Frequently Asked Questions

No. Though every fellowship provides financial support for the specified grant activity, these awards are different from the merit or financial aid scholarships that might be more familiar to you. If your immediate goal is to identify scholarships to help with tuition, contact UC’s Student Financial Aid Office.

Though NCA is not Financial Aid, it might be worth considering how a fellowship might expand your horizons, especially if you have felt constrained by financial need in the past. Explore the awards featured on this website, come to a Fellowships 101 session, or attend one of our many events throughout the year to learn more about how one of these awards might open doors for you.

Many fellowships encourage recent alumni to apply. How recent is recent? It depends on the award, but foundations often define this in terms of time from graduation. If you have identified an award that interests you, NCA will be happy to support you as your work on your application. You should first carefully review the fellowship’s rules to determine your eligibility and then contact to set up an advising appointment.

There are several fellowships that welcome applications from international students. In general, awards funded by U.S. taxpayer money will only be available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. However, there are several awards that welcome applications from international students.

It is true that the national and, in some cases, international competition for these fellowships is keen, but UC students can—and do—win these awards ! If you have found an award that aligns with your goals, and you meet the eligibility criteria, then it is worth applying for two main reasons.

First, it is true that, if you look at selection rates, the probability of any one candidate winning is relatively low. But it is also true that people win these awards every year! Your only chance at winning comes if you are willing to work hard at the application and throw your hat in the ring.

But winning is not the only benefit of applying, which brings us to the second reason: the application process provides its own rewards. If you commit yourself to the process, you will emerge with a refined understanding of your academic and personal history, a more nuanced account of your future academic and professional goals, a more robust language for discussing both, and a polished set of essays ready to be adapted into graduate school application materials. Applying for a national fellowship demands that you engage in sustained introspection and asks you to synthesize elements of your history, identity, and ambitions into a powerful story about who you are and who you want to be. In our view, the development that comes from engaging in this kind of work is the best reason to apply.