Last updated: September 26, 2018


To clarify the definition of a graduate student fellowship, in order to be consistent in our application of these types of graduate awards. To ensure that endowment distributions designated specifically to support graduate student fellowships are appropriately and consistently used in accordance with the intention of the original donor.


Merriam-Webster defines “fellowship” as “the position or the stipend of a fellow,” and fellow as “a person appointed to a position granting a stipend and allowing for advanced study or research.” “Fellowship” can also refer to the source of funds for providing such support. For the purposes of graduate student fellowships, we further expand this definition as follows:

  1. Departments and programs utilizing Duke University endowments designated as graduate student fellowships will be expected to name a graduate student ‘fellow’ or fellows, and to provide stipend, tuition and fees from the endowments’ recipient expendable funds unless the endowment specifies other specific uses of the funds. Endowed fellowship funds are not to be used for discretionary or general support of graduate education, or to pay expenses for individual students, other than through the mechanisms indicated herein or in the endowment agreement.
  2. Fellowships will be charged a minimum of current tuition remission and 100 percent of graduate school supported fees, for students on full-fellowships. The Graduate School will provide a scholarship for the remainder of the tuition not covered by the fellowship.
  3. Partial fellowships can be awarded, unless specifically disallowed by the endowment agreement. If partial fellowships are awarded, the fellowship will be required to pay a prorated portion of the fellow’s tuition remission and fees. The prorated portion will be determined by the fellowship’s prorated share of the student’s stipend.
  4. External fellowships are expected to cover the maximum tuition, fees and health insurance (e.g. cost of education) allowed by the funding foundation or agency.


  1. Duke University graduate student fellowship stipends will be distributed via the non-compensatory payroll system using GL Account Code 634300. The frequency of distributions will be dependent on the actual fellowship award. Graduate students may use these funds, at their discretion, for ordinary living expenses, research and/or travel, supplies, publications, conference attendance or presentations, and/or any other expense that they deem necessary or beneficial to support their dissertation project or graduate education in general.
  2. Tuition and fee scholarships, and health insurance premium payments when applicable, will be posted directly to the student accounts using GL Account Code 634000.

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