Become a Fellow: Stipend and Support
- Travel/Professional Training
- Health Insurance
- Professional Development
Stipend levels for AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellows reflect the fundamental fact that the fellowships are not offers of employment, and that their educational value to the fellows includes dimensions not usually found in the latter. Consequently, stipend levels are not structured to be competitive with salaries for full-time employment.
AAAS-sponsored Congressional and Revelle Fellowships:
These are one-year professional development and public service opportunities, and the stipends are administered by AAAS. The 2014-15 stipends (September 2014 through August 2015) are based on an equivalent of the federal general schedule (GS) Grade 12 Step 1 established by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for the DC/MD/VA-area in the January before the fellowship start date, which is $75,621.
Partner Scientific Society-sponsored Congressional Fellowships:
These are one-year professional development and pubic service opportunities, and the stipends are administered by the sponsoring scientific societies. The 2014-15 stipends (September 2014 through August 2015) are determined by the individual societies according to funding availability. Stipends range from $55,000 to more than $85,000. Benefits also vary by society. Check with the individual societies for details on their stipend levels and benefits. To view a listing of partner scientific societies that sponsor Congressional Fellowships, click here.
Executive Branch Stipends for Fellows whose stipends are administered by AAAS or a Third Party:
Fellows who receive their stipends via AAAS or a third party such as ORISE/ORAU receive payment according to the following levels, which take into consideration previous experience and salary.
Level 1: Fellows with 0-7 years of post-doctorate, full-time employment (for engineers with a master’s degree, 3-7 years professional engineering employment) who do not meet any of the criteria stated below receive a stipend based on an equivalent of the federal general schedule (GS) Grade 12 Step 1, established by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for the DC/MD/VA-area in the January before the fellowship start date. Renewing fellows in this category receive a stipend equivalent to the GS Grade 12 Step 2 established by OPM in the January before the fellowship start date.
In 2015-16 the first-year, level 1 fellowship stipend will be $76,378, and the second-year, level 1 stipend will be $78,924.
Level 2:Fellows with more than seven years of post-doctorate, full-time employment (engineers with a master’s degree, 7-15 years professional engineering employment) or whose prior salary (exclusive of benefits) was equal to, or more than, the first-year Level 2 stipend, receive a stipend equivalent to GS Grade 12 Step 5, established by OPM for the DC/MD/VA-area in the January before the fellowship start date. Renewing fellows in this category receive a stipend equivalent to GS Grade 12 Step 6, established by OPM in the January before the fellowship start date.
In 2015-16 the first-year, level 2 fellowship stipend will be $86,564, and the second-year, level 2 stipend will be $89,110.
Level 3:Fellows who have more than 15 years of post-doctorate, full-time employment (engineers with a master’s degree, 15 years or more professional engineering employment) or whose prior salary (exclusive of benefits) was equal to, or higher than, the Level 3 stipend, receive a stipend equivalent to GS Grade 12 Step 10 established by OPM for the DC/MD/VA-area in the January before the fellowship start date. Renewing fellows in this category will receive a stipend equivalent to another step increase from GS Grade 12 Step 10.
In 2015-16 the first-year, level 3 fellowship stipend will be $99,296 and the second-year, Level 3 stipend will be $101,909.
Determination: The length of post degree experience will be determined as of the first day of the fellowship (September 1). If, in accordance with the foregoing guidelines, a new fellow believes he/she qualifies for a higher stipend level than initially offered, it will be his/her responsibility to provide supporting documentation to that effect. Final determination of the stipend level will be made by AAAS. Once determined, the fellow’s stipend level will not change during the fellowship tenure.
In some exceptional cases second-year stipends administered via AAAS may be increased beyond the amounts noted above at the request of the hosting office and agency. This must be based on significant increase in responsibilities that would warrant a reclassification of step or grade level, a rating that the contribution of the Fellow exceeds expectations, confirmation of the availability of funding, and the approval of AAAS. Such increases are available only to Fellows renewing for a full second year.
Executive Branch Salaries for Fellows Hired Directly by Agency:
Salaries for fellows hired directly as temporary civil service employees are determined by their hosting agency and may differ from the stipend levels for fellowships administered by AAAS, or a third party (i.e. stipend funding allocated by agencies and provided to fellows via grants, contracts and other funding agreements). In no case will the salary for Fellows hired directly by agencies be below the GS Grade 12 Step 1 for first-year Fellows or below the GS Grade 12 Step 2 for second-year Fellows.
The federal government maintains its own procedures for evaluating appropriate civil service classifications for positions, as well as the experience, education, and skills of the individuals who fill them. Many agency human resources personnel have collaborated to conform to the AAAS-designated stipend levels. In some cases the agency determination will be based on previous salary only and not years of experience. Therefore, it is possible that AAAS Fellows hired directly by their hosting agency may not qualify for salaries at the GS Grade 12 Step 5 or Step 10, as federal agencies are unlikely to offer salaries at those levels unless a fellow demonstrates that he/she would experience a decrease in salary. Direct-hire fellows who believe they qualify for compensation at a higher level should contact their program manager.
Second-year fellowship compensation for individuals under temporary federal employment arrangements at some host agencies provide potential for an increase beyond the amounts noted above. This is based on performance, a significant increase in responsibilities that would warrant reclassification, and other factors. Step and grade increases are not guaranteed, they cannot exceed the GS 13 level, and they are determined by the employing agency.
Fellows whose stipends are administered by AAAS receive a minimum travel/professional training allowance of $4,000 (Fellows in some assignments may receive higher amounts, as determined by their hosting office). The funds may be used only for fellowship-related travel and for professional training activities, such as attending scientific conferences or for courses that will enhance the Fellow’s skills in his/her fellowship. All travel/training must be pre-approved by the Fellow’s supervisor and AAAS.
Fellows who are hired and paid directly by the hosting office will be supported for approved travel by their office.
2014-15 Relocation Allowance Guidelines
First-year AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellows who receive monthly stipends via AAAS will be provided up to a maximum of $4,000 for properly documented relocation expenses that are incurred to move from outside the greater Washington DC area (See IRS Publication 521 for details).
NOTE: First year executive branch Fellows who are hired directly by their host office and receive a salary directly from the agency are not eligible for reimbursement for moving expenses, as stipulated by federal policy.
If you have questions and/or special circumstances, please contact the Fellowships staff at (202)326-6700. Further details will be provided about the reimbursement proceedure and allowed expenses after you have accepted your fellowship offer.
Most Fellows are responsible for securing their own health insurance coverage. Exceptions include Fellows hired and paid directly by an agency, as they receive health coverage via the agency under the temporary employee status provided by the direct hire fellowship. Fellows in most of the other programs are reimbursed for health insurance (this may not be applicable to some of the Fellows sponsored by other scientific societies).
Below are the 2013-14 maximum reimbursement amounts for Fellows eligible to claim reimbursement for health insurance costs (as detailed in the fellowship offer letter).
- Individual = $ 6,064
- Individual & Child = $ 11,370
- Individual & Spouse/Domestic Partner = $ 13,130
- Family = $ 17,868
Often the best strategy for health insurance coverage is to continue an existing health plan, if that is possible. Because Fellows are not AAAS employees, they cannot be included in the AAAS group health care coverage policy.
AAAS fellowships staff conducts professional development, skill-building and networking events throughout the year for all Science & Technology Policy Fellows. These activities help not only to enhance the Fellows’ knowledge and capabilities, but also to foster interaction and collaborative connections. Activities include Orientation, Educational Seminars, Capacity-Building Workshops, Networking & Outreach Events, and the Annual Retreat.