Mary Gates Endowment For Students

FAQ Research Scholarship


If the research I am doing is connected to a degree project, do I still qualify to apply?

Yes, if the research you are proposing to do is above and beyond the scope of the degree project required of your program AND you are receiving guidance and mentoring from a faculty member.

Can I apply for a research scholarship and a leadership scholarship at the same time?

Yes, it is possible to apply for research and leadership scholarships at the same time; however, you may only receive the financial award from one Mary Gates scholarship at a time.

Can I receive a second Mary Gates Research Scholarship?

Yes, previous award recipients are eligible to apply for a second award. Please see eligibility information for more details. There are additional criteria for previous award recipients.

Do I need to be conducting research in order to apply?

No, you can still apply even if you have not started your project. We accept applications from students who are still in the planning stages of their project. You must however, be actively participating in your project during the quarters you are receiving the scholarship money.

Strengthening Your Application

How competitive is the process? On average, how many scholarships are awarded?

Research scholarships are very competitive. On average, a little over one-third of applicants receive awards. (This award percentage may change due to economic conditions). The number of applicants varies, but we anticipate an average of 200 applicants per quarter.

I unsuccessfully applied for a research scholarship in a previous quarter. What should I do to strengthen my application?

We encourage students to request feedback regarding their previous applications. Please schedule a feedback appointment with us and we can discuss the specific strengths and weaknesses of your previous application(s).


I work more closely with a graduate student or postdoc than I do with a faculty member. Who should write my mentor letter?

You can have two letters of support submitted for your application. One letter of support needs to come from a faculty member, but it might be helpful to include a letter from the grad student or postdoc as well if they have more thorough knowledge of you and your work.

I am not sure if my mentor is a faculty member.

Please check with a Mary Gates Endowment staff member. You can contact us at

My mentor won't have email/Internet access to submit his/her letter by the deadline. What do I do?

If your mentor is not able to upload their letter between the time you submit your application and the date that the mentor letter is due, please contact us.


If I am awarded a Research Scholarship, when will I receive the money?

You will receive the money during the second week of the two quarters for which you requested funding. If your money does not disburse, double check that you set up direct deposit. Contact Mary Gates Endowment staff if you still do not receive your award disbursement.

How will my scholarship affect my financial aid?

Every case will be different depending on your financial aid package. We ask the Office of Student Financial Aid to review each award recipient’s eligibility for the money. For the amount that the Office approves, we place the money onto your student account so that you may use the money as you wish. (Preferably it goes through the direct deposit process to your own bank account.) Exception: If Financial Aid tells us that you cannot receive any or only a portion of the money they will sometimes be able to replace a loan with the balance or portion of the scholarship money you were not eligible for otherwise. If you receive financial aid, it is important that you check with the financial aid office to see how receiving this award would affect your package.

If I receive other scholarship funding for my research, can I receive a Mary Gates Research Scholarship?

If you have other scholarships, fellowships, awards or stipends supporting your research project and are also selected for a Mary Gates Research Scholarship, you may not be eligible to receive the full amount of the award. The Mary Gates Endowment Scholarship program reserves the right to adjust funding to promote equity among awardees. We may use information provided by the Office of Student Financial Aid/FAFSA to determine award amounts. Each student’s case is dealt with on an individual basis. If you would like to discuss your situation, please contact Mary Gates Endowment staff.

If my research is paid research, do I still qualify to apply for this scholarship?

Yes. However, based on past experiences of previous scholars, we would advise checking with your mentor (P.I) to determine how the scholarship will/will not affect your status as an employee. It is possible that a mentor will reallocate funds to maximize the budget if you are receiving money from another source.