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RAISE Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

New FAQs will be added, so please check back for updates. Your questions, whether you are a student or staff or faculty member, will help us refine our communication. Please submit questions to vpgeapplications@stanford.eduso the appropriate VPGE staff member can respond and we can update this page. (updated 03.11.22)

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Eligibility & Application

What is the RAISE Doctoral Fellowship Program?

RAISE is a new university-wide fellowship to support doctoral students who are motivated to make positive contributions to their community and the world through research and scholarship. RAISE is analogous in many ways to the Haas Center for Public Service’s Cardinal Quarter for undergraduates and Stanford Impact Labs’ Scholars in Service program for faculty. Both those units are key partners in the development of RAISE. Read more about the launch of RAISE in this Stanford News article

Who is leading the RAISE Doctoral Fellowship program?

RAISE is a pilot fellowship program led by the Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education (VPGE), in partnership with the Haas Center for Public Service and Stanford Impact Labs. A dedicated Director to the RAISE Doctoral Fellowship will lead the program, working in collaboration with others on the VPGE team.

How can I get more information about RAISE?

Please email if you have questions about RAISE.

What is the timeline for the application and selection process?

The application cycle for the 2022-23 RAISE Fellows is open from mid-January until Wednesday, March 23, 2022. All application materials must be received by 11:59 PM on March 23. Applicants will be notified by the end of May, 2022. The first cohort of RAISE Fellows will begin in September 2022.

Who is eligible to apply for RAISE?

Stanford doctoral students in any discipline who are in their 1st or 2nd year of their studies are eligible to apply for RAISE. Students must be in good academic standing, and receive an endorsement from their faculty advisor (see Application Information).

Are master’s, JD, MD, or MBA students eligible to apply?

No, the RAISE Doctoral Fellowship is only available to doctoral students (PhD, JSD, and DMA). Please see other Fellowships & Funding opportunities on the VPGE website and check with the faculty and staff in your degree program.

Are international students eligible to apply?

Yes, international students are eligible to apply. VPGE will work with students and the Bechtel International Center to address any individual issues that might arise regarding immigration regulations.

Am I eligible to apply if I am in my first or second year of the PhD, but completed a master’s degree in my program before being admitted to the PhD?  

Since you were not eligible to apply for RAISE when you were a masters student, you are eligible to apply as a 1st or 2nd year PhD student. By analogy, if you had done a masters elsewhere, and then started a PhD at Stanford, you would also be eligible to apply for RAISE in your first and second year of your PhD.  

I am a third year student and my PhD program typically takes six years. Would I still be able to apply since I will have three years left in my program?  

The RAISE Doctoral Fellowship is open to doctoral students who are currently in their 1st and 2nd year, and is not dependent on the time students anticipate they have left to complete their degree. Having clear eligibility guidelines helps us ensure fairness across many programs.

We’ve identified other opportunities that might be of interest to students who are not eligible to apply for RAISE, pasted below, and you might be interested in other VPGE fellowships that are open to students in their 3rd year and beyond, such as DARE and SIGF, found on our website.

What is required for the RAISE application?

Please see Application Information for the requirements and follow the link on the RAISE home page to VPGE’s application system to begin your application. 

Since I am a first year doctoral student, I don’t have or don’t know my faculty advisor very well yet. Does my letter of recommendation need to come from my faculty advisor? 

No, your letter of recommendation can come from your faculty advisor, another Stanford faculty member or Stanford staff, undergraduate mentor or professor, or professional mentor/manager. The individual you ask to submit a letter of recommendation will be asked to comment on the criteria that the RAISE Fellowship Selection Committee will use to evaluate applications, listed below and on the bottom of the RAISE Application Information page.

What does the faculty endorsement entail and how does it differ from my letter of recommendation? Which faculty can submit an endorsement for me?

The endorsement is designed to ensure that your primary faculty advisor is aware of and supports your plan to participate in RAISE. This faculty member will be asked to affirm that you are making adequate progress towards your degree requirements and endorse your engagement in the RAISE Doctoral Fellowship Program’s training and experiences. You will want to talk to your primary faculty advisor to secure their endorsement before applying to RAISE. Your primary faculty advisor will then be asked to complete a checkbox that indicates their support for your participation in RAISE. If you do not yet have a primary faculty advisor, you can ask your director of graduate studies, first year advisor, academic advisor or another faculty member who guides students through the first year to endorse your RAISE application. 

Note that you can have your endorsement and your letter of recommendation be submitted by the same person, but you are not required to do so.

How will RAISE Fellows be selected?

A committee of faculty and staff leaders will be convened to select the first cohort of RAISE Fellows. The RAISE Fellowship Selection Committee will evaluate applications using these criteria:

  • Motivation and commitment: applicant exhibits compelling motivation and commitment to public service and social impact through their research and scholarship
  • Learning mindset: applicant exhibits curiosity and humility, especially in relation to partnership engagement
  • Diversity: applicant’s experience, background, discipline, and projects will contribute to the diversity of the fellowship program and cohort
  • Value add: the fellowship program is likely to contribute towards the applicant’s personal and professional development and doctoral degree progress 

RAISE Fellowship Program

What are the expectations for RAISE Fellows?

RAISE Fellows will participate in cohort-based training and experiential learning opportunities to support their engagement in public service and social impact with off-campus partners. Fellows may participate in retreats; non-credit, intensive courses similar to VPGE’s Stanford Graduate Summer Institute; and seminars and workshops (that might be offered for credit). These cohort-building and training components may total 40-50 hours per year. 

Key to the program is RAISE Fellows’ participation in an immersive, off-campus experiential learning partnership for one quarter over the 3-year fellowship or a longer-term partnership more integrated into their research. The time commitment of this experiential learning component will vary depending on the partnership structure.

