Graduate departments secure $2 million in funding
By Zack Doherty, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Monday, September 24, 2012
Four College graduate programs — biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics and astronomy — have secured over $2 million in the form of Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need grants from the U.S. Department of Education. The GAANN Program, which assists top graduate students that demonstrate a need for financial aid, will fund 17 three-year graduate fellowships in the 2012 fiscal year.
In addition to the chemistry department’s six fellowships, the mathematics, biology and physics and astronomy graduate programs received four, four and three fellowships, respectively.
All College graduate programs are eligible for grants, according to Dean of Graduate Studies Jon Kull ’88. Professors from respective departments submitted an application for a specific number of grants by the Jan. 20 deadline. Department of Education officials reviewed the applications and sent out decision notifications on Sept. 4, Kull said.
These grants may either be given to students already pursuing graduate programs or to recruit new students for these programs, according to Kull.
“Ideally, money can be used to help recruit strong graduate students, to increase enrollment and acquire a more diverse student body,” he said.
Graduate departments from the same institution are evaluated on an individual basis, Kull said. The Education Department judged programs based on their teaching, project quality and program purpose, among others qualifications.
All four of the College departments that applied received grants, speaking to the strength of Dartmouth’s graduate studies programs, according to biology professor Matthew Ayres.
“It is an extraordinary success for so many programs from Dartmouth to be awarded,” Ayres said. “These awards are very prestigious, and there is a lot of competition, so it is really an accurate reflection of the quality of not only the individual graduate programs, but also of Dartmouth in general.”
Graduate departments can provide up to $30,000 of tuition assistance to qualified students. Graduate students must demonstrate financial need and meet GAANN fellowship qualifications, which include a strong academic record, according to Kull.
Dartmouth’s chemistry graduate program received six grants this year, according chemistry professor John Winn.
“The way the program works is that we have already chosen six fellows to receive the fellowships,” Winn said.
The chemistry department did not award any grants to first-year graduate students.
“We make it known that this opportunity is available at Dartmouth because it does pay more than the regular stipend,” Winn said. “Our policy is that if you demonstrate need and also are among the best in the program, there are opportunities for reward.”
Biological sciences department chair professor Thomas Jack, mathematics professor Marcia Groszek and physics and astronomy professor Mary Hudson secured graduate fellowships for their respective departments. Jack, Groszek and Hudson, along with Ayres, Kull and Winn, drafted the proposals to the Education Department.
The four graduate departments are in different stages of determining how to distribute their fellowship money. All potential recipients must be approved by Dartmouth’s financial aid office before they receive a GAANN stipend.
Last year, the GAANN program gave a total of $30,968,000 in awards, according to its website.
No students who received fellowships for the 2011-2012 academic year responded by press time.