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Terms of Appointment - Predoctoral Fellowships

The goals of the Ford Foundation Fellowships are to increase the diversity of the nation’s college and university faculties by increasing their ethnic and racial diversity, to maximize the educational benefits of diversity, and to increase the number of professors who can and will use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students.

The Ford Foundation Fellowships at the predoctoral level are intended to identify and facilitate the academic, intellectual, and professional development of individuals who have demonstrated superior scholarship, are committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level, show promise of future achievement as scholars and teachers, and are well prepared to use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students.                                                      

Predoctoral fellowships are intended for students who, at the time of award, have at least three years of study remaining toward the attainment of their Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) degree in the behavioral and social sciences, the humanities, engineering, mathematics, the physical sciences, or the life sciences.

Conditions of Awards

By accepting or renewing this award, individuals are affirming that their career goals include teaching and research at the college or university level.

By accepting or renewing this award, individuals are affirming that they plan to use a total of three years of support from the Ford Predoctoral Fellowship.

By accepting or renewing this award, Fellows are confirming that they will pursue a Ph.D. or Sc.D. at an accredited nonprofit United States institution of higher learning offering Ph.D.s or Sc.D.s in a field eligible for support in this program.

New Fellows are required to be enrolled full-time in a Ph.D. or Sc.D. degree program no later than the fall of the year in which the award is received. Stipend payments are contingent upon providing documentation of admission and enrollment (see Tenure and Stipend section for additional details).

Renewing Fellows are required to be enrolled full-time in a Ph.D. or Sc.D. degree program no later than the fall of the year in which the award is renewed. Stipend payments are contingent upon providing an official transcript and a Renewal Verification Form, completed by the Fellow’s academic institution certifying that satisfactory academic progress is being made (see Tenure and Stipend section for additional details).

A delay in receipt by the Fellowships Office of these documents may result in a delay in the receipt of stipend payments.

If enrollment is temporarily suspended or terminated, or if the Fellow graduates prior to the end of their fellowship year, funds received after the date of suspension, termination, or graduation must be returned to the Fellowships Office.

Acceptance of the fellowship affirms that the information contained in the fellowship application and supporting documents is true and accurate to the best of the individual’s knowledge.

Fellows are expected to conform to all institutional and departmental policies and procedures, as well as any student code of conduct.

Major Changes

Major changes in the research or study plans or a change of fellowship institution require prior approval by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Fellowships Office. Failure to notify the Fellowships Office of an intended change may result in the forfeiture of the fellowship. Requests for approval regarding major changes must be sent in writing to

Tenure and Stipend

Tenure and stipend information is entered when a Fellow accepts or renews the Ford Foundation Fellowship award. The information entered may be changed up until the 15th day of the month prior to the start/renewal date (e.g., August 15 for a September 1 start). To change tenure and stipend information, contact

Tenure: A predoctoral award provides for a maximum of three academic years of support, which must be used within a five-year period. The annual tenure period for a predoctoral award can be 9 or 12 months beginning September 1 of the award year. Predoctoral Fellows enrolled in a doctoral degree program for the academic year, including the summer, have the option of selecting a 9- or 12-month stipend disbursement. Fellows enrolled in a doctoral degree program for Fall and Spring only must select a 9-month stipend disbursement.

New Fellows:

New Fellows must begin the first year of tenure on September 1st of the year in which the award is received, and they must remain on tenure for at least one full academic year (9 or 12 months). Fellows may defer fellowship support for one to two years after completing their first year of tenure, but in any case all three years must be used within a five year period of eligibility.

New predoctoral awardees must provide documentation of enrollment in a Ph.D. or Sc.D. program at the chosen fellowship institution.

  • Documentation of enrollment requires submission of a completed Enrollment Verification Form (EVF) or your institution's equivalent. The EVF must be submitted no later than August 15th in order to receive stipend payments. The EVF may be uploaded to the Ford Fellows web module or may be sent electronically to

In cases where it is not possible to submit the EVF by August 15, confirmation of admission must be provided by August 15th in order to receive the first stipend payment.

  • For new graduate students who have not been previously enrolled in graduate school, confirmation of admission requires submission of a letter from the graduate department affirming that the Ford Fellow is admitted in a Ph.D. or Sc.D. program.

  • For new Ford Fellows who were enrolled in graduate school during the prior academic year, confirmation of admission requires submission of a copy of university transcripts from the immediate prior semester.

Failure to provide an EVF or confirmation of admission by August 15 will result in withholding of the first (September) stipend payment. In both cases, documentation of enrollment must be submitted by September 15 in order to continue receiving stipend payments.

Renewing Fellows:

Renewal of predoctoral fellowship support for the second and third year is contingent on the Fellowship Office receiving a Renewal Verification Form (RVF), which provides certification from the Fellow's academic institution that satisfactory academic progress toward the Ph.D. or Sc.D. degree is being made, and that the Fellow has a designated faculty adviser by the end of the first fellowship year. Renewing Fellows may begin their second and third year of tenure on (1) June 1st for 12 months, if they are enrolled during the summer, or (2) September 1st for 9 or 12 months (12 months only if they plan to be enrolled during the following summer). Ford Fellowship tenure may not overlap from the previous year.

After the first year of tenure, a Fellow may choose to defer fellowship support for one to two academic years instead of renewing tenure but must complete all three years of tenure within five years.

For renewal of tenure, predoctoral Fellows must upload an RVF for their Ph.D. or Sc.D. program and an official transcript for their prior academic year. Fellows must also have completed their end-of-year report from the last year on tenure (see Reporting Requirements section for additional details).

