L&S Handbook on AOFs

The following document serves as a handbook to L&S Departments on Advanced Opportunity Fellowships (AOFs).

Graduate Research Scholars (GRS) Fellowships and Communities

Graduate Research Scholar (GRS) communities are organized by the various schools and colleges within UW–Madison to support underrepresented students. These GRS Fellowships, with funding from the State of Wisconsin Advanced Opportunity Program and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, bring students together in GRS communities throughout their graduate school career for a range of social, academic, professional development, and research-related activities. Strong faculty and peer support augment the funding provided by the fellowship. GRS communities also offer a wealth of assistance to underrepresented graduate students through individual advising and referrals to campus resources.

College of L&S administers the Advanced Opportunity Fellowship (AOF) for the L&S graduate programs.

AOF Eligibility Criteria

The UW System sets the eligibility criteria for the Advanced Opportunity Program and provides funding to the UW–Madison Graduate School to distribute to UW–Madison Schools and Colleges via the Graduate Research Scholar (GRS) Communities.

GRS Fellowships are competitive and merit-based. At a minimum, to be considered for GRS funding, students must be United States citizens or permanent residents and be admissible to a graduate program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (Students on probation cannot receive GRS funding.) Beyond merit, preference is given to Wisconsin residents. Applicants should meet one or more of the following criteria:

  1. McNair students: students who participated in a Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program; OR
  2. Students from the following racial/ethnic groups:
    1. African American or Black
    2. American Indian or Alaskan Native
    3. Hispanic/Latino
    4. Cambodian, Vietnamese, Laotian, or Hmong
    5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; OR
  3. Economically disadvantaged students:
    1. first-generation college students who participated in one of the following TRIO programs:
      1. Upward Bound
      2. Talent Search
      3. Educational Opportunities Centers
      4. Student Support Services
    2. first-generation college students who graduated from the PEOPLE Program; or 
    3. UW–Madison bachelor's degree recipients who were in the FASTrack or BANNER programs.

GRS-eligible applicants to graduate programs are identified in GWIS with a green AOF flag. Applicants whose GWIS record does not contain the flag are eligible to be nominated for the fellowship if the academic program believes the student would find the GRS cohort-based experience valuable.

L&S AOF Support Guarantee Details

L&S Guarantee of Support

L&S C-GRS will guarantee at least one year of incoming support for one qualified new graduate student per L&S department.

Department Guarantee of Support

Department support must guarantee funding for at least:

L&S AOF Nomination Process

In early Spring, L&S departments will receive communications with further details and deadlines. The general outline of the processes is listed below both for new graduate students and continuing AOF students.

Nominating New Graduate Students for AOF

The nomination form and technical instructions are available on the Gateway: https://kb.wisc.edu/ls/108194

Updating Information for Continuing AOF Students

In early spring Departments will receive a spreadsheet with information about their department’s AOF students. These updates must be submitted before L&S can review your new nominations.

Please note: Continuing students are eligible to receive their second year of AOF funding in an academic year if they will either

Appointment Letters

All AOFs (incoming and continuing) will receive appointment letters. These letters will be drafted by L&S Administration and sent to departments in early May for distribution.

Department AOF Checklist

New Incoming Students

Continuing Students

Incoming and Continuing Students

Additional Departmental Responsibilities

L&S has a vested interest in the progress of those scholars receiving the Advanced Opportunity Fellowship. In an effort to better track our fellows’ progress through their respective departments we ask that departments apprise L&S in the event that their fellows begin experiencing difficulties that hinder their academic progress. If a department becomes aware of such difficulties or of a fellow’s intention to leave their department (or the University of Wisconsin system in general), that department should immediately make this known to Shirin Malekpour (malekpour@wisc.edu).

Contacts for L&S

See Also: