What is the Bridging Funds Program? 

The purpose of the Graduate School’s Bridging Funds Program is to encourage graduate students to pursue prestigious, external fellowships by providing funding to support a fellowship recipient’s health insurance and/or tuition. The Graduate School has a finite amount of funding to support this program. There are two tracks for funding from Bridging Funds:

Track 1 - Automatic Funding

  • The Graduate School is obligated to provide funding support to graduate student recipients of the NSF GRFP and NSF CSGRAD4US, Ford Fellowship (predoctoral and dissertation), and the Smithsonian Big Ten Academic Alliance Fellowship. Fellows do not need to submit additional documentation to receive this automatic funding.

Track 2 - Request Funding

  • Programs can request Bridging Funds for graduate students who receive other prestigious, external fellowships to fund the UMN Graduate Assistant Health Plan (GAHP) for one calendar year if the external fellowship does not provide a health insurance allowance.
  • More information, including eligibility requirements and how to apply, are listed below.

HOW MUCH is the award?

A Bridging Funds Award can be requested for the max amount of the GAHP, which is approximately $7,980.


  • External Fellowship is from a selective competition that is external to the University of Minnesota
  • The recipient applied directly to the external fellowship and is the named recipient
  • External Fellowship tenure is for at least one academic year (two semesters)
  • External Fellowship stipend amount is equivalent to or greater than $25,000
  • External Fellowship is administered through the University system
  • Graduate student recipient will be registered for graduate credit at the University of Minnesota during both semesters of fellowship tenure

How do I apply?

Program Nomination required. Please reach out to your Director of Graduate Studies or Graduate Program Coordinator.

For Program Nomination, log in to the electronic nomination form.

What is the application window?

The 2023-24 request window will open Wednesday, August 9, 2023 at 8:00am CST. Requests are funded on a first-come, first-served basis.


Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the review and selection considerations?

Eligible requests will be reviewed and funded on a first-come, first-served basis until the Bridging Funds Program is exhausted.

Is a student eligible if the external fellowship is paid directly to them?

No. The external fellowship must be paid through the University system in order for the graduate student recipient to be eligible for the GAHP.