I applied to graduate school in USA for Fall 23. Recently I got an email from the director of graduate admission saying that there is no TA/Funding available and initially all the offers are made for this year. I was too late in submitting my application for some reason. I had applied to this university in mid-March and the application deadline was in January. In the email, the director asked whether I would like to defer my application for Spring 24 or not. What does "defer" mean? Is there any chance of Funding/GTA in Spring 24?

3 Answers 3


Defer usually means delay and that they will hold a place for you. But...

Ask the director. There is no way to know in general what the policy is. I suspect that it means you can get funding then, but don't depend on that guess. Ask.

And your acceptance into the program isn't clear from what you write. If you have been accepted, it is easier to defer the start date than funding.


You should ask for clarification, but it appears that the department is willing to keep your application and consider it again for admission in the spring of 2024. At that point, if there is a TA/RA available, you might receive an offer for a position starting in the spring of 2024.

Assuming that this is what is being offered, you should probably say that you would like your application to be considered for the spring of 2024.


In my math department, "deferring" an application does not mean anything about admission, nor about funding. It means that they'd consider your application in a later round, and consider you for funding at that time. No promises of either one, just that you missed the deadline for Fall 2023.

(Yes, in the U.S., in math, the application deadlines for Fall semesters are 8 or 9 months prior, essentially early in the preceding January. Also, in my dept, we typically commit funding for a 9-month school year, so there is no new funding available for Spring semesters. And we try to avoid admission-without-funding, so we rarely look at applications for admission to Spring semesters.)

  • Basically it means they're saving you the trouble of resubmitting next year.
    – Barmar
    Apr 22, 2023 at 21:59
  • And, in line with @Barmar's comment, you'd save the application fee! :) Apr 22, 2023 at 22:02

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