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Financial Aid/Tuition

a top-10 low residency MFA program

Poets & Writers, year after year after year

What is the cost for the Spalding low residency MFA program?

Tution, Fees, and other Costs

The Spalding low residency MFA program is a 65-hour degree, which includes four semesters that are comprised of a 3-hour residency session and a 12-hour independent study session, followed by a 5-hour Graduation Residency. For fall 2014 through summer 2015, the tuition for the Program is $550 per credit hour. The tuition includes a $150 graduation fee. The Spalding application fee is $30.

For the Louisville residencies, students are responsible for travel and housing, while many residency meals are included. The cost for housing ranges from $450 to $900 for nine nights at the Brown Hotel. Depending on availability lower-cost housing at the University dormitory may be available (around $300 for nine nights). If they prefer, students may make their own accommodation arrangements. Students who bring a car to the residency may have parking fees.

For the summer residency, students are responsible for travel, housing, and meals; the estimated cost is $3,900-4,900, but costs vary depending on the location and accommodations.

The cost of books is difficult to determine because each semester’s reading list is individually determined, but an estimate is $200-$250. Postage to mail packets during the semester ranges from $150-$200.

Tuition and other charges (like housing) are due before the beginning of the residency and may be sent by check or money order, paid by Visa or MasterCard by phone before arrival at the residency, or for spring and fall semesters paid at the Enrollment Services Center in the lobby of the Egan Leadership Center (corner of 4th and Breckinridge)  on the Friday of arrival up until 5 p.m.

*A tuition increase of 4-5 percent is expected each fall.

What about financial assistance?

Student Loans

Student Loans
Graduate students who are U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens may use federal student loans to help finance their studies. No grants or fellowships are available through Spalding University.

Federal students loans for graduate students are available to most U. S. citizens unless they have defaulted on previous student loans or have reached the lifetime limit. (See www.fafsagov for a discussion of the limits.) Full-time graduate students are usually eligible to borrow up to about $20,500 per year (2 semesters per year). See a list of Financial Aid FAQs here.

Even before being accepted to the Program, students interested in financial aid through student loans may fill out the federal form (FAFSA) located online at Spalding’s code is 001960.

While applicants who wish financial aid through federal student loans should fill out the federal aid form (FAFSA) as soon as possible when making application, Spalding’s Financial Aid Office cannot provide financial aid package information until the applicant has been accepted into the Program. Once accepted, students may contact the Financial Aid Specialist at (502) 873-4333, or (800) 896-8941, ext. 4333.

Contribution to Scholarship Funds

Contributions to Scholarship Funds
Through of generous donations of alumni, faculty, students, and friends of the MFA, the Spalding low residency MFA in Writing program has several scholarship funds (see below). Persons interested in making a donation to any of the MFA in Writing scholarship funds or in setting up a special named scholarship should contact the Bert Griffin, Director of Advancement and Philanthropy at or visit

Scholarship Resources Currently Available to Students

Scholarship Resources Currently Available to Students

In 2013, the Spalding low residency MFA program awarded 59 scholarships in the amount of $45,985. New students who have been accepted into the MFA in Writing Program may apply for a scholarship as described below. To apply, eligible new students email Program Director Sena Jeter Naslund at describing their need and stating the desire to be considered for a scholarship. Please put “Scholarship Request” in the subject line. The deadline for application is April 1 for the spring or summer semester and October 1 for the fall semester.

  • MFA in Writing Scholarship Fund for Minorities: These scholarships, usually in the amount of $500-1,000, are based on merit, then on need. (Minority is defined as person of color.)
  • MFA in Writing Scholarship Fund: From this fund, several scholarships in the range of $500-$750 are given to new students based on merit, then on need. In 2013, the program awarded 44 scholarships totaling $43,935 to students.
  • MFA Alumni Endowed Scholarship. New students are given scholarships based on need from this fund.
  • J. Terry Price Scholarship. Each year, a new student in fiction is awarded a scholarship from this fund based on need.
  • Audrey Wasson and Carol Leseure Endowed Scholarship in Poetry. Beginning in Fall 2015, each year, a new student in poetry is awarded a scholarship from this fund based on need.
  • Diana M. Raab Scholarship in Creative Nonfiction: In 2013, a creative nonfiction student was awarded a $250 scholarship, which can be renewed each semester as long as the student returns the following semester and remains in good standing in the Program. In general, this scholarship is awarded every two years to a new student.
  • Eileen Spinelli Writing for Children Scholarship. Each semester, a new student in writing for children and young adults is awarded a scholarship of $250 based on need.
  • Kentucky Teachers Scholarship.  New for 2013: The MFA Program now offers special Kentucky Teachers Scholarships for Kentucky teachers of any subject and at any level, K through university. Teachers who study creative writing have unique skills and insights to share with students and a special zest for promoting both creative and critical thinking. To apply for the Kentucky Teachers Scholarship, applicants, who are new students and teach in Kentucky, email Program Director Sena Jeter Naslund at describing their need and stating the desire to be considered for the scholarship for Kentucky teachers. Please put “Kentucky Teacher Scholarship Request” in the subject line.
  • Bob Keith Travel Scholarship. Each summer, a student is awarded a scholarship of about $500-$1,000 from this scholarship fund.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Assistantships

For second-, third-, and fourth-semester students, several graduate assistantships are available that result in tuition remission from about $600 to $1,800 per semester. Assistantships are competitive and for one semester only (though a student may re-apply for assistantships in subsequent semesters). In 2013, the program awarded 26 assistantships totaling about $31,000 for the spring, summer, and fall semesters. The amount of the assistantship depends on the nature of the assistantship and the amount of hours a student is able to commit to the assistantship. For example, an assistantship for a student who wishes to work 5 hours a week during the semester is $1,200. Assistantships include working on the program newsletter, working in the MFA office, working as a publication specialist for The Louisville Review and Fleur-de-Lis Press, and assisting with The Louisville Review, a national literary magazine. Students do not have to live in Louisville to apply for graduate assistantships. The deadline to apply for an assistantship for the fall  semester is August 28, and the deadline to apply for spring or summer is February 28.

Altogether, the Spalding MFA program gives around $80,000 a year in scholarships and assistantships.

Spalding University’s low residency MFA in Writing program is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Spalding University’s low residency MFA in Writing  program is a member of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and the Playwrights’ Center.

Contact us:

MFA Office: (502) 873-4400 or (800) 896-8941, ext. 4400

Master of Fine Arts in Writing
Spalding University
851 South Fourth Street
Louisville, KY 40203

FAX: (502) 992-2409

last updated 07-09-2014 information subject to change without notice