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Information for


March 2001


Information in this booklet is designed to serve
National Science Foundation
Graduate Research Fellows:

Stipend and Cost-of-Education Allowance

For all awards, the annual (12-month) stipend rate is $27,500 or $2,291 per month (see section 7).

The cost-of-education allowance for a 12-month academic year is $10,500 (see section 9).

These rates are reviewed annually. The Coordinating Official will be notified of any changes in these rates.

Graduate Research Fellowship Program
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard - Room 907N
Arlington, Virginia 22230-0002

Phone: (703) 292-8694
Fax: (703) 292-9048
Home Page:

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number
of this program is 47.076,
Education and Human Resources


  1. Awarding Agency and Conditions
  2. Communication with NSF
  3. Coordinating Official (U.S. Institutions Only)
  4. Change of Mailing Address, Electronic Mail Address, or Name
  5. Fellowship Period
    1. Tenure
    2. Reservation
      1. Institution during reservation
      2. Medical deferral
      3. Military deferral
  6. Fellowship Institution
    1. Institutional Affiliation
    2. Change of Institution
      1. Before starting tenure
      2. Between fellowship years
      3. During a fellowship year
  7. Stipend
    1. General
    2. U.S. Fellowship Institutions
  8. Supplementation to Stipend
    1. Affiliated Institution
    2. Additional Research Support
    3. Veterans' Benefits
    4. ROTC Training Allowance
  9. Payment of Tuition and Fees (Cost-of-Education Allowance)
  10. Fellows Abroad
    1. Foreign Affiliation
    2. Science Adviser
    3. Stipend Payments
      1. Initiation of monthly stipend payments
      2. Methods of receiving montly payments
      3. Missing or delayed payments
    4. Payment of Tuition and Fees
    5. Travel
    6. Completion of Foreign Tenure Year
  11. Fellowship Activities
    1. Advanced Degree Enrollment
    2. Teaching
    3. Field Work (or Study at Another Institution)
    4. Foreign Language Study
    5. Program Changes
    6. Vacations
    7. Awards or Employment during Tenure
  12. Additional Fellowship Provisions
    1. International Research Travel Allowance
    2. Use of Supercomputer
    3. Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities
    4. Tenure Beyond the Doctoral Degree
  13. Other Fellowship Concerns
    1. Income Tax
      1. General conditions
      2. Foreign affiliation
    2. Sharing of Findings, Data, and other Research Products
    3. Acknowledgment of Support and Disclaimer
    4. Legal Rights to Intellectual Property
    5. Future Employment
    6. National Security
    7. Members of the Armed Forces and Federal Employees
  14. Annual Reporting
    1. Yearly Continuation of the Fellowship, (NSF Form 719)
    2. Activities Report, (NSF Form 1080)
    3. Starting Certificate, (NSF Form 349) (for Fellows abroad)
    4. Direct Deposit Form for U.S. Banks ONLY, (SF 3881) (for Fellows abroad)
    5. Termination Certificate, (NSF Form 453) (for Fellows abroad)
  15. Online Forms and Publications from NSF
    1. Graduate Fellowship Program (GRFP) Home Page
    2. Online Document System
    3. Internet E-Mail

Use of U.S.-Flag Air Carriers and Foreign-Flag Air Carriers


About The National Science Foundation


Arlington, VA 22230-0002



Read this booklet carefully. It outlines the terms and conditions of your Graduate Fellowship, and provides general information for use during your tenure.

Keep it and refer to it whenever you have a question about your Graduate Research Fellowship. The Foundation and your affiliated institution will thus be able to serve you more quickly and efficiently, and unnecessary correspondence will be avoided. Future editions of this booklet will be posted on the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program Home Page during the period of your fellowship.

Fellows must act each year to continue to utilize or to reserve their fellowships. This procedure is explained in section 14a.

As a recipient of Federal funds, you are expected to demonstrate a sense of responsibility in fulfilling the academic and fiscal obligations of your award. Failure on the part of a Fellow to observe all of the terms and conditions of a fellowship award constitutes sufficient grounds for its revocation by the Foundation.



The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an agency of the Federal Government. One of its responsibilities is the awarding of graduate fellowships in science, mathematics, and engineering. The fellowships offer direct support for full-time study leading to advanced degrees to individuals who have demonstrated ability and special aptitude in these areas. Fellows are not considered employees of the National Science Foundation.

As noted in the award letter, successful applicants must indicate formal acceptance or declination of the offer by April 30 using NSF Form 179, Acceptance/Declination Form for NSF Graduate Fellowship. In addition, for those individuals accepting the award, the Certification Page must be signed, dated, and returned with the Acceptance Form. If you indicate that you plan to attend a U.S. institution, the Foundation obligates funds for your support under an agreement with the institution of your choice. If you indicate that you plan to attend a foreign institution, reimbursement will be electronically transferred directly to your bank account or a U.S. Treasury Check can be mailed to your address, within the limits outlined in section 10.

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Most of the questions you may have pertaining to your fellowship are answered in this booklet or can be answered by the Coordinating Official (see section 3) at your affiliated U.S. institution. If you need to contact the Foundation concerning your fellowship, please use the following address:

Mail address:

Graduate Research Fellowship Program
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard-Room 907N
Arlington, Virginia 22230-0002

Telephone:(703) 292-8694
FAX: (703) 292-9048
Internet e-mail:

Because of the size of this program, NSF uses form letters and electronic mail extensively. Fellows should know, however, that when the need arises, direct contact with the program staff is always encouraged.

