National Fellowships Incentive Program

 

Overview

The Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships (ONSF), is pleased to announce the continuation of UConn’s ambitious incentive program to build a stronger student and faculty culture around applying for prestigious, nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships.

Under this program, all UConn faculty on all campuses (including UCHC) are eligible for up to $2,000 in professional development funds as thanks for mentoring students through the process of developing proposals and submitting applications for eligible awards.  Additionally, full-time graduate students who apply for NFIP-eligible fellowships may apply for a $250 scholarship through this program.  In the program’s first three years, more than $300,000 in professional development funds and graduate student scholarships have been awarded.

Program Rationale and Goals

Many UConn students are promising candidates for individual fellowships, but many who are eligible do not apply.  ONSF believes that faculty advising, mentoring, and support are vital to the development of quality proposals and successful applications.  Therefore, in 2016, The Provost’s Office, The Graduate School, and ONSF created the National Fellowships Incentive Program (NFIP) to broaden and deepen faculty involvement in this particular form of mentoring and to encourage submission of high quality applications from students enrolled in disciplines in which individual fellowships are available.

In 2018, the NFIP was extended to graduate students.  Graduate students who apply for eligible fellowships (see below) may have up to $250 in scholarship funds applied towards their fee bill in exchange for an agreement to share elements of their application with future UConn students who are applying for the same (or similar) awards.

At this time, undergraduates are not eligible for these payouts.  However, faculty who mentor undergraduate applicants are eligible for the faculty program.

Program Description: Graduate Students

All full-time graduate students in good standing who submit applications for eligible individual fellowships funded by extramural agencies or foundations are eligible. Students who apply for an eligible individual fellowship (e.g. NSF-GRFP, NIH-NRSA, Ford Foundation Dissertation Completion, SSRC-IDRF, etc.) will be awarded a $250 scholarship payment, which will be applied towards their fee bill.  If the student has a fee bill balance of $0.00, the Bursar’s office will cut a check.

In order to receive the NFIP Scholarship, graduate students must complete the internal NFIP application, which is available online via the link at the bottom of this page, after they submit their external fellowship application.  Applicants must provide an electronic copy of the complete application along with evidence that the application has been received by the granting agency or foundation.

If a student receives need-based aid, receiving the NFIP Scholarship could have both financial aid and tax implications.  Please consult with the Office of Financial Aid and your tax professional before submitting an NFIP Scholarship application.

While students are encouraged to apply for more than one fellowship, students are only eligible for one award per year, with a maximum of two awards to any single student over the course of that student’s career.  The $250 award is given for initial submissions only; a student may not receive the NFIP Fellowship two years in a row for submitting to the same fellowship in two different competition cycles.

Program Description: Faculty

ONSF will provide professional development funds to faculty advisers who mentor their research advisees through the process of applying for individual fellowships funded by extramural agencies or foundations. Faculty members whose research advisees apply for an eligible individual fellowship (e.g. NSF-GRFP, NIH-NRSA R31, Ford Foundation Dissertation Completion, SSRC-IDRF, etc.) will be awarded $1,000 in professional development funds (awards to non-UCHC faculty will be deposited into a Ledger 4 professional development account; UCHC faculty will receive funds through a different mechanism).

Ledger 4 funds are subject to the same basic conditions as other professional development funds, and thus may be used for a broad range of professional development purposes, including materials/equipment purchases and travel reimbursement.  However, by applying for this award, faculty acknowledge the restrictions that govern their use -- most notably, Ledger 4 funds may not be used to pay or supplement the applicant's salary or the salaries of employees who report to the applicant, nor may they be used for any personal purposes.

The NFIP is designed to broaden and deepen faculty involvement in fellowships advising.  Therefore, to qualify for this award, the application must be reviewed prior to submission by the student’s faculty mentor, who must verify to ONSF (in the online application) that the student’s application meets his or her personal and professional standard of quality and/or competitiveness.

The $1,000 faculty award is given for initial submissions only; a mentor may not receive an NFIP award two years in a row for mentoring a student through the same fellowship application in two different competition cycles.

Faculty are only eligible for one award per student per year, with a maximum of two awards for mentoring any single student over the course of that student’s career.  Furthermore, under this program, no individual faculty member may receive more than $2,000 in a single academic year/awards cycle.

Eligibility and Exceptions

Graduate Students:  All full-time, degree-seeking UConn graduate students in good standing are eligible for this program.

Faculty:  All tenured, tenure track, research, and in-residence faculty at all UConn campuses, as well as Jackson Laboratories faculty serving as primary advisers to UConn graduate students, are eligible for this program.

Undergraduate Students:  At this point, undergraduate students are not eligible to receive payouts under this program.  However, faculty whose undergraduate mentees apply for eligible fellowships are eligible for the faculty portion of the program.

Fellowships & Scholarships:  For purposes of this program, an eligible fellowship award is defined as having all of the following features:

1) It is nationally competitive;

2) It is an individual, not institutional, award (please note that this renders most training grant programs ineligible for this program);

3) It is intended by the granting agency or foundation to be the student’s sole or primary source of support during the fellowship period (usually stated clearly in CFPs or program guidelines);

4) The fellowship period is no less than nine months in duration;

5) The fellowship carries with it a stipend equal to or greater than 75% of a nine month UConn graduate assistantship at the level appropriate to the student’s status at the time the award begins (current amounts listed here); and,

6) The fellowship carries with it some associated programming and/or professional development/networking opportunities during or beyond the fellowship term.  Examples include NSF’s GRIP and GROW programs and DOE-CSGF’s lab practica.  (Dissertation completion awards that meet the first five criteria are not subject to this final requirement.)

