments, or salary points, for GSR and TA titles. The Contract Salary Scale Estimate can be found here.

      In response to the new bargaining agreement, our student funding plans are currently changing. We are currently waiting for guidance from Graduate Studies and UCOP to formalize our Student Financial Support Plan moving forward. Current graduate students will continue to be supported as determined in Spring 2023 through the completion of their BME degrees.
    • Getting Started (first pay day)
    • Salary for academic appointments are paid in arrears (at the end of the month worked). If you are funded for fall quarter as a TA or GSR, the first payment (academic appointment salary) is generally November 1 (readers are biweekly-see below).

      Some students may qualify for an emergency loan, short-term loan, graduate assistant loan, or the fall quarter graduate transition loan through the financial aid office to assist with your financial needs until payday.

      Starting in 2021, FALL Quarter fellowships have been shifted into 4 disbursement dates to allow earlier payment.

    • Pay Day

    • Academic Appointments

      For academic appointments (TA, Reader, GSR), you can look at the Payday Notice Calendar.

      Note: TA and GSR’s receive monthly pay. Readers receive biweekly pay (UNLESS you are a reader and a TA or GSR in the same quarter—then you will be paid monthly.)

      Your employment verification and the paychecks can be viewed in UC Path.

      Note: The paycheck is only available to “view” in UCPath a few days before payday. Check the “Processing Schedule” calendar from the above website for the “Pay statements on UC Path” date if you are really interested.

      SPECIFIC TO READERSHIP: you MUST fill out and submit a timesheet, OR YOU WILL NOT BE PAID. Readers are paid based on the number of hours submitted. For a 25% appointment, the department expects you to have a timesheet of about 10 hours per week (110 hours total).


      Stipends for internal fellowships are entered in the Banner Student Information System and routed through Student Accounting. The disbursement calendar can be found here (second half of the page).
      Note: After stipends have been entered, the stipend amounts and posted refunds can be viewed in MyBill.


    Other Important Funding Information and Terms

    • Graduate Student Fees and Tuition
    • The official information about Fees and Tuition can be found on the Finance & Business website.
    • Graduate Student Final Fee Payment Deadline
    • You may get reminders about paying your fees early every quarter - most "fee payment deadlines" are Undergraduate deadlines. Be sure to pay attention to when the Graduate Student Final Fee Payment Deadline is each quarter - you will find those dates on the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar.
    • Direct Deposit
    • You are HIGHLY encouraged to sign up for direct deposit. You should do this twice: (1) for payroll (academic appointments) through UC Path, and (2) for student refunds through mybill on the refunds tab.

    • Graduate Studies Emergency Grant Program

    • The Graduate Studies Emergency Grant Program provides support for graduate students experiencing unexpected challenges that impede their progress toward their degrees. Examples include:
      - Medical, dental, or other health emergencies
      - Accidents and unexpected events such as natural disasters.
      - Expenses associated with family emergencies such as death in the immediate family

      Grants are for the direct use of enrolled students in academic graduate programs, including international and undocumented students, and their dependents. Please visit the Graduate Studies Emergency Grant Program website for more information and to apply.

    • FAFSA/California Dream Act Application

    • All students eligible to fill out the FAFSA or the California Dream Act Application should fill it out EVERY YEAR. There are a few awards each year—as well as work/study opportunities—that require these applications. More information can be found here.

    • Work Study

    • Work study for graduate students is a way for a student to be hired as a GSR that yields a cost savings for the hirer. In the BMEGG, faculty apply for our program's allocated work study on behalf of their students, but can only do so if the student in question has demonstrated need (FAFSA).