The Foundation is required to use ZIP codes on all domestic mail. Please be certain to furnish the proper ZIP code when providing the Foundation with any address in the United States.

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Each college or university in the United States attended by Graduate Fellows has named a Coordinating Official (CO)--usually a graduate dean or a similar official--who assists the Foundation in administering fellowships at that institution. A Directory of Coordinating Officials lists all COs and their contact information. The Directory is available on the NSF Online Document System (see section 15). Under the terms of an agreement with the Foundation, the fellowship institution provides various services to Fellows at that institution. It is the Fellow's responsibility to contact the Coordinating Official for information and assistance.

No request to the Foundation regarding a change in your fellowship plan or an exception to any fellowship guideline will be considered unless first endorsed by the Coordinating Official. Therefore, Fellows should discuss such requests with their Coordinating Official before contacting the Foundation.

There are no Coordinating Officials at institutions outside the United States. For Fellows abroad, responsibilities normally carried out by the Coordinating Official in the United States will be divided between the Fellow and the Science Adviser. For this reason a number of provisions in this booklet apply specifically to Fellows abroad (see section 10).

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You should immediately inform your Coordinating Official of any change of mailing address, e-mail address, or name. Also, please send a copy of the change to the NSF Graduate Fellowship office e-mail address:

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The period of your fellowship includes three years of tenure, during which you receive NSF funding to pursue your graduate work, and two years of reserve, which you may utilize for alternate activities with the approval of your Coordinating Official and NSF (see paragraph below and section 14a). All NSF fellowship tenure must be completed within five years of your fellowship starting date. The fellowship period is divided into fellowship years; each comprised of a nine-month academic year (and up to three months of an associated summer). A fellowship year cannot be further subdivided into separate periods of utilization and reservation except for medical deferral or military deferral. Each year of the fellowship period is funded and administered separately.

Recipients of new three-year awards may begin tenure in the summer following the award and must begin fellowship tenure not later than the beginning of the fall term with certain exceptions explained below. In any case, all NSF fellowship tenure during any year in which you plan to use your award must start no later than the fall term of that year.

a. Tenure

Tenure is the period of time during which you utilize your fellowship to pursue your advanced degree in science, mathematics, or engineering. It includes periods of full-time research and independent study whether or not your school is in session, as well as any normal, short vacation periods scheduled at your institution. The starting date of your fellowship is the date on which you actually begin your full-time activities, and your tenure is computed from that date. This need not necessarily coincide with a formal summer or fall academic session of your university (though normally it does), and is not defined by the date on which a stipend check may be issued. (The exact starting date is to be mutually arranged between you and your Coordinating Official.) New Fellows should present a copy of their award letter to the Coordinating Official at their affiliated institution when beginning tenure.

Fellows at institutions outside the United States will receive Fellowship Starting Certificates (NSF Form 349) for notifying the Foundation directly of their beginning dates (see section 10).

The proper fulfillment of the full-time training obligation assumed by Fellows will be determined at each institution in accordance with Foundation requirements. If you terminate your activities at your institution prior to the completion of your expected tenure, you are entitled to stipend payments only for those months you were on fellowship tenure at your university (including possible field work), the last month being defined for stipend payment purposes as 14 or more days of tenure.

A Fellow may reduce the tenure of any fellowship year from 12 to no fewer than 9 months, without penalty other than loss of the tenure and associated stipend involved in such a reduction, by notifying the Coordinating Official, or, if abroad, the Foundation directly.

In unusual circumstances and with prior approval, the Foundation will permit a brief interruption of tenure. Normally in such cases stipend payments and tenure will be forfeited for the duration of the interruption.

Should you find it necessary to resign or end your fellowship, you should notify both the Foundation and your Coordinating Official immediately.

The maximum period of tenure in any fellowship year is 12 months and may not be extended for any reason, even in the final year of a fellowship. No individual will be eligible to receive more than 36 months of NSF Graduate Research Fellowship support.

b. Reservation

With prior Foundation approval, Fellows may reserve any two years over the five-year period to use an alternative means of support, or to engage in activities other than graduate study. In either or both of the years that you do not utilize your award, your fellowship normally will be reserved for your future use during the permissible five-year period. Any of the three tenure years not used during the five year period are considered forfeited. A portion of a year of tenure cannot be reserved for later use, except for medical deferral or military deferral; thus, any months not utilized during a year of tenure are forfeited.

All Fellows, including those on reserve, must file NSF Form 719, Declaration To Utilize, Reserve Or Terminate A Subsequent Year Of A 3-Year Graduate Fellowship Award, each year as indicated in section 14a. When returning to active tenure after a period of reserve, Fellows may change start time from fall to summer or vice versa. When such a change in start time is made, NSF must be certain that no Fellow re-ceives more than 36 months of NSF Graduate Fellowship support and that no Fellow is allowed more than five years from the summer or fall after the announcement of the award in which to utilize the fellowship support. Regardless, Fellows exercising this option must enter tenure of the NSF fellowship no later than the fall of the year that their reserve status ends.

Since there is no expectation that three years of NSF fellowship support will be sufficient to complete a doctoral degree program, years of fellowship tenure may be interspersed with one or two years of other forms of support, which it is the Fellow's responsibility to locate and obtain. This practice is in keeping with the Foundation's objective of providing Fellows near the beginning of their graduate studies reason-able assurance of three years of fellowship support, with some flexibil-ity left to Fellows as to when best use of tenure can be made.

