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Grant applications due October 14

A number of Field Work Term (FWT) grants are available for students needing financial assistance in order to realize a FWT opportunity that fits well with their educational plans. Students interested in applying for any of the grants listed below are required to submit a grant application. In order to determine grant awards, applications will be evaluated along with the student’s academic record, recommendations, and financial need. Students will be considered for all grant funds for which they qualify and do not need to specify which grant they are seeking, though some grants seek additional information and all questions should be answered. Applicants are required to be in good academic standing, and preference is given to students with demonstrated financial need.

Given limited funding and great financial need among students, FWT grants are very competitive. Students who wish serious consideration should take care in completing their applications. The FWT & CDO is happy to advise students on putting together a strong application prior to the deadline.

Forms

Grant Funding Uses

  • Grants will cover costs related specifically to a student’s registered primary FWT position(s) including: travel to the site, commuting, lodging, food, program fees, and other necessary costs.
  • Grants will not cover travel between Bennington and home (even if a student’s FWT is at home), supplies for Independent Study (IS) projects, conference fees (see Dean’s Office for grant information for support of these), charitable donations to nonprofit sites, funding to help with supplemental (not primary) positions/activities, tuition or class-related costs (including Bennington College classes held during FWT), other costs not deemed necessary to the completion of the FWT.
  • Limited funds will be used in support of Independent Study (IS) projects. Funding will be considered for costs specifically related to work done over FWT. Funds for materials, which would be purchased as part of the project, whether or not the student was completing an IS are not funded. For example: Funding for props for a play a student is working on over FWT as part of a senior project will not be covered, but costs related to traveling to a particular site necessary to the study, which could not happen any time other than FWT, would. Similarly, for IS projects which will be completed during the spring term, only costs accrued during the FWT will be covered.

Grant Awards

Individuals or groups who provide funds for an FWT grant often specify criteria for its award and specify expectations if the grant is received. Please read each grant description carefully before completing your application. Students who receive a grant from an outside source are expected to write a thank-you letter to the grantor and may need to meet additional criteria as well, depending on the grant, including providing a reflection essay which can be shared with the donor. All grant recipients are required to participate in FWT Night on March 15 from 6-8:30PM in CAPA. The event begins with a half-hour FWT Gallery, where students have a table of artifacts that represent their FWT—posters, pamphlets, photos, videos, work completed, and more—and informally explain their work to others who visit their table. This is followed by a series of five-minute FWT presentations from students wishing to share about their FWT in a more formal format. Grant recipients participate by either showcasing work during the half-hour FWT Gallery or by giving a five-minute presentation. (Public Action Grant awardees are required to give a five minute presentation.) All grant recipients are expected to attend the entire FWT Night event.

