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Graduate Student Fellowships

Graduate fellowships are merit-based awards that enable the recipient to focus on graduate study, that do not have to be repaid, and that generally include both a stipend and tuition remission. Fellowships differ from Graduate Assistantships, which carry an obligation to teach classes, to work on a research project, or to perform administrative tasks.

Fellowship offers are made by graduate programs to incoming students as part of a recruitment package; some are made to current students through competitive awards processes. Applicants to graduate programs and current students should contact the relevant program for more information on available fellowships.

Fellowships are funded either internally, through several Graduate School's Fellowship programs, or externally, through a variety of outside funding agencies. A list of the Graduate School Fellowship and Award Programs can be found here.

The University of Maryland is committed to diversity and encourages programs to offer support to a diverse range of students consistent with campus principles of equal opportunity.

Status

Fellowships and scholarships are offered only to graduate students admitted to or enrolled in graduate degree programs at the University of Maryland. Fellows and scholars are expected to devote themselves full time to graduate study and to register full time as defined by the unit system. Students on fellowships and assistantships must be registered for 48 units. Audited courses do not generate units and cannot be used to determine full-time status. Fellows who also hold half-time assistantships need only register for 36 units to maintain full-time status.

Doctoral Candidates are automatically registered for Candidacy Tuition (899) each semester. This will satisfy the unit requirement for full-time status.

For more information about unit requirements, please view the registration policies page.

Qualifications

Students whose records indicate superior academic achievement and promise and who will increase diversity in their graduate program may be nominated for fellowships and scholarships. The determination of academic merit is based on undergraduate and graduate Grade Point Averages (GPA); scores on such national tests as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), and the Miller Analogies Test (MAT); the judgment of academic professionals in letters of recommendation; the nominee's Statement of Goals and Research Interests; and the nominee's Statement of Experiences.

External Fellowship Funding

External Graduate Fellowships are fellowships sponsored and funded by organizations outside the university. Corporations, charitable foundations, and numerous other groups fund graduate fellowships.

Private and Non-University Sponsored Fellowships. UMCP has several government and privately funded fellowships that are handled through the graduate programs and colleges. Some of these fellowships are won independently by students in national competitions; others are awarded directly to the colleges or programs, which then select student recipients. Students submitting applications for admission to graduate programs will be considered for such awards as appropriate; no additional application forms are required. Our graduate students are supported on fellowships from the Department of Defense, Ford Foundation, National Science Foundation, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, to name just a few. In addition, several graduate programs sponsor fellowship programs jointly with federal agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, NASA, and the National Institute of Standards in Technology.

Matching Tuition Scholarships for External Fellowships. These scholarships are awarded, subject to the availability of funding, to students who have received external fellowships that provide a stipend, but do not provide separate funds to cover the cost of tuition. The Graduate School policy on External Fellowship Tuition Remission is listed here.

Fellowship & Award Offer Letters

A formal offer letter specifying the award of a Graduate School fellowship is sent to the student from the Dean of the Graduate School in the spring semester. This letter specifies the stipend level, the duration of the commitment, the amount of tuition remitted, and the details of the fellowship or scholarship.

Duties

No service of any kind, either during the tenure of a scholarship or fellowship or in the future, is to be required of a fellow or scholar by their mentor or their graduate program. Fellows and scholars will carry out independent research under the supervision and guidance of-and sometimes in collaboration with-their mentors. Typically, at the start of their tenure as fellows or scholars, inexperienced students will require more supervision and guidance. Eventually, however, fellows in particular, should be treated as junior research associates. Under no circumstances are they to be assigned routine technical or administrative duties or given teaching assignments during the years in which they are supported by fellowships or scholarships.

Supplementation of Support

Students are not allowed to hold two full fellowships ($15,000 or higher each) concurrently. Please contact the graduate school if this situation occurs.

Gifts, departmental fellowships, or other special funds may provide additional support, in an amount not to exceed half the stipend of the fellowship or scholarship. If the fellowship allows, the fellow may be supplemented by an appointment to a position such as a half-time or quarter-time graduate assistantship, or by hourly employment not to exceed 10 hours per week.

Domestic students must consult the award's Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or the Award Guidelines to determine eligibility for supplementary employment. International students should consult International Student and Scholar Services by phone at 301-314-7740, regarding supplementary employment while on fellowship.

Additional On-Campus and Outside Employment

According to university policy, full time fellows and scholars may work on-campus or off-campus for a maximum of 10 hours per week in addition to holding the fellowship or scholarship as long as the fellowship rules allow for supplementary employment. In other words, fellows may be hired on a half-assistantship (which requires 10 hours per week) or work 10 hours per week on an hourly basis. This restriction on employment is intended to assure that students make rapid progress toward their degrees.