(1) Institution during reservation. During a year in which a fellowship is reserved, the affiliated institution, for Foundation record purposes, will continue to be the institution at which tenure was most recently carried out, even if the Fellow subsequently severs connections with that institution. For this reason, NSF Form 719, the declaration to utilize or reserve a fellowship in the following year (see section 14a) will be sent during the year of reservation to the Coordinating Official at that institution. The change of institution will be recorded at NSF immediately prior to resumption of tenure at the new institution, rather than prior to or during a period of fellowship reservation. For Fellows who reserve the first one or two years of fellowship tenure, the institution specified on the application form will be considered the fellowship institution unless the Fellow notifies the Foundation of a change. In any case, please keep the National Science Foundation and the Coordinating Official at your Institution of record informed of your current address.

(2) Medical deferral. Should serious illness or other medical condition occur that prevents full-time fellowship activity for an extended period, you must contact your Coordinating Official regarding fellowship arrangement during this period.

With Foundation approval, a Fellow may be granted a medical deferral. A Fellow requesting a medical deferral must secure a letter verifying the need for a medical deferral from a health care provider and notify the Coordinating Official, who should contact the Foundation. The unused portion of the stipend and cost-of-education allowance during the medical deferral will be reserved for later use by the Fellow. A letter from a health care provider should accompany a Fellow's request to resume tenure after being on medical deferral. A medical deferral may be granted for psychological as well as physical reasons, and the nature of the condition need not be disclosed.

(3) Military deferral. Within a given fellowship year a brief interruption for duly authorized military service or training is permitted with the approval of your Coordinating Official. In the case of a longer interruption resulting from active military service or from certain activities in lieu of service with the regular Armed Forces, provision can be made for reservation of a fellowship (or the balance of it) and reinstatement of the unused portion at a later date. In such cases a Fellow should notify the Foundation immediately in writing of these plans and request further instructions. Pay received by a Fellow for occasional attendance at military reserve or National Guard functions may be received concurrently with support from the Foundation.

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a. Institutional Affiliation

Fellows must be affiliated at all times during tenure with an appropriate, accredited, nonprofit U.S. or foreign institution of higher education. If the Foundation does not raise a question with you concerning the institution you plan to attend, you may assume your choice has been approved. You are responsible for making all arrangements for acceptance at your chosen institution.

b. Change of Institution

(1) Before starting tenure. If you seek acceptance at an institution other than the one listed on your fellowship application, please indicate this change on the Acceptance/Declination Form For NSF Graduate Fellowship (NSF Form 179) that is to be submitted by April 30 following the award announcement.

(2) Between fellowship years. A request to change affiliated institutions between fellowship years is normally made at the time you submit your annual Declaration to Utilize, Reserve or Terminate a Subsequent Year of a 3-Year Graduate Fellowship Award (NSF Form 719) to your Coordinating Official. The signature of your Coordinating Official or Science Adviser on this form is usually sufficient to support your request. If a decision to change institutions is made subsequent to submission of your annual declaration, you must submit a written request to NSF accompanied by a statement from your Coordinating Official or Science Adviser indicating that your work has continued to be satisfactory as well as evidence of acceptance at your new school.

(3) During a fellowship year. If you wish to transfer from one institution to another during a fellowship year, you must notify the NSF and attach (1) a statement from your Coordinating Official or Science Adviser indicating that your work has continued to be satisfactory, and (2) evidence of acceptance in a graduate degree program from your proposed affiliated institution. The Coordinating Official at your current institution will indicate the amount of stipend paid and the amount of the cost-of-education allowance claimed. You must contact the Coordinating Official at your new institution in order to ensure proper transfer and continued payment of your stipend allowances. In order to receive continued fellowship support when transferring from one institution to another, there must be only minimal disruption in your enrollment and pursuit of academic goals. Please be advised, however, that because of differing payment schedules at U.S. institutions, there may be some disruption in your receipt of stipend payments.

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a. General

The Graduate Research Fellowship stipend is as specified at the beginning of this booklet and is subject to periodic review. No dependency allowances are provided. There is no travel allowance for the purpose of assisting you in reaching your affiliated institution in the United States or for any other domestic travel.

The Foundation reserves the right to withhold your stipend if you do not conform to the standards of conduct of your affiliated institution and the National Science Foundation, pending a satisfactory explanation. Any stipend payment received for a period in which you were not actually engaged in fellowship activities must be refunded either to the U.S. institution involved or, if you were attending a foreign institution, to the Foundation.

b. U.S. Fellowship Institutions

At U.S. fellowship institutions all arrangements for payment of your stipend are handled by your affiliated institution through the Coordinating Official. It is your responsibility to ascertain the method of payment and plan your activities accordingly. Your Coordinating Official will explain the exact procedures employed by your institution.

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a. Affiliated Institution

The institution may, if it deems such action desirable, augment NSF Fellows' stipends from institutional funds in such amounts as are in accordance with the supplementation policies of the affiliated institution. In the context of this guideline, funds that the institution has obtained from external (including Federal) sources may be considered institutional funds (see section 11g).

b. Additional Research Support

The fellowship award does not provide allowances for special student needs, such as research expenses, travel to scientific conferences, computers, books and publications, fieldwork expenses, special study, etc. Fellows may request support from other sources for such needs.

c. Veterans' Benefits

The receipt of educational benefits from the Veterans Administration is not considered by NSF as payment supplementary to support from the Foundation and may be received concurrently with such support.

d. ROTC Training Allowance

Fellows enrolled for duly authorized ROTC training may accept the associated allowance. This allowance is not regarded by the Foundation as supplementation and may be received concurrently with such support.