  • Kamal Shaikh ’02 Field Work Term Scholarship. Offered through an endowment established by Dr. Salahuddin and Mrs. Marion Shaikh, Paul Olmer ’98, Katharine Wilson, and many alumni donors in memory of Kamal Shaikh ’02. This scholarship is awarded to one or two international students interested in science or drama. Funding is based on need and number of eligible students. The total amount available is typically between $1,000 and $1,500, which may be awarded to one student or divided between two students. Recipients of the scholarship will be required to share their work publicly through the FWT Night event in March, and write a thank-you letter to the donors, and be willing to share their reflection essay with the donors.
  • Robert Gary Miller ’86 Field Work Term Scholarship. Offered through an endowment established by Robert’s parents Marvin and Madelyn Miller, family members, friends, and alumni in memory of Robert (“Robby”) Gary Miller ’86. This scholarship is awarded each year to one or more outstanding Social Science students to help underwrite the FWTs of financially eligible students. The annual scholarship amounts vary, but typically range between $1,000 and $1,500, and depending on the number of qualified applicants nominated by the committee, may be divided among multiple students. Scholarship recipients will be required to share their work publicly through the FWT Night event in March, write a thank-you letter to the donors, and be willing to share their reflection essay with the donors.
  • The Emily Kassier ’14 Field Work Term Scholarship for Teaching. Offered through a gift of the family and friends of Emily Kassier ’14 in her memory. The grants of $500 will be awarded to two students with an interest in teaching who are doing an FWT in the area of education. Grant recipients will be required to share their work publicly through the FWT Night event in March, write a thank-you letter to the donors, and be willing to share their reflection essay with the donors.
  • The Chris Conroy ’12 Field Work Term Scholarship for Writing. This grant is made available through a gift of the family and friends of Chris Conroy. According to his family, Bennington College was for Chris a place of exploration, articulation and dynamic learning in community, where ideas are "felt, wrestled, and courted.” The award(s) will be available to third or fourth year students who are emerging writers and/or who will be focusing on writing during their FWT. The grant stipulates that preference be given to students who are studying literature and/or film, as well as to students who will be spending their FWT working with the vulnerable and underserved. The total amount available is $1,000 per year, which may be awarded to one student or divided between two.  Grant recipients will be required to share their work publicly through the FWT Night event in March, write a thank-you letter to the donors, and be willing to share their reflection essay with the donors.
  • Public Action Field Work Term Grant. Public Action Grants are awarded  to students participating in an FWT position or Independent Study focused on public action—either domestically or internationally. Public action at Bennington is organized around increasing the abilities of our graduates to take effective action in the world on matters of great human concern. It puts urgent world issues such as poverty, war, the environment, public health, the struggle for democracy, education, energy, and social justice issues among others, at the core of a student’s education. Students wishing to be considered for Public Action Grant monies are tasked with explaining in their grant application essay how their FWT plans are associated with a response to a pressing world issue, and how their winter work is connected to advancing the quality of public life. Applicants should take care to include information about the organization for which they will be working, its mission, how that work addresses issues of public action, and what they will be doing with the organization. Awards typically range from $700–$1200.  Awardees are expected to participate in a series of two FWT preparatory meetings led by the Dean of FWT on Mondays, November 23 and 30, from 12:30–1:45 pm. Recipients will be required to give a formal presentation about their work through the FWT Night event on March 15, write a thank-you letter to the donors, and be willing to share their reflection essay with the donors. Sessions will also be offered in March, prior to the FWT Night to help interested students prepare for their presentations.
  • First-year International Student Fund. Offered through the FWT&CDO, this fund is intended to assist first-year international students who due to visa restrictions are unable to volunteer or take paid internships off-campus in the US during their first winter FWT. Grants will be awarded to first-year international students with significant financial need who can only go abroad this winter to pursue an internship aligned with their academic inquiry. Individual grants are expected to range between $500 and $1200 and will be awarded to approximately five to ten students. Recipients of this grant will be required to share their work publicly at the FWT Night on March 15.
  • FWT Grant. Offered through the FWT & CDO, this fund is available to all students. Funds vary based on FWT budget approval, but are generally range between $250 and $600. Typically, approximately $25,000 is awarded annually. The committee seeks to provide as many students with as much money as possible, while meeting a reasonable amount of the student’s need. Recipients of the FWT grant will need to share their work publicly through the FWT Night event in March.

Strong applications are:

  • Clearly written, meeting all application requirements.
  • Connected to applicant’s Plan, academic, or career goals.
  • Complete, including budget and recommendations. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • On time. Late applications will not be considered.
  • Specific. Applicant should have clear plans set up or in process for FWT. Grants for “something in theater” or “something in New York” will be accepted, but will not be the strongest applications.
  • Well researched. Funds needed should be based on well-researched estimates.

Award priorities. All students required to complete an FWT may apply for a grant. Applicants will be considered in the following order:

  • students required to complete FWT and who have high financial need
  • students with FWT positions that are volunteer or offer low pay
  • Independent Study applicants

Note: Students deferring FWT to the summer who anticipate that they will need funding should apply for a grant in the fall application process as there is only one grant review cycle.