International fellows should consult International Student and Scholar Services by phone at 301-314-7740, regarding supplementary employment.

Deferral or Duplication of Support

Students are not allowed to hold two full fellowships or scholarships, either internal or external awards, or a combination of both, simultaneously. Fellows or scholars who receive offers of external fellowships, such as National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation Fellowships, or any other private or university-administered fellowships may request to defer their Graduate School fellowship or scholarship offer until such time as their other fellowship expires. Assuming satisfactory academic progress at that time, the student may again resume the Graduate School fellowship or scholarship.

Overload Payments for Graduate Fellows

If a circumstance arises that a fellow must work over the 10 hours per week, an overload form is necessary. This includes the winter term. Overload requests should be for temporary, short-term arrangements only. The request must be limited to one semester per request and must be received and approved by the Graduate School prior to the beginning of the appointment.

Stipend Disbursement

Fellowships are awarded for the academic year only. Stipend disbursements for US citizens and Permanent Residents may be given in lump sums at the start of each semester or spread out monthly. This disbursement is processed through the student award system. For international students, those on a J1 or F1 visas, the disbursement must be processed through payroll. Fellows must receive stipends within the ranges below in order to qualify for associated benefits. 

Tuition Remission and Mandatory Fees

The Graduate School provides tuition remission to graduate fellowship recipients who are paid from University and Dean’s Fellowship funds, or from external fellowship funds meeting the criteria specified below. Tuition remission and health insurance subsidies are subject to continued availability of resources. Tuition remission will be provided only for credits that are degree applicable.

I. GRADUATE FELLOWS HOLDING UNIVERSITY OR DEAN’S FELLOWSHIPS (entered through the Student Award System found on www.ares.umd.edu)

A. A University Fellow may be eligible for up to 12 credits of fellowship tuition remission per semester (Spring and Fall only). A University Fellowship (UF) must supplement a standard support package (assistantship, external fellowship, Dean’s Fellowship, and/or other internal fellowship). Tuition remission credits deriving from that support package will be applied first and augmented by fellowship tuition remission up to the maximum remission indicated below:

TYPE UF FUNDING PER YEAR   TOTAL ANNUAL CREDITS FALL SPRING
University Fellowship (paid in 1yr) $20,000 Maximum fellowship credits: 24 12 12
University Fellowship (paid over 2 yrs) $10,000 Maximum fellowship credits: 10 5 5
University Fellowship (paid over 4 yrs) $5,000 Maximum fellowship credits: 0 0 0

 

B. A Dean’s Fellow maybe eligible for up to 12 credits of fellowship tuition remission per semester (Spring and Fall only). A Dean’s Fellowship (DF) may be combined with a University Fellowship, additional Dean’s Fellowships, and/or other funding (assistantship, external fellowship, and/or other internal fellowship) to create the support package. Tuition remission credits deriving from other funding will be applied first. Tuition remission credits for Dean’s Fellowships will be provided up to the maximum remission indicated below:

TYPE DF FUNDING
PER YEAR
  TOTAL ANNUAL CREDITS FALL SPRING
Three Dean’s Fellowships ≥$15,000 Maximum fellowship credits: 24 12 12
Two Dean’s Fellowships ≥$10,000 Maximum fellowship credits: 10 5 5
One Dean’s Fellowship $5,000 Maximum fellowship credits: 0 0 0

 

II. GRADUATE FELLOWS HOLDING PRESTIGIOUS EXTERNAL FELLOWSHIPS

(use the Request for Tuition Remission for External Fellowships and Scholarships form found on the Graduate School Forms page on the Gradute School  website.

Graduate students holding prestigious external fellowships may be eligible for fellowship tuition remission. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or contractual agreement must be filed with the Graduate School. Unless otherwise specified in the MOU or contract, fellowship tuition remission credits up to 10 credits will be awarded as follows:

  • A prestigious external fellowship carrying an annual stipend of at least $15,000 may be awarded up to 10 credits of tuition remission per semester.
  • A prestigious external fellowship carrying an annual stipend of at least $7,500 may be awarded up to 5 credits of tuition remission per semester.
  • A prestigious external fellowship carrying an annual stipend of less than $7,500 is not eligible for tuition remission

III. GRADUATE FELLOWS ON FEDERAL TRAINING GRANTS

(use the Training Grant Fellowship Matching Tuition Remission Request found on the Graduate School Forms page on the Gradute School  website,

Federal Training Grants covering only partial tuition for fellows may be eligible for an institutional match of fellowship tuition remission. Upon written agreement with the Graduate School, tuition remission may be awarded to Training Grants on a 60% (grant) / 40% (GS) matching basis.