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(Cost-of-Education Allowance)

The Foundation provides your affiliated institution in the United States with a fixed cost-of-education allowance, as specified at the beginning of this booklet. During tenure Fellows will be exempt from paying tuition and fees normally charged to students of similar academic standing. You will, however, be required to pay any fees or deposits that are refundable in whole or in part, or that are optional, or that were incurred prior to the actual start of fellowship tenure (e.g., an "Application for Admission" fee). All living expenses are the responsibility of the Fellow. See section 11c concerning tuition and fees charged by an institution or laboratory other than your affiliated institution.

The Foundation makes available this fixed cost-of-education allowance without regard to the actual amount of tuition and fees involved. This policy is based on the desire of the Foundation to contribute approximately the same percentage of the actual costs of the graduate education of all Fellows, regardless of how various graduate institutions normally generate income from endowments, public funds, tuition or other sources. The use of this cost-of- education allowance is entirely at the discretion of your affiliated institution.

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a. Foreign Affiliation

If you intend to affiliate with a foreign institution, you must submit, as soon as possible, evidence from that institution that you have been accepted for study in a graduate degree program in one of the fields supported by the Foundation (unless such evidence was submitted with your fellowship application materials). A post-graduate degree program of study leading to an Honors degree at the baccalaureate level is unacceptable. In addition, all arrangements for affiliation with your foreign institution and provision for living quarters are your responsibility. You will be responsible for making all arrangements for securing any necessary passport or visas.

It is the responsibility of the Fellow to assure that any research activities carried on outside the United States comply with the laws or regulations of the foreign country in which the research is to be conducted. In some countries the foreign research activities contemplated in the proposed plan should be coordinated with the appropriate U.S. and foreign government authorities, and necessary licenses, permits, or approvals should be obtained prior to undertaking the proposed activities.

b. Science Adviser

Your Science Adviser is the principal professor under whose guidance you are pursuing your fellowship activities.

Fellows studying abroad should keep the Foundation informed at all times of the names and addresses of their Science Advisers, since these are the individuals with whom the Foundation will correspond if questions arise concerning their fellowships.

c. Stipend Payments

(1) Initiation of monthly stipend payments. A Fellowship Starting Certificate (NSF Form 349) will be sent in advance of tenure and should be completed and returned to the Graduate Fellowship Program office at NSF as soon as possible after beginning tenure. In addition, an ACH Vendor/Miscellaneous Payment Enrollment Form (SF 3881) should be completed and sent to the Division of Financial Management, NSF, 4201 Wilson Boulevard--Room 575S, Arlington, VA 22230-0002 USA. (Note: Both forms can be downloaded from NSF, see section 15a.) Regular monthly stipend payments will not be authorized until these forms are properly completed and returned to the Foundation. Since it normally requires four to six weeks to process these forms, a Fellow should make provisions to maintain herself or himself during this period.

(2) Methods of receiving monthly payments. There are two ways to receive fellowship payments: (1) electronically deposited directly to the Fellow’s personal checking/savings account in a U.S. bank or (2) U.S. Treasury Checks mailed directly to the Fellow’s home address or foreign address (Please note: Fellows have informed NSF that checks mailed to a foreign site have experienced some delays; this can take up to 10 business days). Both methods require submission of form SF 3881. However, if you wish to receive Treasury Checks, indicate on the SF 3881, "WANT TO RECEIVE PAYMENTS BY TREASURY CHECK". It is strongly recommended that Fellows attending foreign institutions establish an account with a U.S. financial institution to receive fellowship funds by electronic means.

(3) Missing or delayed payments. If you experience any problems with receiving your monthly payments, please contact the Graduate Research Fellowship Program at NSF. The Foundation will forward the information to the U.S. Treasury Department after adding appropriate fiscal information. It usually takes at least four weeks to have a new transfer arranged.

d. Payment of Tuition and Fees

In view of the diversity and complexity of financial charges made by foreign institutions, the Foundation will pay only those foreign institution tuitions and required fees that are normally assessed of all students of similar standing, exclusive of fees or deposits that are refundable in whole or in part, or that are of an optional nature, or that were incurred prior to the actual start of fellowship tenure (e.g., an "Application for Admission" fee). When you send a Starting Certificate to NSF, you can also send either an original statement from the university bursar regarding tuition and fees that are due, or a certified paid receipt for eligible charges from the affiliated institution to be reimbursed. NSF will pay to the Fellow the U.S. dollar equivalent, based on the exchange rate on the day the request is processed, up to the maximum of the annual cost-of-education allowance, in the same manner as the stipend is paid (electronic fund transfer to a U.S. bank or a U.S. Treasury Check mailed to the home or foreign address of the fellow).

Since the Foundation limits tuition and fee reimbursement at foreign institutions to an amount equivalent to the cost-of-education allowance paid to U.S. institutions, any bills in excess of the specified maximum amount of the cost-of-education allowance during any tenure year are the responsibility of the Fellow, and will not be paid by the Foundation. Therefore, if the cost-of-education allowance exceeds the foreign tuition and fees, the balance will not be made available to the Fellow.

e. Travel

Once fellowship tenure begins, a Fellow attending a foreign institution can request the one-time $1000 International Research Travel Allowance by completing and submitting the Fellowship Travel Certificate (NSF Form 524) to assist in getting to the institution abroad (see section 12a).

f. Completion of Foreign Tenure Year

A Fellowship Termination Certificate and Grant Fiscal Report (NSF Form 453) must be completed and returned immediately upon completion of each tenure period, normally one year, at a foreign institution (see section 14e).