How will the experiential learning component of RAISE be structured?

We are intentionally keeping the experiential learning component of RAISE open and flexible as we learn more about students’ interests. Also, RAISE is a three-year fellowship, but the experiential learning component is required for only one of those years, providing more flexibility. We can imagine a few possible pathways of partnership engagement include:

  • Pathway 1: Immersive, quarter-long learning exchange with a partner organization based on fellows’ relevant scholarship or research
  • Pathway 2: Sustained, multiple-quarter research and social impact collaboration with partner
  • Pathway 3: Individually designed research-to-impact partnership and project; this pathway could allow students to pursue community engagement projects that may not be directly related to their research or scholarship.

Does the RAISE funding depend on what type of pathway students choose?

To some extent, the disbursement of RAISE fellowship support depends more on a student’s doctoral student funding package than on how a student engages in the RAISE experiential learning component. RAISE funding might replace an RA or TAship as a funding source, be combined with a partial fellowship, or allow a student to ”bank” another fellowship for a later quarter. In Pathway 1, a student would be able to pool their three quarters of funding in order to take a full quarter off to have an immersive experience with a community partner. In Pathway 2, a student would sustain a collaboration with a community partner over multiple quarters; their funds might be disbursed in summer or combined with other funding over multiple quarters.

What types of organizations do RAISE Fellows partner with? Would RAISE also support partnerships with on-campus organizations and staff? 

RAISE Fellows are encouraged to partner with community organizations, grassroots organizations, nonprofits, government agencies, and other organizations that support community engagement and social impact. On-campus organizations, centers, and institutes – and the faculty and staff associated with them – could help make connections with off-campus partners, though are not likely to be a primary partner for the RAISE experiential learning component. We encourage you to explore your interests and a variety of partnerships in your application.

What if I don’t have a known partner or pathway to propose?

Applicants are not required to have pre-existing relationships with partner organizations, nor prior experience with engaged scholarship. In the application, applicants can offer ideas for how they might engage with partners to add value through their research and scholarship and how the fellowship could support the applicant to identify partners and pathways.

What happens if I receive the RAISE fellowship but my community partnership / project does not go according to plan?  

RAISE is designed for early stage students, so we know research plans, as well as partnerships and collaborations, may change. Such changes would not be considered a failure. And because RAISE is a three-year fellowship, students will have time to explore and develop partnerships as their ideas and scholarship develop.

Are there specific topics or issues applicants should be interested in?

No, as a pilot, RAISE is very open about the topics and issues students are interested in and which partners they may want to collaborate with. We want to learn as we go along. As RAISE builds more cohorts, we will create smaller cohorts of Fellows interested in similar topics, and create mentoring opportunities across cohorts. 

How is the RAISE Doctoral Fellowship related to the university’s long-range vision? 

RAISE builds from and contributes to Stanford’s vision of purposeful engagement and impact, “catalyzing discovery of foundational knowledge, accelerating solutions to humanity’s fundamental problems, and renewing our commitment to students as members of society prepared to build a better world."

How does the RAISE Doctoral Fellowship contribute towards the university’s commitment to inclusion, equity, diversity and access? 

VPGE is committed to inclusion, diversity, equity, and access in alignment with the University’s IDEAL initiative. RAISE will benefit from the expertise of other VPGE flagship programs, such as the EDGE (Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education) and DARE (Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence) Doctoral Fellowship Programs, to create a supportive learning community for doctoral students who bring diversity of experience and thought, and a shared ambition to have positive impact in their communities and the world.  

RAISE Fellowship Funding

Does RAISE cover stipend and tuition? 

Yes, the RAISE Fellowship is a 25% fellowship for 3 years. RAISE provides stipend and graduate tuition (8-10 units or TGR, per student’s enrollment status) the equivalent of 1 quarter per year for 3 years, for a total of 3 quarters of fellowship support. This funding will replace other funding the student has in any given quarter, rather than add to it. 

Does RAISE provide any other financial support?

Each RAISE Fellow will be able to access additional funds over the course of their fellowship to help cover expenses for travel or project expenses related to the experiential learning and partnership component of the fellowship, including support to the partner institution, as relevant. 

If I have another fellowship or am supported as an RA or TA, am I still eligible?

For most other internal and external fellowships, you may be eligible to participate in RAISE. You may be able to “bank” that fellowship during the quarters you are on RAISE, for use later in your studies. RAISE funding may replace an RAship or TAship supported by your program or faculty advisor. VPGE will work with your program staff to determine how and when to apply the RAISE funding for your support. 

I am a Knight-Hennessy Scholar and an EDGE Fellow. Would I be eligible to apply given my other fellowships/scholarships?

RAISE is a partial fellowship, so in most cases, it will complement students’ other funding — replace a quarter or supplement a partial fellowship, for example. We believe that both the Knight-Hennessy and EDGE fellowships are complementary to RAISE and that their programmatic components will not conflict. However, we also encourage students to consider the expectations of their degree program and their other commitments and not overload themselves.

Why doesn’t RAISE provide full fellowship funding? 

RAISE is intentionally designed as a flexible funding model to offset part of a doctoral student’s regular financial support. This partial support will allow RAISE to be nimble and scale quickly, supporting more students who are motivated to create positive social impact and attracting donors who share that commitment. 

Other Opportunities

If I’m not able to participate in RAISE, are there other ways I can get involved in public service or social impact work? 

If you are not eligible to apply for RAISE or are not chosen, there are other opportunities for you to engage with community-engaged research and partnerships and create positive impact through your research and scholarship. Please review the eligibility criteria for these different programs to determine the structure, focus, and timing that might work best for you: