Presidential Arts Fellows

Supporting student researchers pursuing a terminal Master of Fine Arts degree

The Presidential Arts Fellows (PAF) program, modelled on the Presidential Doctoral Research Fellows (PDRF) program, is a prestige fellowship program intended to help programs recruit the most promising candidates for the terminal MFA. By providing additional financial support for the student on top of what the department and college can offer, this program incentivizes students who might otherwise choose to attend graduate school elsewhere to select Utah State for their MFA. The success of the PDRF program in attracting top candidates who go on to add to USU’s research reputation and to become leaders in their fields leads to the expectation that the PAF program will yield similar results.

To enhance the competitiveness of the financial offer that USU MFA programs seeking top candidates can offer, the PAF includes a $5000 scholarship for 3 years, full tuition up to 60 credits, at least a college-standard assistantship at $12,000/9-month (for 2024 – if the college-standard rises, the minimum PAF assistantship will rise with it) and at least 80% of the student’s health insurance. For non-resident students, the candidate must be eligible for the Graduate School’s Excellence Waiver for year 1, with residency expected by year 2. For international students, the Excellence Waiver will be for all three years.

Office of Research Funding
Funding provided by the Office of Research:
  • $5,000/year scholarship
  • Tuition up to 60 credits total over 3 years

Caine College/Department Funding
Funding provided by the Caine College of the Arts and/or the Department:
  • Minimum of $12,000/9-month assistantship (or college minimum)
  • Minimum of $80% of health insurance cost


  • The CCA Dean will be responsible for ensuring that the department fulfills the stipulated assistantship and health insurance obligation and certifying that this has been done prior to the disbursement of the scholarship and tuition funds by the Office of Research in August of each year of the PAF’s term.
  • The Dean is also responsible for the allocation of the fellowships and may work in concert with Department Heads to identify faculty who have top candidates for whom the fellowship would be advantageous in recruitment.
  • To be eligible for recruitment, a candidate must have applied to USU. External candidates (those not holding a BFA from USU) are strongly preferred. The candidate cannot already have accepted admission to USU, or already be enrolled at USU.
  • All terms limiting the PDRF program also apply to PAF.
  • If a fellow leaves the program prior to the end of the three year term, that position will be returned to the Dean for reallocation (it cannot be reassigned by the PI or Department Head).
  • PAFs will be fully integrated into, and expected to participate in, PDRF programming.

PAF Investment by the Numbers

Year # of Openings Total # of Fellows Office of Research Investment
1 2 2 $10K + tuition
2 1 3 $15K + tuition
3 1 4 $20K + tuition
4 2 4 $20K + tuition
5 1 4 $20K + tuition