Friday, April 18, 2008

NSF GRF eligibility

I finally sat down to read the eligibility details again to see if I'll be able to apply next year. Here's the relevant section taken from the program solicition from last year (emphasis mine):
  • Applicants must have completed no more than twelve months of full-time graduate study or its equivalent by the August 31st prior to the program submission deadline.
  • All post-baccalaureate, graduate-level study in an NSF-supported field counts toward the allowed twelve months of completed graduate study. This includes all Masters's and Ph.D. programs in these disciplines.
  • Applicants who have completed part-time graduate study must have completed no more than twenty-four (24) semester hours or its equivalent by August 31st prior to the program submission deadline.
  • Research-oriented work experience in an academic or similar environment that is closely related to the current or proposed program of graduate study may be considered as equivalent to graduate coursework for eligibility purposes. A combination of relevant work experience and coursework may render an applicant ineligible.
So here's what it comes down to for me. In summer 2007, I participated in EcoMath Camp which gave me a handful of 400-level credits. I transfered these credits to UBC last year. As a result, by this August 31 I will have completed more than one year of "graduate study" rendering me ineligible. This sucks.

My friend who got this a few years ago was able to apply in her second year even though she started doing research the summer before, but she did significantly change her field after that summer research. I really haven't.

I wish I had realized sooner in the application process that I really need fellowship support to do my research because I can't be tied to teaching assistantships the entire time. I felt like I was so on top of my game, and I still got screwed. I really think that not getting the NSF GRF this year is going to add at least a year to my Ph.D. At least I can still apply for the EPA STAR and a Fulbright.

*sigh* I could keep whining about this but I have stuff to do.


Alexandra said...

Oh, this sucks! I'm sorry! Do the rules have any flexibility?

amused said...

I would still call the NSF office and just explain your situation and ask about eligibility. Given that most people do relevant research before they start grad school, and a lot of people take units in the summer before their second year, I can't imagine that their rules are really as hard and fast as they appear. In any case, its worth a shot!

amused said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
amused said...

I just had another thought when I reread the eligibility requirements. It said no more than 12 months of FULL-TIME graduate study. Was your summer camp considered to be full time?

Karina said...

I will have 25 semester hours because of the transfer credits from last summer, which puts me over that limit as well. I think you're right that I should call and ask anyways, but I'm not going to get my hopes up.

EcoGeoFemme said...

While I haven't seen any comparitive success data, my impression is that the STAR fellowships are easier to get.

Kent said...


I'm not from NSF, but I did serve on a GRFP panel last winter (I don't think it was the one that reviewed yours). If you call the GRFP office, you're not likely to get a straight up or down answer on eligibility. But I think it's probably worth your time to apply again for two reasons: (a) It's not obvious to me that you're ineligible because of your summer camp. (b) Exceptions are sometimes made when there are good reasons. You may need to pay a little extra attention to justifying your eligibility, but it's probably worth a shot.

E-mail me, if you'd like a little more advice.

Good luck!