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Incoming MEDS Student Financial and Residency Resources

Quarterly Tuition and Fees:

See a summary of the quarterly tuition and fees in the table below. 

Please note that fee and tuition costs are subject to change at the discretion of the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) and the PDST is considered for a 3% increase annually.

For more information about fees, visit the Office of the Registrar's website.

Estimated Quarterly Fees + Tuition Costs

The MEDS program is a 4-quarter program.

Cost broken down by quarter.
Summer Quarter Fall Quarter Winter Quarter Spring Quarter
Academic Fees + Tuition $4,188 $4,190 $4,190 $4,190
Professional Degree Supplemental Tuition (PDST) $6,666 $6,666 $6,666
Campus-based Fees $225 $332.51 $332.51 $332.51
Health Insurance (UC SHIP) $1,000* $1,431 $1,431 $1,431
Non-resident Tuition $4,082 $4,082 $4,082

*UC SHIP cost for Summer Session varies year-to-year, but is generally around $1,000.

Total Estimated Cost for CA Residents: $43,271
Total Estimated Cost for Non-Residents and International Students: $55,518

BARC and UCSB Business & Financial Services

The Billings Accounts Receivable Collections unit (BARC) is the UCSB campus centralized receivable system. This system allows students to view any outstanding balances, including registration fees, campus housing charges, phone bills, and student health services. Visit the Business & Financial Services website for more information on how to access your BARC account and pay your bill.

Paying your Bill

UCSB students must pay their fees by the first Wednesday of Summer Session B for Summer Quarter and by the first day of instruction for Fall Quarter to avoid incurring a late-payment fee. Acceptable forms of payment include cash, money order, checks, E-checks, credit card, or domestic and international wire transfers. All checks should be made out to UC Regents and include your PERM number or billing account number on the check.

If for some reason you cannot make a payment in full, call the UCSB Business & Financial Services Office at 805-893-3756 to set up a payment plan.

Statement of Legal Residence (SLR)

All new graduate students are required to submit a Statement of Legal Residence (SLR) under a UC system-wide policy. Please do this as soon as possible after submitting your Statement of Intent to Register (SIR). Students are considered non-CA residents and assessed non-resident fees until their SLR is reviewed and residence classified. 

Fellowship Award Disbursement

For students receiving a Bren School recruitment fellowship, your BARC account will be credited by the first day of instruction, as long as you are registered for class well in advance of the first day of school. You may still receive an email from BARC prior to the start of the summer quarter regarding required payment of fees. Your account will be credited with your quarterly award amount by Monday, August 2, 2021. If for some reason you still do not see a credit after the start of the quarter, please contact the Bren School Student Affairs and Admissions team. 

All students receiving departmental awards for the 2021-2022 academic year have already been notified. Unless notified by the Bren School, there is nothing further you need to do as a fellowship recipient to process these funds (other than make sure you are registered for class!).

Financial Aid and FAFSA

Students' Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms are processed by UCSB's Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships (not the Bren School). UCSB graduate students are notified of eligibility for student loans by the Financial Aid Office during the summer. You can check your financial aid status by logging-in here. Any questions regarding financial aid packages and loans should be directed to the UCSB Financial Aid office at 805-893-2432.

When you complete the FAFSA, you may qualify for work-study, which can be applied to employment opportunities both on and off campus (if the employer qualifies). Hiring students with work-study awards is beneficial to employers because the work-study program pays a percentage of the student employees gross wage. You must elect to use your work-study award, so please make sure you fill out the appropriate paperwork. You can search for on and off-campus work-study positions on the UCSB Career Services website. In most cases, Student Assistant and Research Assistant Positions are eligible to use work-study.

Please note: Due to the program's summer start, students must file FAFSAs for their incoming academic year and the year prior, e.g. a MEDS student starting in Summer 2022 must file a 2021-22 FAFSA and the 2022-23 FAFSA.

On-Campus Employment Opportunities

Student Assistant Positions

Most staff units within the Bren School hire master’s students as Student Assistants. Often these jobs do not directly relate to the students' academic or professional interests, but their pay (~$13 - $18/hour), flexible hours, and convenient location make them of interest to students. Staff units who hire student assistants include: Career Development & Alumni Relations; Student Affairs & Admissions; Events; Facilities Maintenance; and Computing. Staff units circulate announcements advertising opportunities throughout the year to cohort listservs as they identify hiring needs, though most prefer to hire Student Assistants in Fall Quarter. You are automatically signed up to receive these announcements. 

Research Assistant Positions

Research Assistant positions can be arranged directly with the faculty member who needs a student to assist with research. If you are interested in a research position, then you should contact the professor who is doing research of interest to you to inquire whether any positions are available for next year. 

Alternatively, faculty members will circulate temporary Research Assistant positions among our master’s cohorts soliciting help on short-term projects or proposals. Many announcements of this type are distributed throughout the year, usually by the Bren School Career Development team.