While all students are invited to apply, students with high financial need will be given preference for most grants.

Application Requirements

In order to keep all grant applications in a similar format, all FWT Grant applications must be submitted through the one online form. The only things that need to be submitted are the one completed form and a recommendation. Recommendations are not required for first-year students. Please follow directions carefully and answer all questions clearly.

You will be asked to provide all of the following in your grant application:

  • Goals. State your personal and academic goals for FWT 2016.
  • Plans. Indicate what you intend to do for FWT 2016. You should be as specific as possible and explain how these plans tie into your goals as stated above. Be sure to address the following questions:
    • What do you hope to be doing with this organization over FWT?
    • Explain how this work fits into your Plan, or if it does not, why it is important and additive, and how you expect to connect this FWT experience with your academic program.

      For an independent study

    • Indicate the nature of the study, including what you will be doing over FWT.
    • Explain how this work fits into your Plan.
  • Financial status. Describe your financial situation. Explain what you have done to prepare for and meet the financial obligation of FWT this year, resources you have available, costs anticipated and how you would use a grant.
  • Budget statement. The official budget statement is a part of the online application form. Use this sample budget to help you organize FWT costs. Incomplete or error filled budget sheets will not be considered. Costs should be well researched and may mean checking area rents for your destination on relocation websites, calling Realtors or estimating food costs by visiting a grocery store. Driving costs for gas and maintenance can be estimated by multiplying your weekly commuting mileage by $0.50 per mile.

Recommendation

One recommendation is required and is due along with your application on October 14.

  • Who can recommend you? Recommendations will be accepted from an advisor (either your faculty advisor or academic services advisor), a faculty member familiar with your work, or a senior level administrator at the College familiar with your work (director level or above). We will no longer accept recommendations from work supervisors who do not meet the above criteria or individuals outside of the College. First-year students are not required to submit a recommendation.
  • How are recommendations submitted? Recommendations are submitted via an online form. Recommenders should be given at least a week to complete and submit a recommendation once they agree to do so. We prefer to receive the online recommendation form. However, if your recommender prefers, you may send him/her an attachable form to complete and return to our office. Recommendations are due by 5pm October 14. Late recommendations will not be accepted, so again, please give you references ample notice. It is the student’s, not the recommender’s, responsibility to ensure the recommendation is submitted on time.
  • How to ask for a recommendation? Sample email to a recommender (once you have spoken with him/her about your plans):
  • Date [no later than October 7]

    Hi [Name],

    As we discussed, I will be doing [X] for my FWT this year. I am applying for grant money to help finance my FWT. Would you please submit a recommendation on my behalf? Here is a link to the recommendation form. You use your Bennington email to log in and complete the form. The FWT & CDO needs to receive this by 5:00 pm on Wednesday, October 14, if I am to be considered. If you are not able to recommend me, please let me know so I can find another recommender. If you have questions about the form, please call the FWT Office at 802-440-4321.

    Thank you,

    [Name]

Process and timeline. Below is the anticipated timeline for the grant award process. Grant applicants who do not receive awards will be granted an automatic extension on their registration.

  • October 14 | FWT grant applications with a recommendaiton are due.
  • October 16 | Applications are compiled by FWT & CDO, incomplete/unacceptable applications eliminated. Applicant eligibility for various grants determined. Academic status and financial need obtained.
  • October 19 | Applications distributed to grant review committees for review.
  • Late October/Early November | Grant review committees meet to discuss applications and disperse awards.
  • November 6 | FWT grant applicants notified of awards.
  • Week of November 30 | Grant checks disbursed; thank-you letters to donors must be written and turned in to the FWT & CDO prior to grant funds being distributed. Note: Only students who have registered will receive grant checks.
  • March 15 | FWT Night. A college-wide presentation by students of their experiences over FWT. Required of all grant recipients. Please consider taking pictures, video or collecting artifacts over your FWT to share with the Bennington College community.