We accept only as many graduate students into our MA and PhD programs as we can support financially. That is, all of our admitted students receive financial aid!

Although the exact nature depends on the type of financial aid, typically students receive a tuition waiver (meaning that they do not owe tuition to the university) as well as a monthly stipend.

All students who apply to one of our graduate programs are considered for all forms of financial aid. You will be asked to rank the three types of financial aid (fellowships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships) in order of preference on the online application.

Prospective students should keep in mind that cost of living in Champaign-Urbana is significantly lower than in the larger metropolitan areas where many similar institutions are located.

The three types of financial aid are described below.


Fellowships provide students with a monthly stipend and a tuition waiver but do not have a work obligation. That is, students with a fellowship are paid to study in our program.

Below is a list of fellowships that students in our program often win. Please note: all students are automatically considered for these fellowships when they apply for admission.

  • Department Fellowship

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese has a pool of fellowship funds earmarked for graduate student recruitment and support. The departmental admissions committee selects applicants to receive departmental fellowships based on their overall profile and promise of academic excellence. Awards tend to range between $10,000 and $20,000 per student, per year.

  • Timothy J. Rogers Memorial Fellowships

The "Timothy J. Rogers Memorial Fellowships" shall be used for graduate students enrolled in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Recipients of the fellowships shall be selected based upon undergraduate academic, research, and leadership achievement and shall be planning to pursue or are pursuing a graduate program of studies in Spanish. Financial need need not be a consideration in determining the recipients.

The Department nominates students from populations that have been historically underrepresented in graduate study for these fellowships. Awards are ultimately made by the Graduate College and stipends range from $12,000 to $25,000 per year.

This is the most selective graduate fellowship on our campus, and it provides a $25,000 stipend each year for three years of graduate study. The Department nominates students with exceptional promise for this award, which is ultimately made by the Graduate College.

The Diffenbaugh Fellowship Fund, established in 1976 by Harry J. Diffenbaugh, supportsgraduate students at the University of Illinois who are or were residents of the State of Missouri. The fellowship is open to all legal residents of the State of Missouri as well as to any graduate of a high school, college, or university located in the State of Missouri.

The Department nominates eligible students for this fellowship, and the ultimate awards are made by the Graduate College. Stipends are $15,000 per year.

Teaching assistantships

The most common form of financial aid that our students receive is a teaching assistantship. Teaching assistants typically start out teaching introductory Spanish or Portuguese language courses and then gradually gain experience teaching intermediate level language courses, and even upper-level content courses in our major and minor.

The minimum salary for the 2021-2022 academic year for a teaching assistant with a standard (50%) appointment will be $19,300. This financial aid includes a full waiver of tuition and service fee for the academic year and following summer, full waivers of the health service, AFMFA and Library fees, a partial payment toward the graduate student health insurance fee, and provides basic dental and vision coverage. Students are responsible for paying the remaining fees of approximately $500 per semester. The minimum total value of this financial aid package is approximately $50,000 for an out-of-state student.

Research assistantships

Research assistantships are available on a limited basis, typically when an individual faculty member receives either university or external funding for a research project. The faculty member chooses graduate students as research assistants based on their prior experience, training, and skills and communicates the expectations of the position to the student.

Summer support

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese offers summer financial support to all continuing students in good standing for a minimum of $3,500, which could be in the form of teaching assistantships, research assistantships, fellowships, or a combination of these sources. These additional summer opportunities are typically waiver-generating appointments and carry a partial coverage of summer health insurance. Our graduate students have also benefited from additional summer funding opportunities both within and outside of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese that have included teaching and research assistantships or fellowships.