Home | Resources | Fellowships

What is a fellowship?

Fellowships are grants that support the educational experience of the recipient. Fellowships may be research related or non-research activities. These funds are not considered compensation for performance. The purposes of a fellowship are to enhance the academic experience and career growth.

Are there different types of fellowships?

Some sponsors use the term fellowship to support individuals who are actually participating in a defined research project in which deliverables are expected. The funds are considered compensation for performance. This type of fellowship represents an employment relationship. It is important to carefully read the sponsor’s guidelines to determine which type of fellowship the sponsor is offering and the implications for proposal processing, budgeting, deliverables, award acceptance, and award management.

Who normally funds fellowships?

Many sponsors fund fellowships; however, the most common are foundations, NSF and NIH.

Is fellowship funding processed the same for all sponsors?

No. Some sponsors require institutional involvement and administration, while other sponsors work directly with the individual applicant. Some fellowship budgets incur facilities and administrative costs, while others do not.

When are fellowships administered by ORSPA?

Fellowships are administered by ORSPA when the award will be administered by the institution. If ORSPA is required by the sponsor to administer the fellowship, the recipient must go through the normal proposal process described in Develop Proposal work instructions.

Some sponsors require the proposal to be submitted through the university and list a faculty member as the PI, while others allow the fellow (graduate student or post-doc) to be listed as the PI. In the latter case, internal routing forms must list the faculty “sponsor (mentor)” as the PI for internal purposes. In this instance, also list the fellowship recipient on the routing forms with zero RID/REC.

Fellowships that do not require institutional award administration are applied to and managed by the individual recipient.   

Are fellowship funds a stipend (scholarship stipend) or salary (compensation stipend)?

Reference the tax information at ASU Financial Services. In addition to this content, the following definitions are used:

  • Stipend (also known as a scholarship stipend): Individual has not been hired by ASU and is not paid via the payroll system. Stipend payments are paid through Accounts Payable, using expense category code 7700.
  • Salary (also known as compensatory stipend): Individual has been hired by ASU and is paid via the payroll system.

NOTE:  NIH NRSA awards are required to be set up as stipends per NIH policy.

Are fellows eligible to receive benefits?

Individuals paid on stipends are not eligible to participate in the employee benefits package provided by the University. These individuals may be eligible to purchase health insurance provided by Student Health Services, or secure coverage by an outside vendor.

Individuals who are paid a salary (compensatory stipend) via the payroll system will be eligible to participate in the benefits package provided by the University.

Is F&A applicable to fellowship funding?

No, as typically fellowship funds received are categorized as “Student Aid” and are considered an investment in a fellow’s future.

However, there are circumstances where the fellowship funding is to support research activities or other sponsored activities.  In these situations, the funds are part of a sponsored project and subject to appropriate F&A.

What is an institutional allowance and how is it used?

Institutional allowances (also known as an administrative allowance) help to defray the cost of the fellow’s research expenses at ASU.  Some common examples of eligible expenses are tuition, health benefits (either through ASU Student Health Services or an outside vendor), project specific supplies, travel, etc.

Some sponsors designate that the institutional or administrative allowances be used in to help defray the Institution’s cost of supporting the fellow’s research experience.  In these instances, ASU will collect this allowance in lieu of F&A.

How are these awarded to ASU?

For fellowships that will be managed by ASU, ORSPA will normally receive notification from the sponsor that an applicant has been selected for funding. This award notification customarily includes terms and conditions that will govern how the funds may be spent. Once awarded, the unit will need to follow WI-EP-130, setting up recurring payments to set up a payment schedule for the stipend.

What about ASU tuition costs?

Tuition is normally an allowable expense on a fellowship project.  If sponsor funds are unavailable to pay, or unallowable under the funding agency for tuition costs then the cost must be borne by a departmental or other unrestricted account. Under no circumstances may these costs be directly charged to other sponsored projects.