  • The RVF is required for disbursement of stipend payments. The RVF should be uploaded to the Ford Fellows web module.

  • In addition to the RVF, renewing Fellows must submit an official transcript for their prior academic year. A transcript must be submitted whether the Fellow was on tenure or deferral during the prior year.

Stipend: An annual stipend of $27,000 is paid directly to the Fellow in monthly installments by the Fellowships Office. The stipend may be disbursed through the Fellow's institution in special cases when disbursement arrangements by the institution are in the best interest of the Fellow.

In cases where the institution disburses the fellowship funds, stipends must be distributed to the Fellow in full within the Fellow's stated tenure period. Institutions must return to the Fellowships Office any funds that remain after the tenure period has concluded.

There is no dependency allowance, institutional grant, or travel allowance provided as part of the predoctoral fellowship award.

Concurrent Fellowships

Fellows receiving support from multiple sources are urged to discuss and negotiate the terms of the funding with all funding agencies, including the Fellowships Office, and their university. A Ford Foundation Fellow may not accept a stipend from another major fellowship, internship, or similar internal and external awards while on Ford Foundation Fellowship tenure; however, limited stipend supplementation from other sources may be received concurrently with Ford Foundation support. Supplementation of the Ford stipend should be limited to funds that increase the overall stipend to the equivalent of a standard assistantship salary at the department or institution.


Educational programs are expected to include a reasonable amount of teaching or other activities, which, in the opinion of the fellowship institution, will contribute to the Fellow's academic progress. The scholarly development of a Ford Foundation Fellow should govern the assignment of these activities, rather than service to the fellowship institution. 

Participation in full-time paid or unpaid internships or other full-time paid activities, even if required for degree completion, must be undertaken during a deferral year. Ford Fellows are permitted to accept part-time/half-time teaching or research assistantships if 1) it is required by the program, 2) if it is necessary to secure stipend supplementation, benefits, or tuition waivers, or 3) if it is beneficial to the Fellow’s career development. However, the compensation associated with the assistantship position must be limited to supplementation of the Ford stipend up to a standard assistantship salary at the department or institution, rather than a separate, full-time stipend in addition to the Ford. If the position carries a full-time stipend, Fellows should plan to use a deferral year. 

Ford Fellows who elect a 9-month disbursement (from September 1 to the end of May) are permitted to accept teaching/research assistantships or other off-campus employment during the summer months. 

Leave of Absence

A Ford Fellow may need to request a "leave of absence" from the Fellowship for personal or family medical events that prevent the Fellow from pursuing their program of study. During an approved leave of absence, and at the request of the Fellow, the fellowship stipend may be continued for a period of up to six weeks from the beginning of the medical event. For any additional time required away from the fellowship, stipend payments will be suspended until the Fellow is able to resume their program of study. Fellows requesting a paid or unpaid leave of absence must contact Reinstatement or continuation of stipend payments after the leave period concludes is contingent upon the Fellow providing documentation of enrollment in their Ph.D. or Sc.D. program to the Fellowships Office.

Health Insurance

No health insurance is provided through the fellowship grant.


A Ford Foundation Fellowship award is considered income from a non-compensatory fellowship or scholarship. The Fellowships Office is not required to report payments on IRS Form W-2 or 1099-MISC and will not send Fellows an official tax form. Fellows should contact a tax professional or a local Internal Revenue Service office to determine their individual tax liability.

Reporting Requirements

Fellows are required to submit two progress reports during each year of the three years of fellowship tenure; a mid-year report at the conclusion of the fall semester, and an end-of-year or final report following the conclusion of each tenure year. Fellows are encouraged to contact the Fellowships Office before submitting a mid-year report if they encounter any difficulties at the fellowship institution or in receiving fellowship funds. Failure to submit an end-of-year report may delay or prevent renewal of tenure.

Fellows are required to maintain up-to-date contact information in the online Fellows module during and after the term of their fellowship to allow the Ford Foundation to track progress and facilitate professional interaction, enrichment, and participation among Fellows. In addition, Fellows may be asked to complete periodic surveys that assist the Ford Foundation in evaluating the effectiveness of this program.

Conference of Ford Fellows

The Conference of Ford Fellows brings together newly awarded predoctoral, dissertation, and postdoctoral Fellows, along with a group of past Fellows who plan and lead the Conference. The Conference provides opportunities for an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas and opportunities to identify mentors and peers from across the country. The Fellowships Office also invites representatives from a selection of university and commercial publishers as well as from other funding sources.

New Fellows will be invited to attend the Conference of Ford Fellows in the fall of their award year. Pending the availability of funds, support may be provided for a second annual Conference the following year. The Ford Foundation will cover domestic travel, hotel accommodations, and other travel expenses.

Regional Liaisons

Regional Liaisons, who are past Ford Fellows, volunteer to serve as sounding boards and senior mentors to Fellows. For contact information, visit the Regional Liaisons webpage. In particular, new Fellows are encouraged to avail themselves of this valuable resource.


Neither the Fellowships Office nor the Ford Foundation assumes any liability or responsibility whatsoever for the payment of any compensation with regard to a Fellow's possible involvement in any accident or incident causing injury to other persons or damage to property.

Neither the Fellowships Office nor the Ford Foundation assumes any responsibility to the Fellow or their dependents for any compensation for injury, disability, or death of the Fellow during the tenure of the fellowship or travel to and from the fellowship institution.

Program and Award Administration

The Fellowships Office administers the program and follows the progress of Fellows' work. Inquiries concerning all aspects of program and award administration should be directed to:

The Fellowships Office

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth Street, N.W., Keck 576
Washington, D.C. 20001
Tel: (202) 334 2860