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Advanced Opportunity Program Fellowship Processing Guidelines


Description of Award

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The Advanced Opportunity Program (AOP) is funded by the State of Wisconsin. AOP Fellowships are designed to assist members of groups under-represented in graduate study, and other disadvantaged students, to enter and complete a graduate degree at UWM. Awards are granted to newly admitted or currently enrolled UWM graduate students.

Approximately 25 academic year (Fall/Spring) AOP Fellowships are awarded annually to qualified graduate students. Awards are for full-time study only. The current fellowship stipend is $15,000. In addition, Fellowship recipients benefit from full coverage of resident tuition, a remission of the out-of-state portion of the tuition (if applicable), low-cost comprehensive health insurance and other benefits, and a $1,000 travel award. Awardees retain full responsibility for mandatory fees and additional instructional/course fees (including distance education) above basic graduate tuition levels.


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To be eligible candidates must be at least one of the following:

  • Individuals from racial or ethnic populations which are under-represented among students of higher education.
  • First-generation college students.
  • Individuals with disabilities.
  • Individuals from financially disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances.
  • Recent Immigrants (must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States).
  • Participants in TRIO pre-college or undergraduate programs for students (e.g., Upward Bound, Talent Search, Student Support Services, McNair, Project 1000, etc.).

Applicants shall be considered in their entirety and reviewed individually, and no applicant shall receive a fellowship simply because he or she fulfills one or more of the above-listed classifications.


AOP Fellowships are renewable for up to two years for master’s students and three years for doctoral students and students enrolled in a terminal master’s program. Renewal is contingent on meeting course and program requirements and level of academic progress toward degree as determined by each fellow’s advisor. No student may qualify for more than three years of combined support in their master’s and doctoral studies.

Concurrent Employment

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Concurrent employment of Fellowship recipients is limited to the following:

  • University TA, PA, or RA of a maximum of 25%.
  • Student hourly or outside employment of up to 10 hours per week.

Selection Criteria

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Fellowships are awarded on the basis of the following factors:

  1. Applicant’s academic achievement, as reflected by:
    • Graduate grade point averages (for current students) or undergraduate grade point averages (for new program applicants).
    • Letters of recommendation.
    • Program evaluation (Department assessment of academic achievements and potential).
    • Written responses to application questions.
  2. Applicant’s relative need due to disadvantaged or underrepresented status, as demonstrated by:
    • Responses in the application.
    • Departmental assessments of need.
    • Letters of recommendation.

Because funding is very limited and fellowships are extremely competitive, graduate programs are asked to be highly selective in nominating students for an AOP Fellowship. Nominees should represent exceptional students in your graduate program.

Graduate Program Nomination Instructions

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  • Both the students' applications and your program's nominations are submitted entirely online.

No more than three nominees from your graduate program may be forwarded for the AOP Fellowship Competition.

  1. Verify all information submitted by each nominee:
  2. After the applicant's information has been verified: Use the online application to submit a summary statement explaining why the nominee is a good candidate for the AOP Fellowship Award and rank the applicant.

Only students with an assigned rank and all completed documents will be considered nominated.

Nominations must be submitted online no later than February 6, 2015. THIS IS THE DEADLINE DATE. No nominations will be accepted after this date.

Application Status

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In most cases, your nominees will be currently enrolled or newly admitted graduate students. If you are nominating a student who has not yet been admitted into your graduate program, however, please note the following:

  • AOP applicants must have a completed application on file in the Graduate School.
  • AOP Fellowship nominees who are not formally admitted into your graduate program at the time of nomination MUST BE FORMALLY ADMITTED BY February 20, 2015 in time for the final fellowship selection committee meeting.
  • After submitting nomination materials, notify all AOP Fellowship applicants (non-nominated as well as nominated) of the status of their applications. This is your program’s responsibility.
  • AOP Fellowships are awarded by the AOP Committee and all nominated applicants will receive written notification from the Graduate School.

Important Dates

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November Application online.
February Graduate program nominations deadline to the Graduate School.
March Announcement of awards.

For questions regarding any of these procedures, please contact the Graduate Opportunity Programs Office (414-229-6618 or -6538, uwm-fellowships-aop@uwm.edu).

Page last updated on: 04/16/2015