Skip to main content

Graduate Student Support

2022 Strategic Initiative - Focus Area for the NC Agricultural Foundation, Inc.

Researcher running tests in a lab


Graduate students are the engine that drives all great modern universities. They educate and mentor undergraduate students, assist faculty with research and infuse departments with a welcome diversity of ideas. Graduate students are central to NC State’s reputation for excellence. They help NC State prepare an educated workforce and play a key role in the university’s ability to maintain a competitive edge in discovery and innovation.

Key Takeaways

  • Fellowships enable universities to attract the best and brightest graduate students. Departmental rankings, faculty recruitment and undergraduate education all depend on the presence of talented graduate students.
  • With significantly fewer endowed fellowships than peer institutions, NC State has relied historically on state and federal research grants to fund graduate positions. The variability of this support compromises NC State’s ability to plan effectively, resulting in the loss of graduate student talent as well as lost opportunities to pursue innovative research.
  • Competition for extraordinary graduate students is intense.  Finances are often a deciding factor for students in choosing a graduate program. To recruit the best candidates and create a vibrant learning environment for undergraduates, NC State must be able to offer competitive graduate fellowships.


  • By investing in graduate education, you help NC State grow in excellence and remain true to its land-grant mission by keeping the cost of education affordable.
  • An Endowed Graduate Fellowship can be created through a gift of $500,000 or more and will support a student in the donor’s choice of graduate program.
  • A gift of $150,000 or more could create an Endowed Graduate Fellowship Fund to provide partial support for graduate students. These funds may be used to address tuition as well as research and dissertation expenses, travel to professional conferences and other activities essential to a quality graduate education.
  • Support of graduate students helps with recruiting and retention efforts. Donations for annual support for graduate students ranges from $30,000-$40,000.  Partial support is also welcome.