Low Residency MFA: Writing Programs

I don’t have a big post on this (yet) as I’ve just started looking into it myself but something that has stood out: VERY few assistantships are offered in low residency programs.

Yet tuition is still quite high.

The universities seem to be standing behind this guise that, because it is a low residency program, an assistantship isn’t deserved. Despite the fact that the costs are no lower. Or that the work for the program could actually be more trying than that of a conventional program as they appear to be somewhat shorter but more intensive on the writing front.

I don’t see any reason why universities can’t find a way to offer assistantships to low residency programs. From my experience in various English departments there is always a ton of work that could easily be farmed out through email that would lift a lot of burden from the professors and support staff (secretaries). Even work on a literary journal could be farmed out to different places all across the globe and be successfully completed.

The low residency program seems like something that has popped up for people with lives too busy or too entrenched to allow for a move to a new place for 2-3 years of classes. but I think they are also at the edge of a growing digital age where the conventional classroom is going to gradually shrink and become less of a feature of the modern university. Give how most universities have chosen to not support low residency programs, instead just asking for cash on the barrel head, I wonder if we’re going to see a similar resistance to the growth of online/digital classes where more schools begin to offer them but also refuse to help finance the students who desire/need to take them.

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