Frequently Asked Questions:
Fellowships and the online application system

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These FAQs were developed for the online application system for fellowship awards that debuted spring 2011.

Do students have to be officially "admitted" to the program before they can be nominated for a fellowship?

No - there simply has to be the "intent to admit" for the nomination to go forward. That is to say, you should only nominate students that rank highly enough that you plan to admit whether or not they receive the fellowship award, but the student does not need to be in the system as "admitted" nor do they need to be informed they are admitted at the time of the nomination.

Can recruitment (pre-emptive) fellowship awards be spread over two years?

Yes - this is not commonly done, but we have changed the nomination form to enable programs to do this. Just keep in mind that you need to stay within your funding allocation.

Can we nominate a student for a recruitment fellowship and for the Harrington in parallel? What happens to the recruitment award if the nominee is selected for a Harrington?

Yes - we will make an exception in this situation. Your Harrington nominee can also be recommended for a recruitment (pre-emptive) award. Once the recruitment award is approved, you may tell your candidate that they have been awarded a Graduate School recruitment fellowship. If they are selected for a Harrington, they will be offered the Harrington as a replacement for the recruitment fellowship. In this case we will let you make another nomination for the released recruitment award. We do not normally allow this since we over-allocate funds on the expectation that only about 62% of the awards will be accepted.

If a department already has solicited their continuing fellowships materials and made their selection of nominees, how should they submit their nominations?

The Graduate School recommends that you use the online application to "nominate" those students and give them the option to update any information since they turned in their earlier materials. Reference letter writers would also have to redo some work by uploading the letter they have already submitted, but also would give them the option to update their letter if they wanted to.

Do the letter of recommendation requests have to go out to the faculty before the student is chosen to be nominated for a continuing fellowship?

Yes. We think the committee who decides whom to nominate would want to see the letters of recommendation to make an informed decision. Programs that do not wish to see letters can always ask for copies of the CV and personal statement from the students outside of using the online application as they have done in the past to make their selections. They would then initiate the nomination process for those selected and the students selected would be contacted to complete the online portion of their nomination. We can eventually change it so that the nominator requests the recommendations, but this is how it works this year.

Some departments don't want the graduate adviser (GA) to be the only one who can submit a nomination. Graduate coordinators (GC) were also concerned about who would submit nominations if the GA is sick, or on a plane or somewhere without internet access. Can this problem be addressed?

Yes. The Graduate School prefers that the GA submit the nominations, but we have made changes that will enable the "worksheet signers" (those people who are authorized to stamp the worksheet with admit/deny decisions) to submit nominations as well. All GAs and GCs are normally also "worksheet signers," as are the admissions coordinators. This means that in addition to the GAs, GCs and admissions coordinators, anyone authorized as a worksheet signer will now be able to submit a nomination.

Can the nominations be routed to the Chair of the Department for purposes of assigning the "Rankings?"

No - we do not have such routing features built in the fellowship nominations. However, we have now enabled any authorized worksheet signer to be able to submit the nominations. Hopefully, this flexibility will enable a work-around for this type of situation for those few programs with this need.

Many programs have a faculty selection committee and would like them to be authorized to review the nominations. Can you accommodate this?

We would suggest that you consider having your nominations selection committee meet with the GA in a conference room with a projector and review the nominations together to make your selections. Note that we have added a link to a "compressed view" of all the nomination materials on the certification page. We will also look into the possibility of allowing people with a "Department Viewer" authorization to review the nominations, but that may not be possible this spring.

Can students in performance and other areas submit supporting materials that go beyond what they would be able to list on their CV or put in their personal statement, such as an AV file, art work, etc.?

Yes, if they have those materials available on a web page. We have added a question in the student section of the Continuing Fellowship Nomination form where the student can input a url address to link to additional supporting materials of this nature. Please recommend to students that they test the link they input before submitting their forms as we do not have the capability to audit whether the link is viable.

Should the table for department/program support on the "Funding" page reflect just the estimated stipend or should it include the stipend plus the value of tuition and health benefits provide to the nominee?

Please estimate and report just the stipend amount. This is now noted on the form.

How many diversity nominations can be submit?

Each program can submit up to three nominations for a "full" general diversity fellowship for $16,000. Not counted in this limit are the McNair, South Texas, or West Texas nominations. We have also introduced a diversity fellowship supplemental award of $6000 that can supplement a TA or GRA offer. You can substitute one full nomination for three of the supplemental nominations. However, note that for each nomination you will need to show both the diversity need met by the nominee and their fellowship worthiness.

Can nominators submit their continuing nomination forms before the student has submitted his/her information?

No - the file needs to be complete to submit it to the Graduate School.

If a nomination has to be returned for a correction or some reason, who can resubmit it?

Anyone (GA, GC, worksheet signer) who is authorized to create a nomination is authorized to resubmit it.

What should I do if I get an error when using the online award system?

We hope this will not happen, but with any new system there will be a few bugs to fix. If this happens, please copy the error message on the screen, the UT EID of the student, the award you were working with when the error occurred, and email that information along with a note of what you were doing when the error occurred to: gs_fellowships@utlists.utexas.edu.

Is there anything else I need to do once I've submitted my Continuing Fellowship nomination materials?

This depends on whether all of your student's letters of reference are on file and complete at the time you submit the nomination. Until all letters have been received and the application is "complete," the Graduate School will not have access to the forms to process them. You and the student are responsible for ensuring that letters are received before the award deadline. You can check on the status of letters of reference by opening the submitted nomination view. Nominators will be able to view the letters that have been received. The student will be able to view a summary of their submitted application materials with an indicators as to the status of their letters. Only letters viewable by the nominator (or marked "received" in the student's summary) are on file and complete.

If any of your student's recommenders cannot locate the email linking them to the letter of reference upload site, the request email and link can be resent. Please request a resend by contacting the fellowships team at gs_fellowships@utlists.utexas.edu. Include the name of the award competition, the name and EID of the student, and the name of the recommender.

Can we nominate students for summer only awards for GS Recruitment (Pre-emptive) Fellowships?

Yes - we would suggest a stipend for the summer that rounds to a number that is close to the same monthly rate as the student is being compensated during the academic year. For example, if they are being paid $18,000 as a TA or GRA for the academic year, a stipend of $6,000 for the summer would seem reasonable. A program could make five such awards with a $30,000 allocation.

Can we allocate the diversity award of $16,000 over one academic semester and the summer?

Yes - we are experimenting with greater flexibility in how you can best support your top students. We would suggest using a stipend for the summer that rounds to a nice number that is close to the same monthly rate as the student is being compensated during the academic year. For example, if they are being paid $8,000 as a Fellow for the spring semester, a stipend of $6,000 for the summer would seem reasonable. This would create a third category somewhere between a full fellowship and a supplement. It leaves $2,000 on the table, but we can use those funds to support other students.

Have suggestions for improving the online awards system?

We would like to hear what you like and what you would like to see changed in the online awards system so we can make the system more useful for you. Please submit comments and suggestions to:

gs_fellowships@utlists.utexas.edu

 

 

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