The annual activities report (NSF Form 1080) can be completed at the same time and returned with the termination certificate (see section 14b).

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a. Advanced Degree Enrollment

In addition to satisfactory institutional affiliation, a Fellow must be enrolled at all times during tenure in a full-time program leading to an advanced degree in one of the fields supported by the Foundation. However, the requirement of formal registration may be waived during part of this tenure, when appropriate, if permitted by the policy of the fellowship institution, provided that the Fellow otherwise remains engaged in appropriate full-time fellowship activities. The Fellow must submit a written request for waiver of registration to the Foundation accompanied by a statement from the Coordinating Official or Science Adviser indicating their recommendation for approval.

b. Teaching

As a Fellow, you will be required to devote full time to advanced scientific study or research during your tenure, including a reasonable amount of such teaching or similar activities as are in the opinion of the faculty of your institution contributory to your academic progress. You may, therefore, engage in teaching or comparable activities at only your affiliated institution without having to obtain the Foundation's approval. From the Foundation's point of view, furtherance of your educational objectives and the gain of substantive teaching experience, not service to your institution as such, should be the purpose of these activities. If you teach or engage in similar activities, all decisions regarding augmentation of your stipend within the limits outlined in section 8 will be made by your affiliated institution.

NSF permits institutions to require appropriate service of Fellows by appointment to positions that can generate additional income to cover any difference between the cost-of-education allowance and tuition. Any such required service must be contributory to the progress of the Fellow toward an advanced degree and must not be expected to delay that progress. Any such required work must not adversely affect a Fellow's full-time study. Fellows are strongly encouraged to determine the plans regarding any such required service of their proposed fellowship institutions before committing to enroll in any particular school.

c. Field Work (or Study at Another Institution)

If, in the opinion of the faculty of your affiliated institution, it is desirable for you to study or to engage in research at another institution or laboratory during any part of your tenure, you may do so without having to obtain the Foundation's approval. It should be noted, however, that the Foundation's responsibility with respect to any Graduate Research Fellow is to the Fellow's affiliated institution only, and not to the "visited" institution or laboratory. The Foundation specifically cannot assume responsibility for educational costs assessed by another institution at which a Fellow may be studying temporarily. Regardless of your physical location, you will be considered by the Foundation as being identified with your affiliated institution only.

Plans for field work or study at another institution must be approved either by your Coordinating Official (if at a U.S. institution) or by your Science Adviser (if at a foreign institution).

d. Foreign Language Study

Formal study of a foreign language, constituting a portion of your studies as a Fellow, would be appropriate in those cases in which such study is required in your degree program and is recommended by your faculty advisers.

e. Program Changes

Minor changes in your program may be made subject to the approval of your affiliated institution. A major change in your program--one that alters your program to the extent that it is significantly different from that originally submitted with your application (e.g., a change of field)--must receive the prior approval of your Coordinating Official or Science Adviser. In addition, you must submit a revised proposed plan of study or research for NSF approval.

f. Vacations

NSF fellowships do not provide a vacation period, as such, during fellowship tenure. You are entitled to the normal, short holiday periods observed by your fellowship institution, such as winter or spring holidays, and short between-term periods. "Vacation time" may not be accumulated for later use. There is considerable variation in institutional practices in the matter of vacations, but, if your institution should close for a long period of time, you will be expected to have made prior arrangements for the use of necessary facilities and resources to carry out your program. If it is not possible for you to make these arrangements at your affiliated institution, you should make other satisfactory arrangements, with Foundation approval, to carry on your work.

g. Awards or Employment during Tenure

You may not receive funds from another major fellowship, scholarship, or similar award, except as permitted under the provisions of section 8. However, you are permitted to solicit and accept support from any appropriate sources for research expenses connected with your fellowship activities. The Foundation is not concerned with gifts or loans of any kind that you may receive.

During the tenure of your fellowship (except for scheduled short vacation periods) you will be expected to devote full time to the advancement of your graduate education. Employment at an on- or off-campus site that does not jeopardize a Fellow's full-time commitment to graduate study and is consistent with university policy is usually permitted. However, before a Fellow engages in such work, permission of the NSF and the Coordinating Official must be obtained. Requests for approval of employment during tenure are reviewed by NSF on a case-by-case basis. Such requests should include the following information: nature of employment, relation to graduate degree program, number of hours per week or month, permission from a Coordinating Official (U.S. Institutions) or faculty or Science Adviser (Foreign Institutions).

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a. International Research Travel Allowance

For those Fellows who plan to study or do research full-time at a foreign site for at least three continuous months, the Foundation will provide a one-time International Research Travel Allowance of $1,000 to assist the Fellow to travel to and from the foreign site. The activities proposed must be expected to contribute to the Fellow's advanced degree objectives. The period abroad may include any combination of tenure and reserve years otherwise permitted under the program guidelines. The allowance may be used at any appropriate time once tenure has begun and within the five years during which fellowship tenure may be utilized. Fellows may request this allowance on the Acceptance/Declination form (NSF Form 179) or the annual Declaration/Utilization form (NSF Form 719) or by submitting a written request, approved by the Coordinating Official, to the program office. Each request must describe the proposed activities as well as the proposed schedule.

