Jefferson Scholars Foundation Builds on Success with Enhancements to Graduate Fellowship Program

Sept. 12, 2006 -- At its August board of directors meeting, the Jefferson Scholars Foundation made major enhancements to its graduate fellowship program.

Beginning with the 2007 competition, winners of the Jefferson Fellowship will receive a $30,000 annual stipend for up to five years. Prior stipend levels were $18,000 annually in the humanities and $25,000 in the sciences. Additionally, Jefferson Fellows will be able to apply for up to $7,500 in additional research funds from the Jefferson Scholars Foundation during their course of study. Previous research funding was capped at $3,000.

Funding restraints had limited the competition to certain departments. With additional endowment raised, the competition will now be open to every terminal degree-granting department in the Graduate School.

"I am delighted to see that the Jefferson Scholars Foundation has enhanced its long-standing support for graduate study at the University of Virginia,” said Brian Balogh, member of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation Graduate Advisory Committee, Mayo Distinguished Teaching Professor, and Co-Director of the American Political Development Program of the Miller Center of Public Affairs. “This will allow U.Va. to compete for the top graduate students in the world, across a broad range of disciplines."

Long known for its Jefferson Scholarship competition for undergraduates, the Jefferson Scholars Foundation created the Jefferson Fellowship in 2000 in partnership with the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. The goal of the program is to serve the University of Virginia by building the nation’s leading graduate fellowship program, one that will attract the most outstanding terminal degree candidates to U.Va.

The initial class of three Jefferson Fellows entered in 2001; this year there are a total of 30 Jefferson Fellows in residence, including the first two Darden Jefferson Fellows and two Jefferson Law Fellows.

The Jefferson Fellowship, awarded solely on the basis of merit, is consistent with Thomas Jefferson’s belief in a natural aristocracy of scholars and leaders who would share their talents with the wider world for the common good. Selection criteria are an exceptional academic record and a passion for sharing one’s knowledge with a broad audience.

“With these enhancements, arguably we have lifted the Jefferson Fellowship to the top of graduate fellowship opportunities available anywhere,” said Doug Trout, director of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation graduate program. “We want the best people, and with the combination of stipend, research funding, outstanding faculty, and the allure of Charlottesville we are confident in the direction we are headed.”

Potential candidates for the Jefferson Fellowship should apply to their department of interest by the Graduate School’s deadline of December 3. Each department will nominate to the Jefferson Scholars Foundation one or two applicants deemed to best meet the selection criteria. After review, a total of 35-40 finalists will be invited to Charlottesville to compete for ten Jefferson Fellowships.

Competition finalists will be notified in January 2007. The Jefferson Fellows Selection Weekend is Feb. 22-24, 2007.

Additional information is available at