Anxious in Ann Arbor writes...
I've been reading the entries on application research and I wanted to write in another piece of advice (i hate signing up for things, so avoided doing the blog sign-up thing)--applicants should always check department websites to back up other information. Program status is constantly changing, and figures on the dozen dozen site and in the MFA book can already be out of date. For instance, Washington (Seattle) just got a huge gift that's going to completely change their funding package, Michigan now gives every student $18,000 for the first year (and $15,000 for the second through teaching), and Arizona has 6 new $25,000 fellowships. So for those applying, make sure you check the information you get on websites and books against what the department says, because apparently it's in fashion now for donors to give huge gifts to MFA programs.
The aid landscape is constantly shifting, mostly for the better, and as it shifts programs you might have written off for poor funding could have suddenly grown generous.
The only caution here would be that, as someone else has already noted, the websites can sometimes be poor and out of date, so if you've got contradictory information, or there's a program you really like but their funding looks crappy, it's worth it to email the grad secretary or somesuch person to check on funding--it took Michigan two years to update their website so it would reflect their new funding, and I'll bet they aren't alone.
--Anxious in Ann Arbor