Travel in the U.S., its possessions, and Puerto Rico is considered domestic travel. Travel outside the areas specified above is considered foreign travel. The International Research Travel Allowance falls under the foreign travel classification.

Once tenure begins, a Fellow attending a foreign institution can request the one-time $1000 International Research Travel Allowance to assist in getting to the institution abroad. The Fellowship Travel Certificate (NSF Form 524) should be completed and returned to the Graduate Research Fellowship Program office at NSF. Once approved, the allowance will be direct deposited or sent as a U.S. Treasury Check, as explained in section 10c (2).

Use of U.S. flag air carriers by international travel allowance recipients is required by the International Air Transportation Fair Competitive Practices Act of 1974 known as the "Fly America Act" (see page 23).

b. Use of Supercomputer

Fellows as well as Honorable Mention recipients may request use of up to 10 CPU hours at one of the Foundation-supported Supercomputer Centers, pending availability. The Centers will consider requests for supercomputer use in support of the research project that is or will be part of your full-time advanced degree work. Unless precluded by future events, requests must be submitted within five years from announcement of Honorable Mention or from the date of the start of your fellowship period for Fellows. A form for requesting supercomputer time is included in the fellowship award packet and with the notification letter to Honorable Mention recipients. Individuals should contact the program office to initiate a request.

c. Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities

All fellowship awardees and Honorable Mention recipients who have disabilities may apply for funding through the Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities (FASED) program for special assistance or equipment. See the FASED program announcement or contact the program coordinator at (703) 292-8694 for more information.

d. Tenure Beyond the Doctoral Degree

If you attain your doctoral degree before completion of your fellowship tenure year, you may either resign at the time you complete the requirements for your doctoral degree or continue to engage in appropriate fellowship activities at your affiliated institution for a brief period not to extend beyond the normal termination date of the fellowship year involved. You should seek the advice of either your Coordinating Official or your Science Adviser.

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a. Income Tax

(1) General conditions. University policies regarding withholding of taxes from stipend payments vary, and Fellows must bear the responsibility of paying any tax, domestic or foreign, when due. Specific questions regarding taxation of fellowship funding should be referred to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

Fellows are not in any sense salaried employees of the National Science Foundation nor of their affiliated institution. The NSF and most institutions will not deduct income taxes or Social Security taxes from the stipend, and no W-2 forms will be issued. However, some universities do withhold taxes. The Fellow must make provision for the filing of all income taxes that may become due. It is the Fellow's responsibility to learn the university's policy.

Fellows may request a statement of earnings from the fellowship institution.

(2) Foreign affiliation. A statement of funds received (including travel allowance) will be issued by the NSF Division of Financial Management upon request by those Fellows who are attending a foreign institution.

The Foundation is unable to supply information concerning the income tax or other tax provisions of any foreign country. Inquiries should be directed to the authorities in the appropriate countries.

Fellows going abroad may find it helpful to consult Internal Revenue Service Publication No. 54, Tax Guide For U.S. Citizens And Resident Aliens Abroad, and Publication No. 520, Scholarships And Fellowships. These are available at all IRS district offices. You can download these publications from the IRS Home Page at

b. Sharing of Findings, Data, and other Research Products

NSF advocates and encourages open scientific communication. NSF expects significant research results and educational activities to be promptly made public without restriction. It also encourages Fellows to share software and inventions, once appropriate protection for them has been secured, and otherwise act to make the innovations they embody widely useful and usable. The Fellowship Program would appreciate receiving notice of Fellows' publications, but it is not necessary to send a copy of the publications, paper, thesis, or dissertation.

c. Acknowledgment of Support and Disclaimer

An acknowledgment of NSF support and a disclaimer must appear in publications including World Wide Web pages of any material, whether copyrighted or not, based on or developed under the project being reported, in the following terms:

"This material is based upon work supported under a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship."

Except for articles or papers published in scientific, technical, or professional journals, the following disclaimer should be included:

"Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation."

d. Legal Rights to Intellectual Property

The National Science Foundation normally allows Fellows to retain principal legal rights to intellectual property developed under a fellowship award. This policy provides incentive for development and dissemination of inventions, software, and publications that can enhance their usefulness, accessibility, and upkeep. It does not, however, reduce the responsibility of Fellows and their affiliated institutions to make results, data, and collections available to the research community.

e. Future Employment

The offer and acceptance of this fellowship does not obligate you, the Foundation or the United States Government in any way with regard to future employment or service of any kind.

f. National Security

Fellows are obliged to report promptly to the Foundation, prior to disclosure to others, any discoveries that are made or data that are developed that could reasonably be considered as likely to affect the national security or the national defense. Doubtful cases should be referred to the Foundation prior to disclosure of any information concerning them.

g. Members of the Armed Forces and Federal Employees

If during the tenure of your fellowship you will be a member of the Armed Forces (other than as a participant of an ROTC program) or on leave from a position in the Federal Service, it is your responsibility to so inform the Foundation and have a cognizant official of the Government organization involved file a statement with the Foundation outlining the funds that will be made available by your employer and the specific purpose for which they are provided to you. The Foundation and your organization must reach a mutually satisfactory agreement regarding your support during tenure before any funds can be provided under your fellowship. Normally, if you will be receiving active duty military pay, the fellowship stipend is forfeited; however, the institution can utilize the cost-of-education allowance.

