TakeruK wrote:My understanding is that there are two main factors that limit admissions: money to pay for students and time/resources to train, mentor and teach students. An external fellowship could help with the first one but you would still be limited by the second one.
Based on some conversations with faculty and administrators, I get the sense that at the top schools with lots of money, the time/resources factor is a much bigger deal than money. So, although having an external fellowship will help because these fellowships tend to be competitive and winning one means you are likely a strong candidate, it's not necessarily enough at some schools.
You should still take long shots that are good fits for you with this fellowship though! You never know unless you try. Make sure you let the school know about this award (usually there is a section in the application forms).
I am curious---US schools have tuition rates that can vary a lot. You say your fellowship funds full tuition---is there an upper limit on how much tuition they would pay? Usually, the cost of a graduate student is a lot more than the stipend cost, so in order for it to really make a difference on your admission chances, it needs to cover a significant part of your total cost to the department. At my school, a graduate student costs our department almost $100,000 per year (including stipend, tuition, benefits and overhead charges). I think my school may be on the high end, but for many schools, an international graduate student will cost at least $60,000 per year.
hermitw wrote:I guess the tuition and overhead are just money from one to another pocket of the department, so what really cost them is the stipend and benefits, if you are TAing. For RA, it is a different story. I find it unreasonable to charge profs up to 45k tuition for students who don't take class at all.
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