Information for Fellows and Finalists


Congratulations on being selected as a Knauss Fellow! To help you navigate your fellowship year, we have prepared the information below.

Anytime before or during your fellowship year, we encourage you to call us with any comments or questions. Remember, because Maryland Sea Grant pays for this fellowship, you need to keep us informed of your activities and travel needs throughout the fellowship. Consider us your "go-to" group for any issues related to your fellowship experience.

Award Amounts and Schedule

Amounts of stipends and benefits vary depending on the year of your fellowship. Find specifics and a calendar of key dates for your class.

Before You Begin Your Fellowship

Fellowship Start and End Dates

The award start date and host start date are February 1. Your stipend period will begin on February 1 and will end on January 31 of the following year.

Stipend and Benefits -- Maryland Sea Grant


Your fellowship provides an annual stipend which may vary from class to class (see Award Information for your class). Stipends will be paid every two weeks for 26 increments over the course of your fellowship. As an example, for a stipend of $47,500, you would be paid $1,826.92 before taxes every two weeks. To ensure that you receive your paycheck on the first scheduled payday after your February 1 start date, you must work with Maryland Sea Grant to complete the necessary payroll documentation by the orientation in January

Federal Taxes

Generally, you will be taxed for FICA at 7.65 percent (Social Security and Medicare taxes). As an example, for a stipend of $47,500, $3,634 would be taken from your paychecks and another $3,634 would be paid from your remaining fellowship funds. You are also eligible for federal income tax withholding which you may select when you fill out your payroll paperwork. See details from the IRS about federal taxes and withholding. Please note as state employers we are not able to provide tax advice.

State Taxes

The jurisdiction where you will be living during your fellowship (Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia) is probably where you will pay state taxes. You must select the appropriate state when you fill out your payroll paperwork.

Please provide all payroll documentation to Maryland Sea Grant by mid-January.

Re-confirm Your Start Date

Stay in e-mail contact with your host office, NSGO, and MDSG after you are assigned to a host and before the fellowship starts. Use Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. if you no longer have access to your college e-mail account. Re-confirm the start date with your host in mid-January. This will serve two purposes. It will remind your host that you are coming and give you an opportunity to ask about any necessary reading, opportunities to visit the office prior to the start, and possible early travel opportunities. Contact Maryland Sea Grant to make sure that your paperwork for pay and benefits that you submitted in early January will be processed and benefits in place by your start date.

Submit Photo and Biographical Sketch to Maryland Sea Grant

We highlight our new MDSG Knauss Fellows in Maryland Sea Grant’s magazine Chesapeake Quarterly. To help us do this, we ask you to send us a photo and biographical sketch by early January. The photo preferably would be a field or outside shot of you alone. The resolution should be at least 300 DPI and the size at least 3X5 inches. We also need a summary paragraph (maximum 250 words) about you and your placement office. Details that highlight special things you have done (Peace Corps, volunteer, exotic research places) add to the interest of the biography. Examples are shown on our Current Graduate Fellows page.


If you are relocating, you may use non-stipend fellowship funds to help defray moving expenses if you are moving more than 50 miles to DC. Allowable reimbursement for moving expenses includes travel and mileage to house hunt/move and rental of a moving truck. You must use a travel reimbursement form to request reimbursement. Remember, if you are moving, you can change your address with the post office, locate contact information and sign up for utilities and services (newspaper, cable, phone, gas, internet, etc.), and obtain community information at Reimbursed moving expenses are considered taxable income.

During the Fellowship Year

Once you start your fellowship, we will continue to work with you on all administrative and travel associated with the award. You must also submit interim and final fellowship reports (September and January), to submit two blog entries to Fellowship Experiencesas well as to complete the necessary paperwork to remove you from our payroll and to submit any travel for which you want approval and reimbursement. 


If you have fellowship funds remaining after tuition, placement week, moving, and other costs, this can be used for "degree-related," "fellowship-related," or "office-related" travel or during your fellowship year.

Approval for Domestic Travel

The fellow’s host and the sponsoring Sea Grant associate director must approve all travel in advance. A travel request email should include the destination, purpose of travel, approximate costs, likely airlines and flight numbers, and travel dates. This email is initiated by the fellow and approved by the host office. The fellow can then begin the approval process for a "travel request" in the university's Concur travel system. Once the request is approved, the fellow can begin booking travel. Support is provided by Jeannette Connors and Dr. Michael Allen at Maryland Sea Grant. This process must be completed 30 days prior to departure to ensure adequate opportunity for the host's and the Sea Grant associate director's comment and approval. The university's travel rules, processes and help guides are available here. Note that airfare must be booked through Concur. Reimbursement for expenses occurs after travel is complete and is initiated by the traveler.

Approval for Foreign Travel

Foreign travel is a little more complicated. You still must route the same travel request email as for domestic travel. You must also comply with the requirements of the Fly America Act, which means we require a full itinerary with all flight legs and likely flight numbers. You must submit your travel request email and host approval to Maryland Sea Grant at least 45 days prior to departure. 

Remember, you cannot book any travel expenses before travel is approved by Maryland Sea Grant or you risk not being reimbursed.


Make sure you save all your receipts. This includes airfare, registration fees, abstract fees, hotel, parking, taxi, metro, internet access in your hotel room, etc. The university follows federal per diem guidelines for meals.  You do not need to show receipts to receive these rates; however, you should not request reimbursement for meals that are included in the costs of your travel (e.g. free hotel breakfast, lunch included in a conference registration fee). 


Reimbursement for personal vehicle travel is reimbursed at the State of Maryland rate.

Filing and Receiving Reimbursement

Once you have completed travel, you must submit your expense statement in Concur with all appropriate receipts. Your statement will be reviewed by Jeannette Connors and approved by the associate director. You will receive reimbursement two to four weeks after you submit your expense statement and receipts.

Business Cards

While you are on your fellowship: network, network, network! Remember to take a stack of your business cards with you everywhere you go. Order cards the first week of work as they take anywhere from two weeks to two months to get to you. Some offices will pay for this; in others, you must pay for this. You are not allowed to use fellowship travel funds to pay for this expense or any other materials and supplies. 

Other Concerns

We urge you to visit the NOAA Knauss website for information on other topics that might make your fellowship year more enjoyable:

  • Voting
  • Vehicle registration, driver's license, parking, etc.
  • Gyms
  • NOAA/NIH social clubs
  • Banking
  • Getting started

Maryland Sea Grant Contacts

Dr. Michael Allen, Associate Director for Research and Administration

Jeannette Connors, Travel Coordinator

Maryland Sea Grant College
5825 University Research Court Suite 1350
College Park, MD 20740

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