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RAISE Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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A recording of a recent information session gives a brief overview of the RAISE fellowship.

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 so the appropriate VPGE staff member can respond and we can update this page. (updated 03.21.24)

FAQ Table of Contents

  • Eligibility & Application
  • RAISE Fellowship Program
  • RAISE Fellowship Funding
  • Other Opportunities

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. 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

How can I get more information about RAISE?

Please email if you have questions about RAISE.

Who is eligible to apply for RAISE?

Stanford doctoral students in any discipline who are in the 1st or 2nd year of their studies are eligible to apply for RAISE to support their studies from years 2-5 or 3-6 of their PhD programs. 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. All currently enrolled PhD students at Stanford are eligible. Citizenship status is not considered when making award decisions. 

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.  

Am I eligible to apply if I applied to RAISE last year and was not accepted? 

Yes, you can! We encourage all students to apply again if they are still eligible. Since there is a small window of eligibility (first or second year of PhD studies) we encourage all interested students to apply as early as they can. We hear from a lot of students that they do not feel ready for RAISE their first year, and while we do ask you to have an idea for a project when you apply, the first year of the RAISE fellowship is designed to help you develop your project. 

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 at the bottom of this page, 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.

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 your passions, interests, and 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 select RAISE Fellows, with at least one faculty member inside your field and one outside of your field reviewing. 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 
  • Learning mindset: applicant exhibits curiosity and humility, especially in relation to partnership engagement
  • Distinctive Contribution: The applicant will contribute to the creation of an interdisciplinary cohort in which fellows and their projects are enriched by varied experiences, disciplinary expertise, and local knowledge
  • Value add: the program contributes to the applicant's personal and professional development and doctoral degree progress and/or the applicant's experiences, expertise, and background adds value to the RAISE cohort and program

RAISE awards will be made with awareness of and in conformance with the June 2023 Supreme Court decision in SFFA v. Harvard/UNC.

Are certain disciplines, fields, or types of projects given weight for acceptance?

The goal of RAISE is to be as interdisciplinary as possible. No school, field, department, or type of project is given any additional weight during the review process. 

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 will participate in a Fall retreat; faculty, graduate and professional mentorship; and seminars and workshops (optional for credit). Here are syllabuses for past RAISE Fellows during their first year (Cohort 1 and Cohort 2). These cohort-building and training components may total 40-50 hours per year. For the first year, RAISE Fellows are expected to be on campus as much as possible to attend the biweekly workshops with your cohort. The second and third years are more flexible due to fieldwork research needs, RAISE Fellows can join virtually for their monthly cohort workshops. 

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.

Hear from current fellows about project expectations for RAISE


Is RAISE funding related to students' experiential project?

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. 

By default, RAISE fellowship funding is budgeted for summer quarters during the three years of RAISE fellowship tenure. Students may request to use their RAISE support during an alternate quarter during the same academic year by emailing Students may also request to move one quarter of RAISE funding to a different academic year, as long as all RAISE funding is used within the three year period of the RAISE fellowship and at least one quarter of funding is reserved for the final year of the fellowship. For requests to move funding to a different academic year, students must apply with a rationale for their reserve request and have their proposal approved. Students may not bank more than one quarter of funding. 

Students can spend the $9,000 in project funds at any point during their fellowship. 

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

Hear from current RAISE fellows about their community partnerships


Am I still eligible to apply if my proposed project is a collaborative project with other Stanford students? 

Yes, you would still be eligible to apply. RAISE projects are inherently collaborative, so there can (and will typically involve) other collaborators and partners in the project. Reviewers evaluate applications based on the proposed project as well as individual applicants who would benefit from the growth and support that RAISE offers. Thus, you would apply as an individual, and receive fellowship support as an individual, but your project would still be collaborative in nature. In the past, we have had multiple students apply when working on the same project together and all students involved would still be eligible if they are first or second year PhD students.

What if I don’t have a known partner 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 and how the fellowship could support the applicant to identify partners. During the first year, the cohort meetings are to help you find, develop, and hold the conversations with your community partner. 

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.

Hear from current RAISE fellows about the changes their projects went through


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. The RAISE program has created smaller project groups so fellows interested in similar topics and/or research methodologies can brainstorm and work alongside each other. Visit RAISE fellows to learn more about current program interests and watch student spotlights

What are the time expectations and deliverables of the RAISE fellowship?

While every RAISE project timeline is different, these are the general expectations for each year:

  • First Year: 
    • Attend biweekly cohort meetings
    •  RAISE retreat
    • 2-3 mentor meetings per quarter
    • Optional community building events 
    • At the end of the year, a blueprint for project that includes project scope and community partner agreement
  • Second Year: 
    • Attend monthly cohort meetings
    • RAISE retreat
    • Optional community building events
    • Conducting your research project with your community partner 
  • Third Year: 
    • Attend monthly cohort meetings
    • RAISE retreat
    • Mentorship to First Year fellows
    • Optional community building events
    • Disseminating your research findings 

Hear more from RAISE fellows about their fellowship experience

RAISE Fellowship Funding

Does RAISE cover stipend and tuition? 

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 $9,000 in 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. Please note that all fellowships are taxable, including the project funds. 

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. 


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: