The Office of Graduate Studies maintains an excellent web page on financing your graduate studies at the University of Texas - http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/funding/ - which you should be sure to review.
The Economics Department offers financial support in several forms: fellowships, research assistantships and teaching assistantships. The number of fellowships and RA positions is quite limited, however, so most support comes in the form of TAships. Competition for all forms of support is very keen.
Recruitment Fellowships are awarded to incoming students who show unusual promise and exceptional academic ability. The Department of Economics and The Office of Graduate Studies administer several types of such fellowships. They may be awarded as full fellowships or as partial fellowships added onto TAships.
Fellowships for Continuing Students
Graduate students who perform very well in the program are eligible for fellowships from the Department and The Office of Graduate Studies. These include:
Hale Fellowships: Several scholarships of $2000 are awarded each year by the Economics Department for summer support. They are usually given to advanced students who have demonstrated high academic achievement and the need for ongoing support. Applications are due in May.
University Continuing Fellowships: Students are nominated by the Department and selected by The Office of Graduate Studies. These fellowships provide a substantial stipend per academic year. Fellowship holders are entitled to resident tuition and receive an additional grant each semester towards tuition and fees.
Second Year Paper Award(s): A fellowship of $2500 is awarded annually to the student who submits an exceptional Second Year Paper.
Availability of RA positions depends on outside funding for faculty research, the student's personal contact with professors seeking research help, and the student's individual skills. Most RA jobs go to continuing students, but a special Research Intern (RI) position might be available to a newly admitted graduate student. RAs employed 20 hours per week are entitled to resident tuition and health insurance benefits. In addition, each year, the Department awards 4-5 special RA jobs for the summer.
Teaching assistants help faculty conduct their courses. TA activities typically include grading homework and exams, making up and administering exams, and most importantly, holding office hours for students. Teaching assistants receive a stipend, pay in-state tuition and fees, and also receive a Tuition Assistance Benefit (which offsets most of the cost of in-state tuition) each long semester. In addition, their spouses and children are entitled to pay in-state tuition at The University of Texas, and the University contributes substantially towards the costs of medical insurance for the student and his or her dependents.
Students admitted with teaching assistantships can generally expect them to be renewed for up to 8 semesters provided that: (i) adequate funding is available and (ii) they are making satisfactory progress in the graduate program and performing their duties satisfactorily.
The terms "satisfactory progress toward degree" and "satisfactory performance of duties assigned" are spelled out in a departmental regulations memo that accompanies every TA offer. These regulations include the maintenance of a competitive GPA in required courses, completion of nine semester hours each semester, and satisfactory progress through the core courses, comprehensive exams, and Second Year Paper.
We have a limited number of TA summer slots, and preference is normally given to students who have completed at least 2 years in the program.
The ability to communicate effectively in English is essential to performing TA duties and is required by the University. Accordingly, the Department of Economics has established competence in spoken English as prerequisite for receiving a teaching assistantship.
International students whose first language is not English and who have not attended either high school, college, or a previous graduate program in the U.S. are required to demonstrate proficiency in spoken English by passing or conditionally passing an oral English exam administered by the University's International TA/AI Program. The Test of Spoken English (TSE) may be used as a substitute for our campus assessment, with the approval of the Graduate School, if the student receives a score of 55 or above. We encourage applicants who are applying for financial support from the Department to take the TSE and have their official scores sent to GIAC, as we will give them serious consideration in making financial award decisions.
All international Teaching Assistants who either pass or are exempted from the University's oral English assessment based on having attended a graduate program in the US must also complete an online workshop for new international TAs before assuming their duties. Students who pass the exam only conditionally are required, in addition, to enroll in a one-semester training course for international TAs during their first semester as TAs. The Department of Economics expects the student to take this course in addition to his or her full graduate course load (three courses, or nine credit hours). The student must pass the course in order to be eligible for reappointment the following semester. More detailed information about the International TA/AI Program is available on the program’s website: http://world.utexas.edu/esl/ita
Stipends from TAships are offered on a nine month basis. Proof of support for twelve months is required for issuance of an immigration document. if the amount of support provided by a TA stipend is not sufficient for issuance of an immigration document, the Department will provide the student with an additional fellowship to meet the minimum income requirement. In that case the International Office can issue the appropriate immigration document (form I-20 or form IAP-66).
All international students are required to carry medical insurance. Teaching Assistants are provided with a medical insurance plan that is partially funded by the University; this is the same plan faculty and staff are eligible for. Thus the medical insurance fees for international TAs are waived.