Research Assistant (RA) positions are different from Graduate Student Research (GSR) positions. The RA position is typically paid an hourly rate in exchange for assisting faculty in their research. GSR positions are usually held by PhD students doing research in their faculty advisor's lab, for which they receive a salary and tuition remission. If you are hired by a faculty member to assist in research, it is important to be clear about their (and your) expectations for compensation.



Overview and Benefits

TA positions are a great way for students to gain teaching experience while offsetting costs of school. In the 2020-21 academic year, the MESM students obtained 126 TA appointments in 17 different departments on campus. 

If you are employed as a TA at 25-50% time (10-20 hours per week, respectively), you receive a salary and payment of tuition and health insurance for the quarter(s) you are employed (see the table below). TA positions do not cover campus fees ($328 per quarter), or the $3,333 per quarter Professional Degree Supplemental Tuition (PDST), or the $5,034 per quarter Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition (NRST). For more information, please visit the UCSB Graduate Division website's Academic Appointments section.

Teaching Assistant Pay Scale
*Salary/Benefits Fall/Winter/Spring Year Total
Salary (25%-50%) $3,762 - $7,523 $11,286 - $22,569
Tuition and Fees $4,190 $12,570
Health Insurance $4,131 $4,293
Total $9,383 - $13,144 $28,149 - $39,432

 *TA positions do not pay campus-based fees ($232.51/quarter), professional degree supplemental tuition, or non-resident supplemental tuition.

Any student who has secured a TA position for any department on campus is required to attend a mandatory TA Orientation. Any student who secures a TA position at a later point in the school year may schedule a make-up orientation with Lisa Berry (; 805-893-8395) at UCSB Instructional Development. All TAs are also required to complete Sexual Harassment Prevention training and in many instances must complete additional trainings specific to the department. For example, MCDB and EEMB require students to complete Lab Safety Training and to enroll in a special course: MCSB/EEMB 502, to be eligible for their positions. It is the student's responsibility to ensure they have completed the proper training. Before accepting a position, please make sure you know what training, weekly meetings or other commitments you are responsible for your position and ensure they do not conflict with your course schedule. It is not acceptable to miss class on a regular basis for TA duties. 

How to find a TA position

At UC Santa Barbara, students are eligible to TA for the level of education they have completed. The Bren School does not offer undergraduate classes, so we cannot hire master’s students to TA Bren classes. Bren staff distribute any advertisements received from departments via email to incoming students; however, students who wish to secure TA positions should directly contact UCSB departments with undergraduate programs that employ TAs. All UCSB departments have a different process and timeline for recruiting TAs. TA selection for Fall Quarter typically starts in Spring Quarter and continues throughout the summer up until just before the start of the school year. 

Who to Contact

Students must reach out to the graduate program assistants in the UCSB undergraduate or graduate departments they’d like to work for. Alternatively, you could reach out to the faculty member who is teaching the course you’d like to assist. 

Many Bren MESM students have worked as TAs in the Environmental Studies (ES) department; however, Bren students have worked in nearly every department on campus. Choosing a department to work for highly depends on your academic background and interests. Other common departments for MESM students are Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology (EEMB) and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB). If you are interested in being a TA in the Communications department at UCSB, they have set up a link to submit your information and indicate your interest. All other department contact information and annual updates to posted positions can be found on the UCSB Academic Personnel’s Graduate Student Academic Appointments page (click ASE Open Positions). Additionally, Bren students recently put together this helpful pdf of contacts for the departments that MESM students worked in during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years. 

Important Things to Consider

When you apply for Teaching Assistant positions, it is important to remember you represent the Bren School - professional courtesy applies. Most departments have obligations to fund their graduate students first and then look to hire from outside departments. You may not hear from them right away, and it is not unusual for Bren students to get hired in the weeks right before the start of the quarter. They receive high volumes of applications from students and expect you to notify them if you are no longer available (i.e. have accepted another position) and, most importantly, to follow through with any acceptance of employment.

Additionally, check to make sure that your schedule of classes enables you to TA for the section you are assigned and that you understand all of your required responsibilities (i.e. do you need to proctor exams, attend all lectures?) before you say yes. It is NOT acceptable to miss class so you can TA or to bail on a TA position at the last minute. This type of behavior may inhibit you or other Bren students from being hired in that department in the future. Please also note that the lunch hour (11am -12pm) Monday-Thursday have been left open for Bren-related events such as seminars, career and academic program workshops. Please do not schedule sections or other commitments over this time, as students are expected to attend these sessions.

Lastly, we encourage all new MEDS students to consider not working as TAs during their first two quarters at Bren, if financially possible. The MEDS program is a highly accelerated program and it can easily become overwhelming if you’ve been out of school for a while, if you’ve never been away from home, or if you’re simply not used to the quarter system. It’s ideal to use these quarters  to focus on doing well in core courses, getting acclimated to graduate school and the quarter system, and connecting with your cohort.  

What should you be doing now? 

MEDS curriculum overview, core courses, how and when to register 

Important information on mandatory Bren School orientation events

Cost of attendance, paying your bill, BARC, FAFSA, establishing residency, and employment opportunities.

Graduate Student Housing, UCSB student ID cards, computing, university email, health insurance, transportation, campus resources, and more.

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