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Guidance & Frequent Questions

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  1. Do I qualify for this Fellowship?
  2. Which schools are eligible for the Undergraduate (GRO) Fellowship?
  3. My school is a two-year institution. Do I qualify?
  4. What type of assistance do Fellows receive?
  5. How many years does this award cover?
  6. Is the summer internship a requirement for this award?
  7. What should be included in my statement of objectives?
  8. Who should provide my letters of recommendation?
  9. What is the difference between a "pre-application" and an "application"?
  10. Where can I obtain the "pre-application" materials?
  11. Are there any official forms that I must complete?
  12. If I have another fellowship, must I give it up to be eligible for the EPA Fellowship?
  13. How will my application be reviewed?
  14. What is the best advice you can give me in completing this application?
  15. How do I know that you got my application?
  1. Do I qualify for this Fellowship?

    To be eligible for this fellowship, undergraduates must meet all of the following criteria:

    1. Be a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence. Resident aliens must include a green card number in the pre-application,
    2. Have at least a "B" average (3.0),
    3. Have two years of study remaining before receiving a Bachelor's degree,
    4. Attend a four-year accredited institution full time, or a two-year accredited institution with plans to attend a four-year institution for their junior year. Furthermore, the four-year institution must be a U.S. academic institution which receives less than $35 million in Federal Research and Development expenditures. For purposes of this RFA, EPA will use the data found in column two of the National Science Foundation's report “Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions: Fiscal Year 2002 (PDF)” Table B-15. (29 pp, 81 K) and
    5. Must major in an environmentally related field of specialization.

  2. Which schools are eligible for the Undergraduate (GRO) Fellowship?

    Applicants must be attending a U.S. institution that receives less than $35 million in Federal Research and Development expenditures. For purposes of this solicitation, EPA will use the data found in column two of the National Science Foundations report “Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions: Fiscal Year 2002 (PDF) ” Table B-15. (29 pp, 81 K)

    The EPA recognizes the need for scientists from diverse backgrounds. Students at schools with substantial minority enrollment are particularly encouraged to apply. Examples of such schools are those that the U.S. Department of Education lists as "Accredited Post-secondary Minority Institutions" consistent with Executive Orders 13125 (Increasing Participation of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders), 13230 (Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans), 13256 (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), and 13270 (Tribal Colleges and Universities), which encourage building the capacity of minority serving institutions to provide high quality education, and other measures to improve minority education. Note however, that not all of these schools receive less then $35 million annually in Federal Research and Development expenditures. See “The Extent of Federal S&E Funding to Minority-Serving Institutions,” at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf04325/ exit EPA.

  3. My school is a two-year institution. Do I qualify?

    Students who are currently enrolled in a two-year institution that meets the eligibility criteria, and who will be entering a four-year institution for their junior year, are eligible for the fellowship.

  4. What type of assistance do Fellows receive?

    A breakout of the funding that covers stipend, tuition, and expenses is as follows:

    1. Stipends: During the nine-month academic year, a $500 stipend will be paid to the Fellow each month, for a total annual stipend of $4,500. Stipends are paid directly to the Fellow. Each fellowship institution may choose to supplement a Fellow's stipend from institutional funds in accordance with the supplementation policy of the institution.
    2. Tuition and Academic Fees: Up to $10,000 per year will be paid directly to the institution for allowable tuition and fees. For the purposes of this fellowship, health insurance is not considered to be an academic fee even if it is required by the institution. Health insurance costs may, however, be paid from the expense allowance.
    3. Expense Allowance: Up to $2,500 will be provided to pay for items and activities for the direct benefit of the student's education, such as for health insurance, books, supplies, equipment, and travel to technical and scientific meetings. Specific instructions regarding the disbursement and management of the expense allowance will be provided during the award process.
    4. Internship Allowance: During the three-month summer internship, the Fellow will receive a total of $7,500. This amount includes $1,000 for travel to and from the summer internship site, $500 for travel while at the site, and a stipend of $6,000 for living expenses.