IV. GRADUATE FELLOWS HOLDING INTERNAL FELLOWSHIPS OTHER THAN UNIVERSITY OR DEAN’S FELLOWSHIPS

Fellowship tuition remission is not awarded to fellowships funded from department or college sources; state monies from any source, including DRIF, UM, and UMCP Foundations, unless formal agreements have been made with the Graduate School. Tuition for these fellowships should be charged to the account to which the stipend is being charged.

V. TUITION REMISSION FOR SUMMER SESSIONS AND WINTER TERM

Fellowship tuition remission is not awarded for Summer Sessions or Winterterm.

VI. TUITION REMISSION FOR PROGRAMS WITH NON-STANDARD TUITION

Fellows enrolled in graduate programs with non-standard tuition rates (whether by course or by flat-fee pricing) will be responsible for tuition costs above the standard rate covered by fellowship tuition remission.

VII. OTHER

The Graduate School’s Graduate Dean's Fellowships, the Wylie Dissertation Fellowships, the Lee Thornton Fellowship, the Spencer Award, and the Longest Award are eligible for candidacy fellowship tuition remission. Please see the official Fellowship Guidelines for each of these fellowships for complete information about tuition remission eligibility.  Fellowships and Award guidelines can be found on the Graduate School Funding web page.

Residency Classification

The official residency classification of students holding fellowships, assistantships, and scholarships does not change as result of their awards, but remain resident or non-resident as indicated in the original admissions offer. Fellows and scholars who also hold a half-time graduate assistantship will be billed in-state tuition as a benefit of their status only while they hold that assistantship. When/if the graduate student is no longer supported by the assistantship-including summer months if the student is on a 9.5-month assistantship-he or she will be billed according to their official residency status determined at the time of their admission.

Students are expected to be aware of their official residency classification status, how their assistantship, scholarship, or fellowship may affect their billing for each semester, and to address any problems immediately to avoid incurring unexpected tuition charges.

Questions about residency classification and changing status for those who intend to become residents of the State of Maryland for tuition and billing purposes under the University System of Maryland Board of Regents policy should be addressed to:

Residency Classification Office
Room 1130 Mitchell Building
Phone 301-314-9596
Web: http://www.registrar.umd.edu/resreclass.html
Email: resclass@umd.edu

Tax Status

Fellows and scholars must pay tax on the stipends they receive to cover living and general expenses, but may deduct certain educational expenses. Amounts awarded in payment of tuition are not taxable for fellows. Taxes are not withheld from stipends disbursed through student financial aid so you may choose to file an estimated tax payment. Please refer to the Internal Revenue Service Tax Publication 970, Benefits for Education, for more information regarding the tax status of fellowship and scholarship stipends or call 1-800-829-1040.

Health Insurance

Graduate fellows supported by University Fellowships, Dean’s Fellowships, or prestigious external fellowships are eligible to receive a reimbursement of one-half of the annual United Health Care (UHC) insurance premium for individual coverage.

The UHC plan must be purchased prior to submitting a request for reimbursement to the Graduate School. The Health Insurance Reimbursement Request Form can be found at http://gradschool.umd.edu/forms.

University or Dean’s Fellows must provide a Health Insurance Reimbursement Request Form, proof of payment, and copy of insurance card.  Holders of prestigious external fellowships must present, in addition, a copy of the fellowship MOU or contract.

Wylie Dissertation Fellows are entitled to a sum of $800.00 in addition to their stipend for the cost of the health insurance premium for one semester of coverage. The sum is automatic and need not be requested.

Graduate Dean's Dissertation Fellows are entitled to a sum of $1600.00 in addition to their stipend for the cost of the health insurance premium for one year of coverage. The sum is automatic and need not be requested.

The following graduate fellows are not eligible for this subsidy: fellows holding internal fellowships other than University or Dean’s Fellowships; fellows holding half or full-time assistantships entitling them to employee health insurance benefits; and fellows who are part-time students.

For information on the United Health Care plan, please visit the University Health Center website at http://www.health.umd.edu/insurance. United Health Care offers online enrollment at http://www.firststudent.com/.

Vacation and Sick Leave

There is no policy on vacation and sick leave for fellows or scholars. Fellows and scholars are required to maintain satisfactory academic performance in order to retain their support. A fellow or scholar may request deferment of a semester or year of fellowship tenure if documented personal illness prevents him or her from satisfactorily completing academic requirements.

Facilities

Fellows are fully integrated into departmental activities and are to be provided with the same facilities as other graduate students, such as mailboxes, office space, access to a telephone and computer, and email and internet access.