Congrats @ff524 :) my MS in Math program is about 99% international Chinese - I'm one of probably 2 or 3 Americans in the program. Our math PhD program is not as extreme, but the vast majority are still international Chinese, a German, a Canadian, two Americans that I know of. The Americans are on NSF grants, gotten after they started their PhDs here. (Unfortunately, their stipends don't increase, after receiving the grants.)
Based on the little data that I have, it seems that there is "a great of NSF grant money" available to the very few American PhD students in the STEM fields, and that the hardest part about the process is just persevering with the application process. Like, you literally just have to ask for the money, and the funds will be there. What are your thoughts? Do you know of American PhD students in the STEM fields who have actually gotten rejected for NSF grants?
A topologist professor told us that after WWII, he got all sorts of funding from the gov't, even when the funding agencies (NSF maybe?) had no clue what his math research area was. Literally, the person on the phone would tell our prof. back in the day, "that sounds interesting, we're going to fund it..." this prof said today's situation is a lot more different, and funds are much harder to come by now... @ff524
@User001 In 2015, there were 16,500 applicants for 2,000 fellowships. That acceptance rate (10%-15%) is pretty typical for the GRFP, I think. Although of course the group of applicants is very self-selected
There are a few other similar federal fellowships for STEM PhD students (e.g. NDSEG) but those programs are not nearly as large (don't award as many fellowships)
Also, these awards are highly skewed towards very prestigious universities. e.g. in my year there were about 50 awards in field, and about 50% of those went to students at 5 highly ranked engineering schools.
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