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srigot55

Deciding between 2 fellowships: money vs prestige

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I am in a dual-doctoral program that is set up such that you complete your doctor of physical therapy degree by the 3rd year and then complete your PhD afterwards with some overlap in the 2nd and 3rd years of the DPT program. I am finishing my 4th year and have completed my DPT, so my University now considers me a post-doc. Last summer I had applied for a Clinical and Translational Science Post-doc Fellowship (TL1) and an NIH F30 (predoctoral fellowship specific to dual-doctoral students). I was awarded and accepted the TL1 before I heard back about the F30, but now have also been offered the F30. Since the TL1 is a post-doc fellowship the stipend is approximately $24,000 higher than the pre-doc F30, it provides $8,000 in research funding (the F30 provides none), and it covers my full tuition (the F30 provides 60%). However, the TL1 is only for 2 years (I probably will need an additional 6m-1y after before I graduate, the F30 is for 3.5y which is well more than enough for me to graduate) and the F30 is far more prestigious since it is an individual national fellowship and would be much more beneficial if I apply for future NIH funding (like a K or R01) later on. I am leaning towards pursuing a career in industry, but have not ruled out a career in academia. I looked into my options with both the NIH and through my Univeristy to try to supplement the predoc F30 stipend to match my current post-doc stipend and that isn't a possibility. The NIH program officer called me today to tell me what a bad idea turning down the F30 would be if I ever want to apply to the NIH again, but a $32,000 difference is a big deal to me when I have 6 figure student loan debt, so I don't know that the prestige is worth the financial difference. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

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