FWT Grant Overview

Grant applications are due October 13, 2017.

Every year the offices of Field Work Term and Career Development, Institutional Advancement, and CAPA raise funds to offer grants to support students' Field Work Terms. Based on the generosity of many donors, these grants are made available to students needing financial assistance in order to realize an FWT opportunity. Funds are limited and FWT grants are very competitive.

In order to ensure that monies are maximized among applicants, students are required to submit a grant application that overviews the specifics of their potential FWT and how it relates to their Plan; and that estimates expenses, contributions, and remaining financial needs. Additionally, applicants applying for Public Action, Lucille Lortel, and Iftekhar Entrepreneurial grants are responsible for securing a recommendation from a faculty member, unless they are a first-term or new transfer student. The FWT Office is available to advise students on putting together an optimal application. Students should book an appointment to discuss their applications early in the fall term and at least a week prior to the grant deadline.

    Award Priorities & Considerations

    In determining awards, the grant committee gives preference to students in good standing with significant financial need and strong academic records, who have submitted compelling applications demonstrating accurate budgets, exemplary recommendations, and clarity on how the proposed FWT will advance their educational goals. Students who meet the above criteria and who are on significant financial aid will receive highest priority.

    Strong grant 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 these will not be the strongest applications.
    • Well researched. Funds needed should be based on well-researched estimates.

    The types of grants available are outlined below and students will be considered for all awards for which they qualify. Students do not need to specify which grant they are seeking, though some grants require additional information for consideration, thus all questions on the application form should be answered to maximize eligibility for the greatest number of awards.

    Independent Study (IS): Students planning on completing an IS may apply for a FWT grant. Applicants should clearly demonstrate the importance of the IS project to their Plans, and the expenses must be well justified. For example, a student writing a book in southern Italy because it is more inspirational than home in western Ohio would not be as strong a candidate as someone who must be in Italy in order to interview people for an anthropological project.

    Summer Deferrals: Students applying to defer their FWT to the summer and anticipate that they will need grant money, should apply for grant consideration in the fall as there is only one award cycle per academic year. Should a student receive a grant for summer but then change plans, the grant will be re-evaluated before being disbursed.

      Use of Grant Funds

      • 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 before starting FWT (if your FWT site is in your home region and you will not be able to complete it without a grant, contact the FWT office), conference fees (see Dean’s Office for grant information in support of these), charitable donations to nonprofit sites, tuition or class-related costs (including Bennington College classes held during FWT), or other costs not deemed necessary for the completion of 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 would 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, are eligible for consideration. Similarly, for IS projects which will be completed during the spring term, only costs accrued during the FWT will be covered. Additional grants for independent research can be explored on sites like the Foundation Center—which has a tutorial designed to guide grant seekers. It is best to start planning to fund an IS a year in advance, since many outside grants have early deadlines.

      Universal Grant Awards

      Universal grants are awarded on a purely financial need-based basis, and require no extra parts to the grant application. Offered through the FWT Office, this fund is available to students of all class years and disciplines of study. Grants range between $200 and $600, on a sliding scale based on assessment of financial need. Funds vary based on the College’s budget approval, but generally $25,000-$35,000 is awarded annually.

      As with any grant, individuals and organizations funding FWT grants outline eligibility criteria for consideration and specify requirements for the awardee to meet upon receipt of the funds. Students who receive an FWT grant may be expected to: write a thank-you letter to the grantor; share their FWT reflective project with donors; agree to have a brief bio about their academic focus and FWT pursuits available to a public audience; and to participate at FWT Night on February 22, 2018. Specific grants may need to meet additional criteria as noted below.

