Applications for the prestigious Presidential Administrative Fellowship program dropped 36 percent this year.
Forty-seven students applied for the fellowship this year, down from 74 one year ago. The PAF program pays tuition toward a master’s degree for selected fellows, who in return work for the University in an administrative capacity. Last year, the program saw a 15 percent increase in applicants.
Toby Davidow, the fellowship’s logistics coordinator, attributed the decrease in applicants to the decision to raise the required GPA from 3.0 to 3.25 in order to make the fellowship more competitive.
“Whenever a substantial change is made to requirements, ripple effects may sometimes be felt,” Davidow said.
Despite an uptick in the number of students attending information sessions about the fellowship, Davidow said much more of the interest came from juniors than it had in previous years.
“Several of them told us that they wanted to get information for next year, as juniors are unable to apply to PAF,” she said.
As a result of this, Davidow said there are already plans for current PAFs to host an information session in the spring specifically for current juniors.
Davidow said the decreased number of applicants is unlikely to affect the number of PAFs accepted to the program. Dean of Students Peter Konwerski said six to eight positions are generally offered each year; nine fellowships were awarded last year.
The PAF program is open to all GW alumni, although selected fellows are generally graduating seniors. Past PAFs have worked for major offices within the University, including the Office of the Provost, Development and Fundraising, External Relations and Student and Academic Support Services, Konwerski said. PAFs go through a matching process after they have been selected to determine in which office they will work.
Konwerski noted their assigned office is sometimes related to their degree, and other times it is related to an interest or background.
Konwerski said applicants will find out if they have been selected around spring break, with the caveat that students must have been accepted to a GW graduate program to accept the fellowship. The University typically announces who was selected close to Commencement.
“Going to grad school at GW is an amazing opportunity,” Konwerski said, adding that being a PAF is a great opportunity to “contribute to their alma mater while getting a graduate degree and making a difference.”
Colby Anderson, a senior, said he applied to the PAF program for two reasons.
“I really fell in love with GW and stayed in love with GW for four years and this program is a way to continue at GW and give back,” he said.