The GRFP is a prestigious, nationally competitive fellowship offered by the National Science Foundation. It provides three years of financial support for beginning graduate study leading to a research-based master's or doctoral degree in the STEM disciplines.
The fellowship includes a $34,000-per-year stipend for three years. Additionally, each Fellow receives a tuition waiver via a cost-of-education allowance that is awarded to the graduate institution. After one year of graduate study, Fellows become eligible to apply for international research funding support through Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) and Graduate Research Internship Program (GRIP). Access to supercomputing resources, supplemental funding for researchers with disabilities, and a provision for family medical leave are also offered.
*Always refer to the current NSF-GRFP Solicitation for official eligibility information.
Exception: "Applicants who have completed more than twelve months of graduate study or have earned a previous graduate or professional degree are eligible only if they have had an interruption in graduate study of at least two consecutive years prior to November 1, 2015. To be eligible, applicants must have completed no additional graduate study by August 1, 2015. Applicants must address the reasons for the interruption in graduate study." Source: GRFP solicitation..
Note: The solicitation clearly explains that " All graduate, post-baccalaureate and professional study is counted towards the allowed 12 months of graduate study, including all full-time and part-time master’s and doctoral degree programs, and non-degree graduate-level and professional coursework. The one exception is for graduate coursework required to establish or maintain credentials in a profession such as teaching; such coursework is not included in the 12-month limit. Source: GRFP solicitation..
The GRFP competition opens in August with deadlines in late October. Awards are announced the following spring. Fellows must commence graduate study in the summer or fall after accepting the award. About 2,000 fellowships will be offered pending availability of funds.
Whereas the National Science Foundation awards grants to investigators to fund their research, the Graduate Research Fellowship Program funds students who are training to become well-rounded researchers. It's a fine distinction, but an important one.
If it wasn't for the NSF GRFP, I would not be able to work with either of my current advisors (one at Georgia Tech and the other at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory) because at the time, they did not have the funding to take on another student.
'11 Fellow, Engineering