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Kansas University has a new tool to help attract high-caliber graduate students.
KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little announced that her office had created new doctoral fellowships to give Ph.D. students research experience and extra financial support.
Called the "Chancellor's Doctoral Fellowships," they will provide $25,000 a year and cover tuition and fees as well. The money comes through private funds in a KU Endowment account that the chancellor can spend at her discretion, as well as revenue raised through KU's commercial activities, including patent licensing.
The chancellor's office will distribute fellowship money to KU's various schools based on the proportion of Ph.D. students the schools house, the university said. Deans at individual KU schools will have discretion on how to distribute the fellowships among departments. A dozen will be awarded next year, about half of them going to the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the university said.
KU's Office of Graduate Studies will administer the program. Thomas Heilke, dean of the KU Graduate Studies, said the fellowships will help the university "attract the highest-ability, highest-quality graduate students."
For one, they offer more money than the average doctoral assistance, which Heilke said is about $16,000 a year overall, less than the national average. Additionally, the fellowships will reduce work responsibilities for a doctoral student in their first and last years. That frees them up to work closely with faculty members on research.
A named fellowship also adds bells and whistles to a curriculum vitae, something that will likely make them attractive to prospective Ph.D. students, Heilke said.
Attracting more doctoral students to KU is a priority outlined in the university's long-term strategic plan, "Bold Aspirations." Heilke said that recruiting high-achieving graduate students can help attract faculty as well, given that faculty and graduate students often work closely together in research activities.
"If we want to be a research university, this is a key aspect of that mission," he said.