Graduate Student Support Competition (GSSC) Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions related to the Graduate Student Support Competition.


The Graduate School Support Competition (GSSC) is an annual exercise conducted by the Graduate School and graduate programs. The Graduate School uses this exercise to allocate WARF and Chancellor’s funds to graduate programs to enhance recruitment, retention, and student services.

Each Fall semester, graduate programs complete the GSSC application on SurveyMonkey Apply to request GSSC funding for the upcoming fiscal year. GSSC applications are reviewed by a committee that makes a final determination on GSSC allocations. After a decision is made, the Graduate School will email an official allocation letter to the program.

All allocated funds are expected to be used within the fiscal year. Remaining funds will be recovered by the Graduate School for future reallocation. Allocated funds may only be spent on PhD, DMA, or MFA-bound students.

Types of funding and how they can be used

Fellowships: Programs may request either funding for fellowships or a dollar allotment for student support. Fellowship funds may only be used to pay for fellowships. Fellowship allotments pay for a stipend, fringe benefits, in-state tuition, and segregated fees. They do not cover other fees (e.g. international student fees and office document fees). Programs are responsible for administering any fellowships allotted by the GSSC other than the second year of a 2-year fellowship. Dissertator fellowships should not be payrolled until after the student attains dissertator status. Note that dissertators who will be eligible to use the second year of their 2-year fellowship in 2022-23 are not included in this allocation. The Graduate School’s Office of Fellowship and Funding Resources will be in communication with you regarding any students who elect to use the second year of their two year fellowship.

Student Support Funds: Student support funds may be used for prospective student recruitment, lab rotation stipends, student travel for research or conferences, fellowships at Graduate School fellowship rate, welcome checks, application fees, and/or enhancement of RA stipends (WARF funds for student support cannot be used to enhance TA or PA stipends),

GSSA Funds: GSSA funds are supplemental funds and can be used for: prospective student recruitment, student travel for research or conferences, welcome checks, application fees, and/or enhancement of RA stipends (WARF funds for student support cannot be used to enhance TA or PA stipends). Please contact the Fellowships Officer at if you are uncertain whether a certain expense can be charged to GSSA funds.

AOF Recruitment Funds AOF recruitment funds may only be used on recruitment activities for prospective students eligible for the Advanced Opportunity Fellowship, such as recruitment visits, food, marketing materials, facility rental, and application fees. The program can spend these funds on any AOF-eligible prospective student even if that individual is not being considered for an AOF fellowship. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can we use the funds to pay for the visit of a prospective student's guest(s)?

A: No. Funds should be spent directly on recruitment activities for prospective students, not on any guests.

Q: Are programs that only offer master’s degrees eligible to receive GSSC funding?

A: Terminal master’s programs can receive GSSA and AOF recruitment funds but not fellowships or a student support dollar allotment. We make an exception for master’s programs that have a formal bridge established to a PhD program. Students entering the bridge program are considered to be PhD-bound and master’s programs can apply for GSSC funds to support them.

Q: Are GRS (AOF) Fellowships distributed through the GSSC?

A: No, GRS fellowships are distributed through GRS communities.

Q: What is the difference between a Keeper Fellowship and an Offer Fellowship?

A: Keeper fellowships can be offered to another candidate if the first candidate to receive the fellowship offer does not accept. Offer fellowships are one-time offers to use in recruitment but cannot be offered to another candidate if the student doesn’t accept. The Graduate School uses the program’s average three-year acceptance rate to determine how many one-time offers a program can receive when converting a keeper fellowship to offer fellowships.

Q: Fellowship stipend rate

A: All fellowships in the fellowship budget worksheet are calculated at the Graduate School’s supported fellowship rate. Graduate School-supported fellowships cannot be provided at a lower stipend rate but programs may choose to supplement fellowships with their own funds to raise the stipend rate.

Q: What is a two-year fellowship?

A: Two-year fellowships are a tool programs can use in recruitment. They provide one academic year of fellowship before the student attains dissertator status (usually their first year in the program) and one academic year of fellowship after they attain dissertator status.

Q: Can my program convert our fellowship allocations, e.g. from 1 academic year to 2 semester fellowships?

A: Any request to convert fellowships must be approved by the Graduate School. To request a fellowship conversion, please fill out this form: 

For any other questions you may have about the GSSC, please contact the Graduate School's Fellowship Officer at

Keywords:GSSC, Graduate Student Funding, Funding Competition, Fellowships, allocations, funding   Doc ID:87254
Owner:Abbey T.Group:Graduate School
Created:2018-10-26 12:49 CDTUpdated:2023-01-05 14:17 CDT
Sites:Graduate School
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