    • Campus Fee Grant

    • Many students who complete the FAFSA will be offered a Campus Fee Grant and loans through financial aid. The UC Davis Campus Fee Grant is the only grant administered by the Graduate Financial Aid Office. It is a need-based award for students who establish and maintain sufficient financial need. Please note, Campus Fee Grant funding is not guaranteed. The Graduate Financial Aid Office strongly recommends that every FAFSA filing student report all anticipated external and academic funding (Grants, Fellowships, TA ships, GSR’s etc.) to their office so they can accurately determine your financial aid eligibility. For example, if a Campus Fee Grant is paid to you for fall quarter and you receive a large amount of new fellowship funding in the winter quarter which exceeds your unmet need, you may have to repay the fall Campus Fee Grant. If you have any questions about the Campus Fee Grant, please contact the Graduate Financial Aid Office.

    • UC Path

    • UCPath is the payroll system for UC Davis. Your first point of contact for issues related to UC Path is the hiring department.

    • AUSS-C

    • The shared-services HR unit the BME department uses is called AUSS-C. They are important when it comes to academic appointment positions (GSR, TA, Reader), and are positioned in between the BME department and UCPath. Other departments use different HR units, please check with your Major Professor or Account Manager.

    • Fee Remission

    • Academic appointments come with an employment benefit called fee remission. Depending on the type of employment, you may receive full or partial fee remission. More information is here.

    • Tax Resources

    • Student Accounting Tax Information
      GSA Legal, Patient, and Taxes
      Students in VITA UC Davis

    Funding Related Systems and Who To Ask

    Generally speaking, the key people involved with your funding will be:

    • Your Major Professor/ PI
    • Your departmental Account Manager 
    • The Graduate Program Coordinator
    • The TA Coordinator for the department/course TA/Reader position of interest

    Sometimes, staff from Financial Aid, Student Accounting, Graduate Studies (the entity responsible for coordinating internal and external fellowships), UC Path, AUSS-C, and others will be involved.

    The Graduate Program Coordinator, Christal Wintersmith, is a good first point of contact for most questions related to funding rules/policy, funding and payment issues, what you see on your bill, fee remission policies, etc.

    UC Davis has three separate accounting systems: the Banner Student Information System (SIS), the Payroll System (UCPath), and the Kuali Financial System (KFS). Each of these three financial systems is used to deliver student support to academic graduate students.

    The most common types of financial transactions applicable to academic graduate students are:

    Financial Support Type

    Payment Parameters

    Who to follow up with if you have questions

    Academic employment salary

    Paid via the Payroll System and visible in UC Path. Not visible in SISWEB or MyBill. Does not impact your current year loan eligibility. Withholding tax deducted.

    First, the account manager for the account you are hired on. Second, the graduate program coordinator. Third, UC Path.

    Academic employment remission

    Paid via Banner and visible in SISWEB and MyBill. Lowers your loan eligibility. No withholding tax deducted.

    First, the graduate program coordinator. Second, Student Accounting.

    Stipend fellowships for US Citizens and Permanent Residents

    Paid via Banner and visible in SISWEB and MyBill. Lowers your loan eligibility. No withholding tax deducted.

    Graduate Program Coordinator

    Stipend fellowships for Nonresident Alien students

    Paid via Banner and visible in SISWEB and MyBill. Withholding tax deducted (if applicable).

    Graduate Program Coordinator

    Tuition & fee fellowships

    Paid via Banner and visible in SISWEB and MyBill. Lowers your loan eligibility.

    Graduate Program Coordinator

    Nonresident supplemental tuition fellowships

    Paid via Banner and visible in SISWEB and MyBill. Lowers your loan eligibility.

    Graduate Program Coordinator

    Educational loans

    Paid via Banner and visible in SISWEB and MyBill. Lowers your loan eligibility.

    Financial Aid

    Campus fee grant

    Paid via Banner and visible in SISWEB and MyBill. Lowers your loan eligibility.

    Financial Aid

    Reimbursement of authorized university travel expenses

    Processed via AggieExpense and Paid via KFS. Not visible in SISWEB or MyBill. No withholding tax deducted. Does not impact your loan eligibility.

    Account Manager or Graduate Program Coordinator (for BESA expenses)

    Reimbursement of authorized supplies & equipment purchases

    Paid via KFS; not visible in SISWEB or MyBill. No withholding tax deducted. Does not impact your loan eligibility.

    Account Manager