I picked up a copy of The Creative Writing MFA Handbook. So far, the book has been really helpful. What really struck a nerve with me was the question of funding. The schools I am considering in-state don’t offer full funding. At Western State College, I could pay as much as $45,000 not including travel (it is low residency), lodging, or books. I just don’t see how I can justify that sort of cost (especially since I will likely not be making much after graduation, at least not until I sell a few books). The scary thing is that Western is the cheapest program I’ve found.
I don’t mind going out of state provided I get full funding. A lot of schools I’ve been looking at don’t offer full funding and charge outrageous out of state tuition and fees. The schools that do offer full funding seem super competitive. I just feel depressed and a little overwhelmed by the whole venture. The book suggests that I apply at 8-12 schools. At $50-$100 a pop for application fees, that many applications are out of my reach. I can’t afford to apply without guarantee of funding but they won’t guarantee funding unless I apply.
I’m going to visit Western on Tuesday. Perhaps I’ll feel a little better about it then. I’m just not sure about paying that much for a program. Is it too much to dream that an in-state program will love my writing sample so much that they will offer me a full ride? I don’t know, but searching for programs is hell.