GSFEI Top Scholar Awards
Award Definition and Policy Statement
The Graduate School’s primary goal for the Top Scholar Awards (TSA) is to help programs attract outstanding students to University of Washington by partnering with units to build competitive financial packages for their top student prospects. This program does not support continuing students already enrolled at the UW.
With the exception of travel funding, which is intended to bring prospective students to campus, offer letters must specify that the individual is being offered a Graduate School Top Scholar Award. If a TSA offer is initially rejected, it may be offered to another top applicant so long as he or she is one of the program’s top applicants AND the TSA offer will potentially influence that applicant’s decision to attend the UW. Requests to defer a Top Scholar Award to a subsequent academic year may be approved under exceptional circumstances.
Current Request for Proposals
Request deadline: Monday, Dec. 19, 2016, noon (PT) — no exceptions
The current TSA funding cycle is for the 2017–2019 biennium. The current Top Scholars request for proposals outlines the specific proposal requirements. TSA proposals are submitted through MyGrad Program, within the GSFEI module.
Our staff will host informal webinars to review the process and answer questions. We invite any interested GPAs, GPCs, chairs, and other pertinent department staff to attend. If you have any questions about the proposal or awards process and cannot attend a webinar meeting, please contact us.
Top Scholar Awards Information Session Webinars
Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, 10:00 a.m.
Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, 10:30 a.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, 1 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, 10 a.m.
Register for a webinar >
- Effective autumn 2013, Top Scholar RA awardees may not be appointed in a non-service category; job class 0832 is no longer to be used for Top Scholar appointments. All Top Scholar RAs should be appointed as academic student employees in the appropriate service job code (TA, RA, SA) under the UW/UAW Local 4121 Contract.
- Top Scholar fellowship appointments must not have service assigned to the recipients.
- Top Scholar RAs, Fellowships, and Tuition Waivers are available only for students in state-supported, tuition-based programs.
TSA RA appointments include salary, insurance benefits under the Graduate Appointee Insurance Plan, and tuition waivers. Effective summer quarter 2013, departments no longer have the option of offering non-service RA appointments (see information under “Accessing Awards”). All Top Scholar RA awards must be regular service appointments. These awards are not available for students in fee-based programs.
Quarterly Fellowships (Non-Service Job Code 0863)
TSA quarterly fellowships provide a stipend, insurance benefits, and paid tuition. No service may be required as a condition of this award. These awards are not available for students in fee-based programs.
Tuition waivers must be matched with departmental fellowship appointments during the quarter(s) in which they are used. Stand-alone waivers are not considered strong recruitment incentives and are therefore not allowed in the Top Scholar program. These awards are not available for students in fee-based programs.
Block grants are available to fund two different types of TSA awards: “top-off” fellowships and travel awards. Departments are free to allocate block grant funds between these two types of awards in whatever ways will best aid in their recruitment of new students. These funds may be used for fee-based programs.
Block grant funds used as travel awards are intended to support campus visits by applicants to meet with faculty and students, tour facilities, and participate in department recruitment activities. Units may choose how they allocate travel awards among applicants. At this time, travel awards may only be used for transportation expenses (airfare, mileage, shuttle, etc.), not for other travel expenses (e.g., hotels, food, etc.).
Block grant funds used as “top-off” fellowships are intended supplement another funding offer (TA/RA/SA, trainee, or fellowship) of at least one year to further enhance a recruitment funding package. Top-off fellowships must be given for a minimum of $1,000 to a maximum of $5,000. No service may be required as a condition of this award.
Research Assistant Quarters
Units should appoint TSA RAs through OPUS on Graduate School budget number 10-1600 in the relevant job code that would normally be used for an RA in the department.
Effective autumn quarter 2013, Job class code 0832 (Top Scholar Research Appointee) is NO LONGER a valid job class code for Top Scholar awards. Departments that want to provide non-service appointments should request quarterly fellowships.
Units should appoint through OPUS on their respective GSF (75-17XX) budgets using job code 0863 (Stipend Grad Fellow – A). GSF* budgets are established for most departments. If a GSF budget has not been established for your unit or if you don’t know what it is, please contact Fellowships and Awards. Please see the financial note related to payments from these budgets below.
Tuition waivers are paid from a central university budget. Graduate School staff will enter the waivers into the central database during the first two weeks of each academic quarter, after the names of recipients are entered into MyGradProgram by unit personnel and accompanying appointments are confirmed. Please contact Fellowships and Awards if a TSA tuition waiver has not been applied to a student’s account after the first two weeks of the quarter.
Units using block grants to award top-off fellowships should appoint on their respective GSF (75-17XX) budgets using job code 0861 (Stipend Grad Fellow – B). Please use PCA code “TSA.” GSF-RSA budgets are established for most departments. If a GSF* budget has not been established for your unit or if you don’t know what it is, please contact Fellowships and Awards. Please see the financial note related to payments from these budgets below.
Units using block grant TSA awards to support applicant travel should pay from GSF (75-17XX) budgets. Please use PCA code “TSA” when reimbursing or paying for Top Scholar travel. These budgets are established for most departments. If a GSF* budget has not been established for your unit, please contact Fellowships and Awards. Please see the financial note related to payments from these budgets below.
If you have any questions about the Top Scholar Awards request or allocation process, please do not hesitate to contact Fellowships and Awards: firstname.lastname@example.org or 206.543.7152.
*GSF budgets are sub-accounts of a Graduate School parent budget. Funds are not transferred into these sub-accounts from the parents. Units are authorized to spend based on total awards in the categories supported from these budgets (block grants supporting top-off fellowships and travel). Award summaries will be provided at least twice per year for balancing purposes. As the GSF budgets roll up to the parent at the end of the biennium, final accounting responsibility will rest with the Graduate School not the units.