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What is a fellowship? What is the difference between fellowships and scholarships?

Fellowship and Scholarship are often interchangeable terms for financial awards given by institutions to fund students.

The Office of Fellowships generally uses the word “fellowship,” following the National Association of Fellowship Advisors.  We focus on nationally competitive awards that help students achieve their goals.

While “scholarships” often refer to need-based aid to help cover basic educational costs, “fellowships” often imply a variety of opportunities in addition to funding, such as specialized training or leadership programs, mentorship, study abroad, or research.

These scholarships are so competitive, why should I bother?

KU Students have a tradition of great success in national awards competitions. Many factors influence your chances with a particular scholarship. The Office of Fellowships can help you determine your suitability as a candidate.

Most importantly, even for those who don’t win awards, the process of putting together the application, working with faculty members and advisors, and figuring out goals is itself very rewarding.

When should I start the application process?

The earlier the better! Fill out the Scholarship Interest Form to get started. If you already have a specific award in mind, Dr. Wallen can work with you to start establishing timelines.

However, some awards allow students to apply even after they’ve graduated. Contact us to find out if you are eligible.

How do I get money to pay for college?

Most of the national fellowships and scholarships we focus on in this office are not financial aid and are not primarily need-based. These awards mostly focus on helping you get additional opportunities during college and funding for graduate study.

KU Financial and and Scholarships has a lot of information on great ways to help pay for your undergraduate education.

Why do some awards have both campus deadlines and national deadlines?

Many national awards require endorsement from or nomination by KU. Campus deadlines are usually several months in advance of the national deadline, so that KU will have plenty of time to review the candidates and decide on whom to nominate or endorse. In most cases, it is not possible to apply at the national level if you have missed the campus deadline.

Do I have to be a U.S. Citizen to apply for a fellowship?

Many of the awards coordinated by this office do require U.S. Citizenship, but not all of them. Some awards are open to some non-citizens (PPIA), some awards are open to citizens of any country (Schwarzman), and some are open to permanent residents and New Americans (Soros). More opportunities emerge all the time, and we are happy to discuss your options with you.

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