Only Graduate students who have been hired to work on a sponsored project and will thus be paid via the payroll system are eligible to receive tuition remission.

Graduate students who will be paid via stipends (scholarship stipends) will be charged the published tuition rates.  These rates are dependent upon residency status, campus and program selected.

What is the difference between tuition and tuition remission?

Tuition remission is only available to graduate students who have been hired to work on a sponsored project and will thus be paid via the payroll system. Tuition remission can be considered part of the compensation package paid to a graduate student working on a sponsored project. NIH is an example of a sponsor who considers tuition remission to be part of the compensation package.

Tuition is the amount of money charged to students for instructional services. Tuition may be charged on a per-term, per course, or per-credit basis. Fellows who will enroll in ASU classes as part of their educational experience will pay the current tuition rates as determined by ASU.

How is tuition budgeted in a proposal?

Current rates should be used based upon the type of fellowship (salary vs. stipend).  The table below provides links to the most current published rates.

Residency Status = In State
Salary (compensatory stipend) = Tuition Remission
Fellowship (scholarship stipend) = Tuition Remission

Residency Status = Out of State
Salary (compensatory stipend) = Tuition Remission
Fellowship (scholarship stipend) = Tuition Remission

What if the sponsor does not offer enough funds to fully cover the stipend and the tuition?

If sponsor funds are unavailable to cover the full cost of the fellow, the additional costs must be borne by a departmental or other unrestricted account. Under no circumstances may these costs be directly charged to other sponsored projects. For NIH awards, please see additional guidelines in the Stipend Supplementation section of the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Terminology and definitions

To provide guidance, clarification and/or definitions for the terms “stipend,” “salary,” “tuition,” and “tuition remission,” see Acronyms and Glossary.

Recommendation: Communicate clearly and often with your investigators as you work with them to develop and/or review their proposals. Knowing and using the correct terminology will ensure that proposals are prepared accurately and awards administered appropriately.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

Students who wish to apply for NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program funding should follow the solicitation to prepare and submit their applications to NSF via the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program Application module. The Graduate College provides a tuition waiver to GRFP fellows during their fellowship award period.  In addition, an award is posted to the GRFP fellow’s student account to cover fees and health insurance costs. 

The Graduate Research Fellowship Program and associated supplementary programs – Graduate Research Internship Program, Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide – are submitted directly by student applicants and do not require ORSPA’s review. These individual applications should not be entered in the Enterprise Research Administration system at proposal time.

The Graduate College should be designated as the lead financial unit if/when GRFP fellowship funds are issued to ASU. At that time, the Coordinating Official’s research advancement (RA) staff will put the fellowship(s) through the ERA system following the After-the-Fact process. All funds are distributed by ASU directly to the fellows, however NSF requires institutional reporting.

AOR (Authorized Organizational Representative) certification forms for GRFP supplements – GRIP and GROW

Graduate Research Fellowship Program Fellows are eligible to apply for supplemental funding via the GRIP and GROW solicitations. Key information/instructions:

  1. No ERA Proposal. As with the original GRFP applications, these individual submissions should not be entered in ERA. 
  2. AOR Certification Form – Each fellow will need to have an AOR Certification Form signed by a Grant & Contract Officer from the Proposal & Negotiations Team. Any PNT GCO who is authorized to sign proposals is also authorized to sign the AOR Certification Form. To obtain institutional signature on the required AOR Certification Form, the fellow (or their RA) should enter the fellow’s direct email address in the email field at the end of the form and send it to [email protected]. No other information or documents are required by PNT.
  3. AssistanceKatrina Roalson in the Graduate College is the GRFP Coordinating Official for ASU. The CO is the first point of contact for all Fellowship questions. Whenever possible, unit RAs support are encouraged to provide guidance to students and assist them with the process. 
  4. CO Approval – The CO must approve each GRIP or GROW application in Research.gov. To facilitate approval, the Graduate College has implemented internal deadlines for providing the CO with a PDF file of the entire application via email.