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a. Yearly Continuation of the Fellowship, (NSF Form 719)

NSF Form 719, Declaration To Utilize, Reserve Or Terminate A Subsequent Year Of A 3-Year Graduate Fellowship Award, which is sent to you in the Spring through your Coordinating Official or directly if you are abroad, is for the purpose of declaring whether you will utilize or reserve your fellowship for the following year. All Fellows, including those on reserve, military deferral or medical deferral, must file this form each year. Failure to declare your intent at this time results in your fellowship being considered as resigned. If you are in the first or second year of the three-year award and have not already reserved your fellowship for the maximum period of two years, you are eligible to utilize or reserve your fellowship during the next academic year. The utilization or reservation of your fellowship is contingent upon certification by your affiliated institution of satisfactory progress toward an advanced degree and your institution's approval of any alternate plans. If, before beginning tenure in a subsequent year of the award, your institution withdraws its certification, all remaining years of tenure will be canceled.

The utilization of a fellowship awarded to you in a prior year is contingent upon the availability of funds.

b. Activities Report, (NSF Form 1080)

In April of each year of tenure, a letter will be sent to you through your Coordinating Official, requesting a brief report on your experiences and accomplishments during the past year. NSF Graduate Research Fellows abroad are also requested to submit an Activities Report (see section 10f). Within 30 days after the end of that year, you are expected to submit NSF Form 1080, Activities Report for Graduate Fellowship Year 200_-0_, directly to the Foundation. The Foundation is always interested in receiving captioned photographs and learning of noteworthy accomplishments that merit public attention. Also, you may wish to offer suggestions regarding the administration of the award.

c. Starting Certificate, (NSF Form 349)
(for Fellows abroad)

If you are studying at an institution abroad, NSF Form 349, Fellowship Starting Certificate serves as authority to begin your stipend payments. Each year after you have begun tenure, complete a Starting Certificate form, obtain your Science Adviser's original signature, and submit the form to the Graduate Research Fellowship Program at NSF.

d. Direct Deposit Form for US Banks ONLY, (SF 3881)
(for Fellows abroad)

The ACH Vendor/Miscellaneous Payment Enrollment Form (SF 3881) should be submitted to the Division of Financial Management at NSF in order for the U.S. Treasury Department to transmit payment data by electronic means to the Fellow's U.S. bank account.

e. Termination Certificate, (NSF Form 453)
(for Fellows abroad)

If you are studying at an institution abroad, NSF Form 453, Fellowship Termination Certificate and Grant Fiscal Report, will be mailed to you each year to complete and return to the Foundation immediately upon completion of your tenure period. This form is to be signed by your Science Adviser (or an appropriate official of your affiliated institution), and must show the date you actually completed your fellowship activities, but must not be submitted in advance of your termination date. The annual submission of this form is required to satisfy minimum accounting regulations of the Federal Government and to verify that you have fulfilled the obligation of your fellowship tenure for which Federal funds were provided.

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The majority of forms and publications for the Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) are available electronically on the NSF Home Page via the World Wide Web at: In addition, documents can be accessed from the Graduate Research Fellowship Home Page or may be requested by e-mail. We recommend that you use these electronic methods for fast, easy access. Note that the PDF forms require using Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing and printing. The Acrobat Reader software can be downloaded free of charge from:

a. Graduate Fellowship Home Page

Fellowship forms and publications are accessible from the GRFP Home Page at: This page provides convenient links to the NSF Online Document System.

b. Online Document System

With Internet access, you can pull up fellowship forms in either a PDF printable blank form or a MS Word online form. Once on the NSF Home Page, click on "Publications" at the top of the page. Then click on "Search or Browse by Type." Scroll down to "Search by Document Number" and enter the file name. The following forms are available.

file name fellowship form
fmgf1080 Annual Activities Report
fmgf349 Fellowship Starting Certificate
fmgf3881 ACH Payment Form (US banking form)
fmgf453 Fellowship Termination Certificate
fmgf524 Travel Certificate
fmgf719 Yearly Continuation of Fellowship

The Information for Graduate Research Fellows booklet and the Directory of Coordinating Officials are also available.

NSF 01-94 Information booklet as a PDF, HTML, or Word.
NSF 01-71 CO Directory as a HTML document or PDF.

c. Internet E-mail

With access only to Internet electronic mail, you can have the forms sent to you via e-mail. Each form is available in two versions: a PDF printable blank form and a MS Word online form. You can send a GET message to the NSF database and each form requested will be automatically sent to your e-mail address in a separate return e-mail message. Save the file to a directory and pull it into Word (.doc) or Adobe Acrobat Reader (.pdf).

To receive forms by e-mail, send an electronic mail message to:

Leave the subject line blank. In the body of the message enter the GET command followed by the file name. You must specify .pdf or .doc file. Example:

get fmgf719.doc
get fmgf719.pdf

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Use of U.S.-Flag Air Carriers and Foreign-Flag Air Carriers
(Reprinted from GC-1, NSF Grant General Conditions)

Use of U.S.-Flag Air Carriers

(1) The Comptroller General of the United States, by Decision B-138942 of June 17, 1975, as amended March 31, 1981, provided guidelines for implementation of Section 5 of the International Air Transportation Fair Competitive Practices Act of 1974 (49 U.S.C. 1517).

