Applying for competitive awards can help students accomplish a wide variety of goals.

Thank you for visiting Nationally Competitive Awards at UMKC! Our mission is to support undergraduate and graduate students as they identify and apply for competitive awards that match with their academic and professional interests. Applying for these awards can help students accomplish various tangible goals, such as securing funding for school or research, studying or working abroad, gaining professional experience, and getting connected with leaders and mentors within their field of study. 

In addition to the tangible benefits listed above, students who apply for competitive awards will have the opportunity to build new skills and reflect on themselves and their plans for the future, regardless of whether they win an award.

We seek to create a positive and developmental application experience for all students by helping them to find awards that are the best fit for them, connecting them to other campus resources, and advising and celebrating them throughout the entire process. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are fellowships? How do they differ from scholarships?

The words "fellowship" and "scholarship" are often used interchangeably to describe awards given by various types of institutions to fund educational costs, study abroad experiences, research, and more. Sometimes, the term "scholarship" is used for undergraduate opportunities and "fellowships" is used for graduate awards. 

At UMKC, the broader title of "Nationally Competitive Awards" is used to refer to all competitive fellowships and scholarships that are offered on the national level. If you are looking for scholarships and or/fellowship opportunities that are offered directly through UMKC, please contact the office of Financial Aid and Scholarships

Why should I bother applying for awards that are so competitive?

The benefits that students can receive from applying for nationally competitive awards go far beyond the possibility of winning the scholarship or fellowship. By learning the craft of preparing their application materials and receiving feedback from various mentors and advisors, students will have the opportunity to reflect on themselves and their goals for the future. Students will benefit from the personal, academic, and professional development they gain from this process, whether they are chosen as an awardee or not. 

When should I start the application process? 

The actual application timeline varies depending on the award you are planning to apply for. However, it is never too early (or too late!) to start looking into nationally competitive awards and thinking about how you can make yourself the best candidate possible. It's important to plan ahead, as most competitive awards require students to submit their application materials one full year in advance of when they will receive funding. 

How do I know if I'm eligible to apply for a nationally competitive award?

Every award has specific criteria that must be met in order for an individual to qualify to apply. Typical eligibility requirements include age, GPA, nationality, residency, years of schooling, etc. Often, there are criteria unique to the scholarship or fellowship (a strong record of public service, for example). The first step when considering a nationally competitive award is to review the eligibility requirements carefully.

Why do some awards have a campus deadline and a national deadline?

Some national awards require UMKC to endorse and/or nominate candidates that are applying from our institution. For these awards, it is essential that we set a campus deadline that is well ahead of the national deadline, so that we will have plenty of time to review candidates, give feedback, and decide who to endorse and/or nominate. In many cases, it is not possible to apply at the national level if you have missed the campus deadline. 

Do I have to be a U.S. Citizen to apply for a nationally competitive award?

Many awards do require students to be either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, but not all of them. Feel free to reach out if you are a non-U.S. citizen and have questions about what awards you are eligible to apply for.