Financial Supplementation of External Fellowships

Cornell University Graduate School strongly encourages students to apply for external fellowships and grants. These may be offered by government agencies, private foundations, or corporations, and may provide one year or multiple years of support.

To encourage doctoral students, in particular, to compete for external awards, the Graduate School may be able to provide top-off supplementation to bring an award to the minimum academic year stipend. If the following criteria are met, the Graduate School will coordinate supplementation of the stipend to the academic year TA rate, individual health insurance, and tuition.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Students must be research degree students in good academic standing.
  • The award is external to Cornell; has been won by the student’s own initiative; and is open to multiple disciplines or fields.
  • The award provides an amount equal to at least half of the cost of academic year TA stipend and health insurance. (It is estimated that the award eligibility amount for academic year 2024-2025 will be around $19,000).
  • Fellowship top-off is not available to master’s students after the eighth registered semester or Ph.D. students after the 14th registered semester.
  • Students must apply for top-off in the same year that the fellowship is won. A top-off cannot be applied retroactively.
  • The award must directly support the student’s dissertation and thesis research. Awards that require a student to perform a service, engage in teaching, or conduct research not related to the student’s dissertation or thesis research, do not qualify for supplementation.

Additional information:

  • Awards that cover a 12-month period will be prorated to a nine-month standard.
  • Awards that come in a “lump sum” will be apportioned to cover a percentage each of stipend, tuition, and health insurance.
  • Awards that are funded in a foreign currency will be calculated using the published currency exchange rate on June 1 of that year.
  • Supplementation is calculated by considering all awards granted for the academic year or 12-month period.  If additional awards are granted after the initial calculation, supplementation amounts are recalculated.
  • Certain exceptional external awards provide full coverage of all necessary living expenses and surpass the required stipend amount. Awards exceeding the base stipend amount may be allocated across additional semesters or utilized to offset essential billed costs, such as health insurance or tuition. These types of awards may not qualify for supplementation.
  • By accepting and receiving fellowship supplementation, fellows are consenting to the review and approval of their budgets by the Office of Graduate Fellowships and Funding.
  • Although the current award amount provided by the SSHRC and NSERC Doctoral Fellowships fall below the required eligibility guidelines for supplemental funding, the graduate school will offer one semester of supplemental funding to research students who meet the eligibility guidelines. Supplemental funding for the SSHRC and NSERC Fellowships will be provided in the Spring semesters with the expectation that disbursements received from the fellowship during the Fall semesters will used for Spring semester funding. Recipients of the SSHRC and NSERC awards should plan for an assistantship in the Fall semester and are encouraged to communicate this to their fields.

Please reach out to your GFA to apply for supplemental funding. For questions regarding this program, please contact the Office of Graduate Fellowships and Funding