(2) Any air transportation to, from, between, or within a country other than the United States of persons or property, the expense of which will be assisted by NSF funding, must be performed by a U.S.-flag air carrier if service provided by such a carrier is available.

(3) For the purposes of this requirement, U.S.-flag air carrier service is considered available even though:

(a) comparable or a different kind of service can be provided at less cost by a foreign-flag air carrier;

(b) foreign-flag air carrier service is preferred by, or is more convenient for, the Foundation or traveler; or

(c) service by a foreign-flag air carrier can be paid for in excess foreign currency.

(4) The following rules apply unless their application would result in the first or last leg of travel from or to the United States being performed by a foreign-flag air carrier:

(a) A U.S.-flag air carrier shall be used to destination or, in the absence of direct or through service, to the farthest interchange point on a usually traveled route.

(b) If a U.S.-flag air carrier does not serve an origin or interchange point, a foreign-flag air carrier shall be used only to the nearest interchange point on a usually traveled route to connect with a U.S. flag air carrier.

(c) If a U.S.-flag air carrier involuntarily reroutes the traveler via a foreign-flag air carrier, the foreign-flag air carrier may be used notwithstanding the availability of alternative U.S.-flag air carrier service.

Use of Foreign-Flag Air Carriers

(1) Travel To and From the United States. Use of a foreign-flag air carrier is permissible if:

(a) the airport abroad is the traveler's origin or destination airport, and use of U.S.-flag air carrier service would extend the time in a travel status by at least 24 hours more than travel by a foreign-flag air carrier; or

(b) the airport abroad is an interchange point, and use of U.S.-flag air carrier service would require the traveler to wait 6 hours or more to make connections at that point, or would extend the time in a travel status by at least 6 hours more than travel by a foreign-flag air carrier.

(2) Travel Between Points Outside the United States. Use of a foreign-flag air carrier is permissible if:

(a) travel by a foreign-flag air carrier would eliminate two or more aircraft changes en route;

(b) travel by a U.S.-flag air carrier would extend the time in a travel status by at least 6 hours more than travel by a foreign-flag air carrier; or

(c) the travel is not part of the trip to or from the United States, and use of a U.S.-flag air carrier would extend the time in a travel status by at least 6 hours more than travel by a foreign-flag air carrier.

Short Distance Travel. For all short distance travel, regardless of origin and destination, use of a foreign-flag air carrier is permissible if the elapsed travel time on a scheduled flight from origin to destination airport by a foreign-flag air carrier is 3 hours or less and service by a U.S.-flag air carrier would double the travel time.

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Acknowledgement of Support and Disclaimer
Additional Fellowship Provisions
Address, Change of
Address for Writing NSF
Advanced Degree Enrollment
Annual Reporting (Activities Report)
Awarding Agency and Conditions
Awards, Other
Change of Institution
Continuation of Fellowship
Coordinating Official
Cost-of-Education Allowance
Direct Deposit
Disabilities, Scientists with
Electronic Forms & Publications
Federal Employees
Fellows Abroad
Fellowship Activities
Fellowship Institution - Affiliation
Fellowship Period, Definition
Field Change
Field Work
Fly America Act
Foreign Language Study
Foreign Affiliation
Future Employment
Home Page
Income Tax
Institution During Reservation
International Research Travel Allowance
Internet E-Mail
Legal Rights To Intellectual Property
Medical Deferral
Military Deferral
Military Service
Name, Change of
National Security
Online Forms and Publications from NSF
Passport Arrangements
Program Changes
Publication Policy
Reports, Annual
ROTC Training Allowance
Science Adviser
Starting Certificate
Starting Date
Fellows Abroad
Payment Procedures
Study Away from Affiliated Institution
Supercomputer Use
Tenure Beyond the Doctoral Degree
Termination Certificate
Veterans' Benefits

About the National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. Grantees are wholly responsible for conducting their project activities and preparing the results for publication. Thus, the Foundation does not assume responsibility for such findings or their interpretation.

NSF welcomes proposals from all qualified scientists, engineers and educators. The Foundation strongly encourages women, minorities, and persons with disabilities to compete fully in its programs. In accordance with Federal statutes, regulations, and NSF policies, no person on grounds of race, color, age, sex, national origin, or disability shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving financial assistance from NSF (unless otherwise specified in the eligibility requirements for a particular program).

Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities (FASED) provide funding for special assistance or equipment to enable persons with disabilities (investigators and other staff, including student research assistants) to work on NSF-supported projects. See the program announcement or contact the program coordinator at (703) 292-8694.

The National Science Foundation has Telephonic Device for the Deaf (TDD) and Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) capabilities that enable individuals with hearing impairments to communicate with the Foundation regarding NSF programs, employment, or general information. TDD may be accessed at (703) 292-5090 or through FIRS on 1-800-877-8339.

The National Science Foundation is committed to making all of the information we publish easy to understand. If you have a suggestion about how to improve the clarity of this document or other NSF-published materials, please contact us at



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The National Science Foundation promotes and advances scientific progress in the United States by competitively awarding grants for research and education in the sciences, mathematics and engineering.

To get the latest information about program deadlines, to download copies of NSF publications, and to access abstracts of awards, visit the NSF Web site at:

4201 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22230
For General Information (NSF Information Center):
(703) 292-5111
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(703) 292-5090
To Order Publications or Forms:  

Send an e-mail to:

or telephone:

(301) 947-2722
To Locate NSF Employees:
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NSF 01-94