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Wait to hear about extra fellowship before accepting?


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I've been nominated for an extra fellowship, but I know I will attend the school whether I am awarded it or not. Is there any benefit (I.e. higher likelihood of actually getting the fellowship) to me to wait to submit my official acceptance until after the extra fellowship awardees have been named?

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If you are certain you will go (and that you don't want to go anywhere else) then there's no reason to wait further. Chances are, when a department "nominates" you for an extra fellowship, it generally means that they have already done everything they can to help you get the money. I'm assuming this is a fellowship awarded by the University or even an external agency. So, it's better for the department if you get it -- since part of your stipend will be coming from the University then, instead of their own budget! 

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Chances are, when a department "nominates" you for an extra fellowship, it generally means that they have already done everything they can to help you get the money. I'm assuming this is a fellowship awarded by the University or even an external agency. So, it's better for the department if you get it -- since part of your stipend will be coming from the University then, instead of their own budget! 

 

I was under the impression that it may work in the opposite order. I've been nominated for a university wide fellowship and was told that part of the reason they nominated me is that it offers more money than the department can offer, along with relief from TA duties. If I don't win it they are still offering full funding. I don't think they dole out departmental fellowships until after they about the results of external ones, that way they can fund as many people as possible with outside money before they use their own.

 

I would say that it would therefore make the most sense to wait for the results before committing. There's no rush. If you don't get external funding and the department see that you have already committed, they may not feel the need to offer you their most competitive internal package because, hey, they've got you already.

 

I know its tempting to start finalizing everything and get out of the hell of waiting to know where you are going to be, but you have until April 15th, so just try to see how things go before you make any final decisions.

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Departments sometimes will have internal funding that they can give you in addition to the base package. There are also university fellowship that are in addition to the departments funding (or in replacement of it, usually with a higher $ amount). There are also other types of funding... summer funding, money to move, etc.

 

I'd hesitate to quickly accept an offer (especially if you have more than one offer) if you're trying to get additional funding.

Edited by bluecheese
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Just to clarify, everyone admitted is guaranteed a standard stipend (along with tuition remission and health insurance), so there's no risk of having no funding at all. The school-wide fellowship would simply top-up the department award by several thousand.

 

Thanks for all the feedback so far, everyone!

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Also, it seems that there is a standard amount for the stipend and for research/summer funds for each PhD student, so the only way to get more money is to win one of the school-wide fellowships.

 

Does this change anyone's advice?

Edited by AurantiacaStella
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I was under the impression that it may work in the opposite order. I've been nominated for a university wide fellowship and was told that part of the reason they nominated me is that it offers more money than the department can offer, along with relief from TA duties. If I don't win it they are still offering full funding. I don't think they dole out departmental fellowships until after they about the results of external ones, that way they can fund as many people as possible with outside money before they use their own.

 

Sorry if I wasn't clear originally, what you said is what I meant -- the department wants you to win the fellowship because it means they don't have to use (as much) of their own money. They can then use this money on other things. TAs are usually paid out of the department's budget, so "relief from TA duties" = savings for them (realistically, it means money they can use on another grad student). When I said "the department has done everything they could to get you money", I didn't mean that they exhausted their budget. I just meant that the decision for the fellowship is out of the department's hands now (and they've "fought" for you as best they could). So, accepting the admission offer now won't "hurt" you in terms of funding because the department isn't going to choose to reject you for this fellowship since you already said yes.

 

I would say that it would therefore make the most sense to wait for the results before committing. There's no rush. If you don't get external funding and the department see that you have already committed, they may not feel the need to offer you their most competitive internal package because, hey, they've got you already.

 

This is a good point! I think it would be very bad for a department to do this though -- students can easily compare stipend packages and they won't be happy if people are paid unequally without actually earning fellowships etc. Not to say that this doesn't happen, and a department can easily "justify" the difference by making up a small fellowship but at every school I've been a part of, there are standardised and published funding levels. My offer letters generally gave a list of "you will get X funding if you receive Y awards" and there was a paragraph that described all of the standardised levels of funding (as well as TA commitment etc.).

 

To the OP: I think knowing that there are indeed standardised levels of funding would lower any "risk" of hurting yourself with an early acceptance.

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