University Fellowships Mark


What is the difference between a scholarship, a fellowship, and a grant?

Scholarship and fellowship are interchangeable terms. These awards are given by an organization or institution to fund the education and/or training of a selected student, and they do not have to be paid back. Different awards can be used for tuition, books, room and board, research, travel, or other education related expenses. Each award specifies the purpose for which the funds can be used. Some fellowships also require you to work for the federal government after completion of the fellowship.

A grant funds a student’s education and does not have to be paid back.

Please keep in mind that there are always exceptions to these definitions. Should you have any questions, please contact the office at or call (814) 863-8199.


Can students apply for fellowships after they have finished their undergraduate career?

Many fellowships listed in the Fellowships Search do allow applicants to hold undergraduate degrees (e.g., Fulbright), although there may be specific age or year-of-graduation limits. Always visit the fellowships’ websites to determine if applicants may apply after they have finished their undergraduate career.


Do students need U.S. citizenship to apply for fellowships?

Many of the fellowships in the Fellowships Search do require U.S. citizenship in order to be eligible, but our database also contains several research, study, and teaching opportunities that are open to international students.


Are there academic criteria for fellowships?

Some fellowships have specific GPA requirements. Most fellowships prefer students who held good academic standing during their undergraduate career, but be aware that individual opportunities have different perspectives on what qualifies as “good standing.”


Should students apply for more than one fellowship?

Absolutely, if they match the student’s goals and interests. Some fellowships may be compatible with others and, should an individual win multiple awards that cannot be held simultaneously, the individual will always have the option to decline. However, be sure to consider the time it takes to complete a given application, whether or not the individual is a competitive candidate, and how much work the individual can put into the application process. You want to direct your mentoring toward producing the strongest possible applicants rather than promoting students to apply for as many fellowships as possible.


Where can I look for fellowships?

You are in the right place! If you are not sure what fellowship is a good match for your student’s academic goals, we encourage you to sit down together and search our database. The University Fellowships Office also offers workshops and information sessions for specific programs every month.


What does “university nomination” mean?

Some fellowships require that a student receive university nomination before he or she can apply to compete. These fellowships either limit the number of students a school can nominate or they require the school to carefully select the students best suited to the given award. Please note that if a fellowship requires university nomination, students must meet the internal deadlines established by the office in order to be considered for the fellowship. Internal deadlines are generally set well in advance of the national deadlines.


How can I be notified for upcoming fellowship deadlines?

The University Fellowships Office has a calendar of all deadlines published on the website, and we send timely announcements and reminders of these deadlines to students who express interest in learning about individual programs. Some fellowships also have their own e-newsletters and Facebook or Twitter accounts to which you can subscribe to get the information directly.


Boucke Building
University Fellowships Office
321 Boucke Building
University Park, PA 16802