      Merit-Based Grant Awards

      The grants below are awarded after consideration of both financial need and merit, and some of them require a small amount of additional writing in optional questions on the grant application. As with any grant, individuals and organizations funding FWT grants outline eligibility criteria for consideration and specify requirements for the awardee to meet upon receipt of the funds. Students who receive an FWT grant may be expected to: write a thank-you letter to the grantor; share their FWT reflective project with donors; agree to have a brief bio about their academic focus and FWT pursuits available to a public audience; and to present (if a Public Action awardee) or participate (all other awardees) at FWT Night on February 22, 2018. Specific grants may need to meet additional criteria as noted below.

      • 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. Awards typically range from $700 to $1200.  Awardees are expected to participate in a FWT preparatory meeting from 12:30 to 1:45 on December 5, and to give a formal presentation about their work at FWT Night in the Spring. (This presentation meets the Formal Presentation Reflective Option requirement.)
      • Iftekhar Entrepreneurial Grant: This grant is made possible by Bennington alumnus Adnan Iftekhar ’97, who is committed to helping students design their own jobs and advance their business ideas. Awards are given to up to four students per year, typically in the range of $600-800. Recipients of the Iftekhar Entrepreneurial Grant agree to: meet weekly via videoconference as a cohort with Adnan to take part in ongoing entrepreneurial coaching; complete weekly mini individualized coaching assignments given by Adnan; and to meet weekly with their business mentor who has agreed to oversee their entrepreneurial project.
      • Lucille Lortel Foundation Fellowships in Theatre: These fellowships provide living stipends of up to $3,500 based on financial need to students completing Field Work Terms at select off-Broadway sites in New York City. In addition to receiving funding, Lucille Lortel Fellows will meet and learn as a cohort throughout the winter term, with mentorship from Bennington drama faculty and professionals in the theatre world. In order to be considered for a Lucille Lortel Fellowship, students must complete the grant application and apply to one or more Fellowship-eligible sites on WorkLink by October 13 at midnight. Note: in order to be eligible for Lucille Lortel Fellowship, you must have completed at least one FWT previously.

      FWT Alumni and Memorial Grants

      In addition to criteria noted above, Memorial Grant recipients are also required to choose the reflective essay project option and to share their essay with the donors.

      • Kamal Shaikh ’02 Memorial 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 grant is awarded to up to two students per year, for $500-1000 each.
      • Robert Gary Miller ’86 Memorial 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 SCT students with financial need, who will be working in the social sciences or public affairs over FWT. Awards typically range between $500-1000 per student.
      • The Emily Kassier ’14 Memorial Field Work Term Scholarship for Teaching: Offered through a gift of the family and friends of Emily Kassier ’14 in her memory. The grant of $400-600 will be awarded to two students with an interest in teaching who is doing an FWT in the area of education.
      • The Chris Conroy ’12 Memorial 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. Up to two Chris Conroy scholarships are awarded per year, typically for around $500 each.
      • Student Gift FWT Scholarship: Funded by the 2015 and 2016 Student Gift, this award is given to up to four students per year, typically for around $500 each. The Student Gift is intended to help foster awareness about the power of philanthropy among young donors. As such, awardees agree to write a thank-you note and share their FWT reflective projects with past and future donors of the Student Gift. Awardees may also be asked to be interviewed for an alumni donor video, explaining the impact of their grant.

      Grant Forms

      Grant Application Process & 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 13 | FWT grant applications with a recommendation are due.
      • October 16 | Applications are compiled by the FWT Office, incomplete/unacceptable applications eliminated from pool. Applicant eligibility for various grants determined. Academic status and financial need obtained.
      • October 17 | Applications distributed to grant review committees for review.
      • October 19 | Grant review committees meet to discuss applications.
      • October 31 | FWT grant applicants notified of awards.
      • Week of November 28 | Grant checks disbursed if FWT site is registered. Note: thank-you letters to donors must be written and turned in to the FWT Office prior to grant funds being distributed.
      • February 22 | FWT Night. Presentation by students of their experiences over FWT. Required of all grant recipients.
      • February 23 | FWT receipts due to the FWT Office following instructions issued with your grant check.