The best funding, of course, is fellowship money since it requires nothing in return except good performance in your studies. There are two sources: internal CGU fellowships and various external programs. The department strives for increased CGU fellowship support for psychology students from many sources, but the vexing fact of the matter is that CGU funding is very limited, well below what we think our students need. At best, the CGU fellowships will provide a supplement, and all students will require some other sources of funding.
If you don't have personal sources, our best advice is that you adopt an entrepreneurial strategy. Aggressively identify and pursue any possible funding options while broadcasting your interest to faculty, students, and anyone else who may have helpful information. You should haunt the CGU financial aid office for whatever information and support they can provide. The department makes considerable effort to bring in funding and support the student quest for funding, and you should have no hesitancy about talking with your advisor and any other relevant faculty member about your financial needs. The following list identifies the "usual" modes of support for psychology graduate students and the nature of the department's facilitative efforts.
Internal fellowships are awarded by CGU, upon recommendation by the psychology faculty, and are divided between those going to new students (offered at the time of admission) and those going to students who are already in the program.
Four principles guide financial aid decisions for continuing students. These are:
a) to continue support for students who entered with support and who are doing well in the program;
b) to support students who have the heaviest tuition burden;
c) to support students who show exceptional academic merit; and
d) to support students with greatest financial need.
Judgments of academic merit are based on faculty evaluations of academic promise and performance, progress toward completing program requirements, various professional activities, as well as performance in course work. Fellowships are generally awarded to students in their early years, particularly in the first and second years when the tuition burden is high, and in the third year for students entering the program without an MA degree. Financial need is considered for students rated similarly in terms of academic merit.
For first year students with good academic performance, it is departmental policy to attempt to continue aid into the second year at the same level of aid that was awarded at admission.
For second year students who do not transfer in units for graduate work completed elsewhere, it is departmental policy to attempt to continue aid into the third year, though generally at a reduced level.
Students who transfer in 24 units from prior graduate work completed elsewhere are unlikely to receive financial aid into the third year.
Students who have a GPA less than 3.0, or more than two grades of Incomplete, are not eligible for institutional financial aid.
Please be aware that most fellowship opportunities are highly competitive and you need to file promptly when deadlines arise. Deadlines vary throughout the year so be aware and don't wait until spring to start applying. Below are just some of the major funding opportunities, in no way an exhaustive list. It takes some work but additional sources can be located. In addition to these suggestions, see http://www.apa.org/science/bulletin.html.
California State Fellowships. Available on a competitive basis, which emphasizes financial need, to graduate students who have completed less than one year of graduate study and have been in the state a year (i.e., "residents"). Apply early spring semester; applications available in the department or financial aid office.
National Science Foundation. NSF has a general fellowship competition and a separate minority competition for students with less than one year of graduate study. Requirements emphasize GRE scores and GPAs but are flexible, especially in the minority program. The department obtains application kits each year and passes them out to interested students who are likely to be competitive. Inquire with the department chair for details, and see http://www.nsf.gov/home/grants.htm.
Minority support. There are several good programs for supporting minority graduate students (e.g., from the American Psychological Association). Minority means African American, Latino, American Indian, Eskimo, etc. and some programs include Asian. If you are a minority, even if only on one side of the family twice removed, contact the department chair to be sure that your status is known.
Other Sources of Funding
Student loans. The CGU Financial Aid Office can provide information regarding the various student loan programs available. A substantial number of CGU students use loans for at least a portion of their funding. The department's involvement in this is necessarily limited, but supportive. Talk to your advisor or the department chair if you need any certifications or other administrative considerations that might be helpful
Work-study. This program is administered by the CGU Financial Aid Office for those who qualify on the basis of financial need. The department maintains a variety of work-study positions so that qualifying students can work within the department or outside the department if they wish.
Department assistantships. Each year the department has a number of Graduate Associate and Assistant positions, generally with modest hours and funding ($2600 per semester in 2000-2001). This category includes Teaching Associates and Research Associates for core faculty and graduate faculty at the colleges, Department Computer and Statistics Consultant, and department office assistants, etc. Positions are usually posted late in the spring semester for employment the subsequent academic year. Watch the bulletin boards.
Research assistantships. The department makes considerable efforts to bring in funded research projects on which graduate students can work. These generally fall into two categories: a) faculty grant research and b) local contract or consulting projects. Staffing needs on these projects often develop very quickly and, if you're interested, you should make your interest known regularly to the faculty.
Jenness Hannigan Research Fellowship. As a psychology student, you are eligible to apply for reimbursement of research expenses--currently limited to $200 each fiscal year. Application forms are available in the SBOS office. Hannigan Grant Application Form
Paid internships. Another departmental effort is the development of paid internship positions for students in professionally relevant organizations and agencies. Postings for these positions are located in the hallway of the Psychology Department. Internship information is also distributed via CGU listservs, to which students subscribe (to subscribe to SBOSJOBS, send only the message SUBSCRIBE SBOSJOBS to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org ).
Local teaching. Many psychology students obtain part-time teaching positions at local colleges and universities. Your best bet is regularly to contact the department at the school in which you are interested and also to stay plugged into the student network, because many places that open a position already have at least one of our students working for them. Almost always these positions require students to have achieved their Master's degree prior to being considered for employment.
Other local employment. Psychology graduate students seem to have a real flair for turning up professionally relevant employment in a great variety of places, ranging from computer consultation to full-time work in local agencies or organizations. All information is available in the hallway of the Psychology Department, and some announcements are posted on the bulletin boards in the Library/Lounge and on email (e.g., the "SBOSjobs" listserv). As with teaching positions, the student network and direct contact with relevant organizations seem to be the best source of tips and information.