Federally Funded Graduate and Postdoc Fellowships and Traineeships
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CGS Statement on the April 15 Resolution and Coronavirus
Several CGS members have asked whether the April 15 Resolution will be changed to account for the impact of the coronavirus disruption on educational testing and student mobility issues. CGS’s position is that the April 15 deadline should continue to remain in effect for 2021. Because signatory institutions and programs may be affected differently by COVID-19, and may adjust their admissions and funding decision timelines accordingly, we believe that it is not feasible for the community to agree to a different deadline this year.
CGS’s position is that the April 15 deadline should continue to remain in effect for 2021.
We provide a few additional points of clarification based on questions we have received:
- If an offer of financial support is made prior to April 15, applicants have until April 15 to accept it and the program should honor that commitment through April 15. Extension of this deadline beyond April 15 is up to the individual program or institution.
- Programs and/or institutions are free to make offers of admission and of financial support after April 15 if they choose to do so. They may set any deadline for acceptance of the offer, as long as the deadline is after April 15.
- Programs and/or institutions may choose to offer conditional admission and offers of financial support to students with incomplete applications (e.g. lacking test scores) or to wait until all requirements can be satisfied.
Resolution Regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees, and Assistants
Acceptance of an offer of financial support* (such as a graduate scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or assistantship) for the next academic year by a prospective or enrolled graduate student completes an agreement that both student and graduate school expect to honor. In that context, the conditions affecting such offers and their acceptance must be defined carefully and understood by all parties.
Students are under no obligation to respond to offers of financial support prior to April 15; earlier deadlines for acceptance of such offers violate the intent of this Resolution. In those instances in which a student accepts an offer before April 15 and subsequently desires to withdraw that acceptance, the student may submit in writing a resignation of the appointment at any time through April 15. There has been a change in our process for students who want to withdraw from an offer of acceptance of financial support, starting with Fall 2020 admissions. In this case, the applicant must first inform the program that they are withdrawing or resigning from the offer of financial support that they previously had accepted. Starting in Fall 2020, applicants are no longer required to obtain a formal release from the program whose offer they accepted, either before or after the April 15 deadline. Once they have informed the program that they are withdrawing their acceptance of the offer, they then can accept any other offers. It is further agreed by the institutions and organizations subscribing to the above Resolution that a copy of this Resolution or a link to the URL should accompany every scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, and assistantship offer.
CGS has prepared a shareable PDF of the Resolution, which includes a list of CGS member institutions that have expressed support for the agreement. We have also prepared a sample letter and an FAQ document you could send to your school deans, graduate program directors, and administrators.
Many institutions have worked with their graduate councils to garner broad institutional support for the resolution.
This Resolution was renewed October 2019.