A list of pre-approved fellowship programs is available here and as a drop-down menu in the online application.  However this list is not meant to be exhaustive.  Students apply for eligible awards that do not appear on the list of pre-approved fellowships may, and are encouraged to, submit documentation of eligibility through the online application.

Exceptions.  At this time, the following scholarship, fellowship, and research training/support opportunities are not eligible for the NFIP:  Rhodes, Marshall, Mitchell, Schwarzman, Knight-Hennessy, Beinecke, Truman, Udall, Goldwater, Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, Fulbright Study Awards (research awards are eligible), Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships, Fulbright Summer Institutes, Boren Scholarships (Boren Fellowships are eligible), Critical Language Scholarships, NIH-R36 Dissertation Awards, and the NSF-Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement (DDRI) Grants and Awards available in some disciplines.  The rationales behind these exclusions vary, and students and faculty with questions about them are encouraged to contact ONSF for clarification.  Ultimately, if the opportunity is designed to support the applicant's undergraduate education or if the award's primary criteria are non-academic, then it will generally not be eligible for funding under this program.

Process

Faculty and graduate students apply for the NFIP independently, and only individuals who submit applications will be considered for awards.  Advisers:  just because your student applied for an award does not mean that you will receive funds; you must submit your own application.  Also, please note that faculty mentors of undergraduate applicants will need to secure electronic copies of documents from their mentees in order to complete the application (see checklist below).

Applications and Relevant Deadlines

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, and faculty are encouraged to submit their online applications within 60 days of the date the student’s fellowship application is submitted.  

However, in no instance will applications associated with fellowships with deadlines that fall between July 1 and December 31 be accepted after the first day of classes of the spring semester.  Similarly, all applications associated with fellowships with deadlines that fall between January 1 and May 31 must be submitted before June 10.  If you or your student intends to apply for a fellowship with a June 2020 deadline, please contact Vin Moscardelli at vin.moscardelli@uconn.edu.

Demand for this program has outstripped the supply of funds each of the past two years; therefore faculty and students should consider these deadlines firm.

Checklist (materials and information you’ll need to assemble before you start the online application)

To complete the online application the following materials are required.  They should be submitted via the online application linked below.

Graduate Students:

_____  An electronic (*.pdf preferred) copy of the completed scholarship or fellowship application, including all associated personal statements and research proposals.

_____  Documentation (program URL preferred) that the stipend provided by the fellowship equals or exceeds that of 75% of a nine-month UConn graduate assistantship at the level appropriate for the student’s status at the time the award begins. (Note: This requirement is waived for fellowships that appear in the pre-approved (dropdown) list in the application.)

_____  Verification of receipt of the application by the funding agency. (A screenshot of the confirmation Email is sufficient.)

Faculty:

_____  Student applicant’s UConn Email address.

_____  Ledger 4 account number into which funds should be distributed (if available).

_____  Name and Email of department (or BSC) staff member who administers the Ledger 4 account (required to coordinate the transfer of funds from ONSF to faculty adviser’s account).  UCHC faculty do not have to provide a Ledger 4 account number at the time they submit their application(s), only the name and Email address of their account administrator.

Note:  If you are a faculty mentor of an undergraduate applicant, you must assemble all of the items on both lists in order to complete the application.  At this time, undergraduates are not eligible for the student stipend and as such, they are not required to complete the online NFIP application.

Additional Clarifications and Information Specific to the 2019-20 Program

ONSF reserves the right to discontinue or suspend the program subject to the availability of funds.

The “winner’s bonus” payments available in previous years have been discontinued for the 2019-20 cycle.  This will allow the the NFIP to remain active later in the spring before funds are depleted and to support a greater number of faculty and students.

Faculty who advise a large number of students applying for eligible fellowships should note individual faculty are limited to total payout of $2,000 in any academic year.  The online application allows for applicants to identify multiple fellowships and applicants are encouraged to share this information with ONSF through the NFIP application.

Fellowship applications with deadlines (internal for those requiring institutional nomination or endorsement; external otherwise) that fell before July 1, 2019 are not eligible for 2019-20 round of funding.  There are no exceptions to this policy.

While most NFIP awards have gone to faculty whose graduate students apply for eligible fellowships, please be aware that the program also provides payments to mentors of UConn undergraduates who apply for NFIP-eligible awards regardless of where those students plan to attend graduate school.

Link to Application

The Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships advises and mentors students at the University of Connecticut who are competing for prestigious, nationally-competitive scholarships and fellowships. ONSF is part of UConn Enrichment Programs and is open to all graduate and undergraduate students at the University, including students at the regional campuses.

ONSF's mission is to foster the intellectual and personal growth of students from all backgrounds who are applying for nationally-competitive awards. By incorporating faculty, staff, and administrators into the recruitment, endorsement, and advising processes, ONSF engages the entire university community in promoting the campus fellowships culture and celebrating the excellence of UConn students.

The Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships encourages all faculty to increase their efforts to advise and mentor graduate and advanced undergraduate students through the process of developing proposals and submitting applications for prestigious, nationally and internationally competitive scholarship and fellowships and to participate in this new incentive program.  Those with questions about the program or their eligibility are encouraged to contact ONSF Director Vin Moscardelli at vin.moscardelli@uconn.edu, or to call 860-486-0087.

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