Award Letter Best Practices

Writing a student financial support offer letter clearly communicates to students how much, when and what type of support programs intend to provide to them. It also informs the student of the minimum qualifications needed in order to receive support, such as full-time enrollment and good academic standing. 

Multi-Year Offers of Support 

Graduate Studies encourages graduate programs to package multi-year offers to recruit and retain the brightest and best graduate students. Below are sample multi-year "soft" offer letters for programs to use to recruit prospective graduate students. These letters include sample language for employment positions. They also include sample language should your prospective student be an international student or a non-California resident. Please be sure to delete any language that does not pertain to the prospective student. If in doubt about the language of your letters, reach out to the Student Financial Support team at gspayments@ucdavis.edu.

Before sending an offer, please review all sections of the template, enter the information highlighted in yellow, and place the letter on your departmental letterhead. 

  • Multi-Year Offer - Version 1 (Full First Year Student Financial Support Fellowship)

  • This letter should be used to offer prospective students a student financial support fellowship for the full academic year (9 months) followed by a combination of employment and student financial support fellowship at the discretion of the major professor beginning in the Summer after their first year.

    Download Version 1

  • Multi-Year Offer - Version 2 (Partial First Year Student Financial Support Fellowship)

  • This letter should be used to offer prospective students a student financial support fellowship for part of the first year (one or two quarters) followed by a combination of employment and student financial support fellowship at the discretion of the major professor.

    Download Version 2

  • Multi-Year Offer - Version 3 (Student Financial Support Fellowship and Employment All Years)

  • This letter should be used to offer prospective students a combination of student financial support fellowships and employment provided by the graduate program or graduate group in all quarters.

    Download Version 3

  • Multi-Year Offer - Version 4 (Student Financial Support Fellowship and Employment - Total Dollar Amount)
  • This letter provides a minimum total dollar amount for each year of student support as well as an overall amount for the total support provided. Should you choose to use this template, please note that you are responsible for any increases in the total funding amount and the below represents a minimum for each year of funding.  Student financial support fellowships should not be reduced in response to wage increases.

    Download Version 4

Single Year Offer of Student Financial Support 

Here are examples of single-year student financial support fellowship offer letters that include standard language you could use when awarding your Graduate Program Fellowships Allocation funds or other non-BR union fellowships offered with no expectation of employment or service to the university. This letter includes sample language should your student be an international student or a non-California resident.

Download Single Year Offer of Student Financial Support

The above offer letter may be amended for one quarter of support, if needed. If your student has a fellowship or traineeship as defined under the BR union contract, please refer to the contract for the appropriate letter template.

Additional Best Practices

Award letters should specify:

  • Full name of the student
  • Date 
  • Student ID number
  • Name of specific fellowship offered (e.g. the Earl C. Anthony or Edward Wickson Fellowship)
  • Type of fellowship: Student Financial Support Stipend (or "living allowance"), Tuition & Fees, and/or Nonresident Supplemental Tuition
  • Amount of student financial support fellowship
  • Method of payment (e.g., paid in monthly installments through Student Accounting)
  • Effective period of the award (e.g. October 1, 202X, to June 30, 202X)
  • Your program contact information for questions (Award letters should not refer the student to Graduate Studies.)

Updating Offers
If the terms of the agreement (i.e. student financial support fellowship amount) changes after the letter is delivered to the student, a revised letter must be given to them. In the revised letter, note that the letter is "REVISED" and include the updated date of the letter.

Attachments

The Regulations for Graduate Students Receiving Fellowships (GS501) document is written for graduate students who have received an internal fellowship. It provides them with the general regulations, California residency regulations for tuition purposes, fellowship employment regulations, the process for an exception to policy, and tax information. We recommend you include this document with every fellowship offer for continuing and prospective students.

The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) resolution is supported by UC Davis.  The resolution states that prospective graduate students are under no obligation to respond to offers of financial support prior to April 15th; earlier deadlines for acceptance of such offers violate the intent of this resolution.