  5. How many years does this award cover?

    The award provides financial support for the final two years of undergraduate study, beginning in the fall. Students with less than two years remaining toward their Bachelors degree are not eligible to apply.

  6. Is the summer internship a requirement for this award?

    YES! The summer internship is a requirement for undergraduate fellows. The EPA will provide a fellow with a paid internship in one of its laboratories, regional offices, or headquarters programs. Also, a stipend and temporary relocation support will be provided during the internship.

  7. What should be included in my statement of objectives?

    The statement of objectives provides you with an opportunity to explain your interests and goals. You should give serious attention to this part of your pre-application, stating what your plan of study will be during the two years of the fellowship and your career aspirations after graduation. Give enough information so that you may be adequately evaluated. Note that there is a one-page limit for the statement of objectives.

  8. Who should provide my letters of recommendation?

    You will need three letters of recommendation from different individuals. One letter should be from your school advisor. The remaining two letters should come from faculty members who can attest to your interests and potential. It is important to choose faculty members who know you very well and can describe your abilities in great detail. Letters could also be written by past or current employers or others who know your potential and interests. The letters must be recent.

  9. What is the difference between a "pre-application" and an "application"?

    The pre-application is the first step in the overall process. Pre-applications are collected in the fall from interested candidates. Finalists are selected from these to complete the formal application process.

  10. Where can I obtain the "pre-application" materials?

    You may submit either a paper pre-application or an electronic pre-application (but not both) for this announcement. Instructions for both forms of submission follow.

    Internet Addresses to Request a Pre-Application Package:

    The information we initially request is considered a "pre-application." You should submit the information requested in the fellowship announcement on plain paper in the specified format. You must follow the directions exactly or your pre-application will not be reviewed. If selected for a fellowship, you will need to fill out several forms that must be completed and returned before the award can be made.

  11. Are there any official forms that I must complete?

    If you are selected for a fellowship, EPA will send you two federal forms that must be completed and returned before the award can be made.

  12. If I have another fellowship, must I give it up to be eligible for the EPA Fellowship?

    Possibly not. You cannot receive any other federal assistance scholarships, grants, fellowships, or traineeships at the same time as the EPA fellowship. However, if the funding source of your other fellowship is not federal, you can accept both awards.

  13. How will my application be reviewed?

    Depending on the number of applications we receive, the review process could consist of mail reviews, convened panels or a combination of the two. Each application will be reviewed by experts in the general field of specialization that you have identified. Reviewers are given detailed guidance on the review process, including the review criteria. We will make award decisions based upon the recommendations of the peer review panel, EPA needs, and available funds.

  14. What is the best advice you can give me in completing this application?

    This year only you have the option of completing a paper application or a electronic application but you cannot do both. Therefore, decide which one you prefer, then review the instructions carefully and underline only the instructions that relate to the application process that you selected to use. Use those underlined instructions as a checklist to insure that you follow all of them completely and within the deadlines given.

  15. How do I know that you got my application?

    For both paper and electronic pre-applications, an email will be sent by NCER to the applicant to acknowledge receipt of the pre-application and transmit other important information. The email will be sent from receipt.application@epa.gov; email to this address will not be accepted. If you do not receive an email acknowledgment within 30 days of the submission closing date, immediately call 1-800-490-9194 (the EPA/NCER toll-free telephone number). Failure to do so may result in your pre-application not being reviewed. See "Submission Instructions for Electronic Pre-Applications" for additional information regarding acknowledgment of receipt of electronically submitted pre-applications.

    Please note: Due to often lengthy delays in delivery, it is especially important that you monitor NCER's confirmation of receipt of your pre-application when using US Postal Service mail.

    For electronic pre-applications, this form can be found in the electronic pre-application package available at grants.gov. See "Submission Instructions for Electronic Pre-Applications."

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