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Graduate Awarding Overview

This page outlines the steps and items to be taken into consideration in allocating funding to graduate students.

Identify all funding sources:

To optimize funding available to students, the recommended first step is to assess all funding sources available to your unit. These may include:

  1. Endowment income exclusively in support of student awards. In general, funds with fund type 2A to 2E are used for financial aid and awards.
  2. Direct donations exclusively in support of student awards.
  3. External Agency Fellowships & Studentships (awarded by the agency directly to the student)
    • How many students currently receive these awards?
    • How many incoming students might be expected to bring these awards with them?
  4. Principal Investigator’s Research Grants and Contracts
    • How much funding will be dedicated from these sources?
  5. Centrally-administered institutional awards
  6. Other faculty or departmental sources

Forecast expected available funding:

Ideally, the forecasting exercise would be completed by January 15th for the following academic year. This will allow units to know their funding capacity for taking on new students in September.

  1. Endowment income: Once Treasury confirms the McGill Investment Pool (MIP) rate for the next fiscal year, a report should be run to determine the income that will be available.
  2. Direct donations: The budget for these funds should always be confirmed with the Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) Stewardship Team in order to validate that pledges are expected to come in as promised.
  3. Principal Investigator’s Research Grants and Contracts: The budget for these funds should be confirmed with the person providing the funding.

Once the budget for all funds has been identified, review the award terms to determine how many awards can be bestowed.
E.g. The expected income from Award A finance fund 213456 (A spendable income fund linked to an endowment) is $5,641. The terms of Award A indicate that the award has a value of $5,000. Therefore, one award of $5,000 may be awarded. The remaining $641 should be recapitalized.
E.g. The expected income from Award B finance fund 214321 (A spendable income fund linked to an endowment) is $18,942. The terms of Award B indicate that the award has a value of varies. Therefore, the entire budget is available to be awarded in variable amounts and over multiple awards.
E.g. The expected income from Award C finance fund 242326 (A spendable income fund linked to an endowment) is $14,500. The terms of Award C indicate that the award has a value of varies and no more than 2 awards are to be given. Therefore, the entire budget is available to be awarded and no more than two awards are to be given. In these situations, the expectation of the donor is that the two awards will be of relatively equal value.

Once the review has been completed, identify the revised budget amounts for all funds. Provide the revised budget amounts to the Fellowships Officer in GPS so that the budgets may be entered in the Banner Student Aid Module (BSA). This step is necessary in order to allow the units to nominate awardees. If the budget has not been entered in BSA, units will be prevented from nominating students for an award.

Identify funding commitments:

  1. Have you made multi–year funding package offers to students who are returning?
  2. Have you made offers of renewable fellowships to students who are returning? Are they eligible for the renewal?
    • Students are always eligible for the renewal unless they:
      • no longer meet the eligibility requirements of the terms of the award;
      • are no longer students in good standing with the university;
      • are in receipt of external funding in an amount that renders them ineligible for the renewal.
  3. What are your expected commitments to newly admitted students?
    • Do you have a minimum funding requirement for newly admitted students?
    • How many newly admitted students do you expect?
  4. What are your expected commitments to returning students whose situation has changed (i.e. they had Tri-council (NSERC / SSHRC / CIHR) or Provincial (FRSQ / FQRNT/SC) funding in their first three years and now in their fourth year, they need another source of funding).

Honor your funding commitments from previous years:

Ensure that you have set aside the funding for any multi-year funding package offers and any renewable fellowships.

Determine new offers:

  1. New offers may be made to both new and returning students. They should be in line with the strategic objectives of the recruiting unit. For optimal recruitment benefit, the funding offers should be made simultaneously with the offers of admission.
  2. When making an offer of funding at the time of the offer of admission, it is not necessary to be specific with regard to the make-up of the funding.At this point it is usually sufficient to make an offer of a dollar amount.
  3. When making offers to newly admitted students, consider that not all students will accept the offer of admission and of those that accept the offer of admission, not all will register. It will be important to have a plan for how to redistribute the funds originally allocated to a student who, ultimately, does not register.
  4. Once the student accepts the offer of admission and the offer of funding, it is then a good time to determine the specifics of the funding.
    • For example, Student A has been promised $20k if she comes to McGill and $10K if she comes to McGill with external funding of at least $20k. She accepts McGill’s offer and is awarded $10k of funds – $2k from a professor’s grant, $5k from endowed funds and $3k from centrally administered funds.

Process nominations for funding:

Payments for award funding: funding that is not considered “Pay-for-Work” are processed by submitting a nomination through BSA. This is done by using the Award Processing Form (APF) in Minerva.

Track funding allocations:

It is important that funding allocations are tracked within the department to ensure that:

  • All funds are spent.
  • Students receive appropriate funds.
  • Monies are recuperated for leaves.
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