UW Graduate School

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: Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, noon (PT) — no exceptions

The current TSA funding cycle is for the 2019–2021 biennium. The current Top Scholars request for proposals outlines the specific proposal requirements. TSA proposals are submitted in MyGrad Program, through the Awards portal.

Our staff will host webinars to review the process and answer questions. Attendance at a webinar is required by each department intending to submit a proposal. Departments can determine who attends, but they must be represented by at least one person at one webinar. If you are unable to attend a webinar, please contact us so that we may talk with you directly.

Top Scholar Awards Information Session Webinars
Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, 10 a.m., register here
Monday, Nov. 26, 2018, 4 p.m., register here
Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018, 10 a.m., register here
Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, 11 a.m., register here
Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, 2 p.m., register here

Award Categories

PLEASE NOTE:

  • 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.

Research Appointments

TSA RA appointments include salary, insurance benefits under the Graduate Appointee Insurance Plan, and tuition waivers typical of an RA appointment (NRD as necessary, operating fee, building fee, tech fee). All Top Scholar RA awards must be regular service appointments. These awards are not available for students in fee-based programs.

Quarterly Fellowships (Graduate Fellow Stipend w/Benefits)

TSA quarterly fellowships provide a stipend, insurance benefits, and full coverage of all tuition and the following fees: building fee; services and activities fee; tech fee; facilities renovation fee; IMA bond fee. It does not cover the UPASS fee. Absolutely no service may be required as a condition of this award. These awards are not available for students in fee-based programs.

Tuition Waivers

Tuition waivers must be matched with departmental fellowship appointments during the quarter(s) in which they are used. These waivers provide full coverage of all tuition and the following fees: building fee; services and activities fee; tech fee; facilities renovation fee; IMA bond fee. It does not cover the UPASS fee. 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

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 at standard TA/RA rates) of at least one academic 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.

Accessing Awards

Research Assistant Quarters

Units should appoint TSA RAs using the Graduate School budget number 10-1600 as the cost center. The Research Assistant (E S UAW ASE) job profile should be used in Workday with the compensation grade profile and step applicable to the awarding department.

Quarterly Fellowships

Units should appoint in Workday using the Graduate Fellow Stipend w/Benefits job profile and the units respective GSF (75-17XX) budget as the cost center.  These 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

Tuition waivers are paid from a central university budget. Graduate School staff will enter the waivers into the SDB during the first two weeks of each academic quarter, using the names of recipients entered into the Awards portal of MyGradProgram and after 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.

Top-Off Fellowships

Units using block grants to award top-off fellowships should use  their respective GSF (75-17XX) budget and make the payment via SDB as a one-time scholarship. These 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.

Travel

Units using block grant TSA awards to support applicant travel should pay from GSF (75-17XX) budgets. Please use PCA code “TSA” in ARIBA 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.

Questions?

If you have any questions about the Top Scholar Awards request or allocation process, please do not hesitate to contact Fellowships and Awards: gradappt@uw.edu 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. Each department has a staff member authorized to provide access to these budgets (when necessary) via ASTRA. Departments are authorized to spend based on total awards in the categories supported from these budgets (block grants supporting top-off fellowships and travel). 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.