Wednesday, March 5, 2014

April 15 - CGS Resolution

CGS logo

All programs should be aware of the April 15 'National Signing Day' date, and its significance when creating or revising their funding offer letters for admitted students.

The information below is intended for all University of Minnesota graduate programs that offer funding to admitted students. Also included are examples of acceptable wording for funding offer letters.

CGS Resolution Background:

The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) has published a statement entitled "Resolution Regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees and Assistants" since the mid 1960s. The Resolution is concerned with the conditions surrounding the acceptance of offers of certain kinds of graduate student financial assistance, namely, scholarships, fellowships, traineeships, and assistantships. The timeline applies to applicants for the upcoming fall semester. The general spirit of the Resolution is that:  

  • students should have an opportunity to consider more than one offer and should have until April 15 to do so,
  • institutions and students should be able to view acceptances in force after April 15 as binding,
  • everyone should know what the rules are,
  • an offer by the institution and its acceptance by the student constitute an agreement which both are expected to honor.

The intent of the Resolution is to provide a uniform and widely acceptable framework that provides protection for both student and institution. The Resolution acknowledges that students, after having accepted an offer, may change their minds and withdraw that acceptance.

Clear wording about acceptance deadlines should be included in all funding offer letters to admitted students. Below are examples of acceptable offer letter wording for programs offering students funding in the form of assistantships, fellowships, scholarships, or traineeships. Many graduate programs also provide a paper copy or a link to the April 15 resolution.

Example 1:

Because of our policy of limited admission, we would appreciate a response from you, in writing, before April 15. If you should decide not to join us, we will then be able to offer your place to an applicant on our waiting list. You are, however, under no obligation to respond to this offer of financial support prior to April 15 as indicated on the enclosed policy statement of the Council of Graduate Schools. You may wait or change your mind any time up to that date. However, an acceptance given or left in force after April 15 constitutes a contract which you are expected to honor.

Example 2:

We would like to hear from you as soon as you make a decision regarding enrollment in our program but you must respond no later than April 15, 2008. We will have to withdraw our offer if we have not heard from you by that time. By agreement of the member institutions of the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), you are free to postpone your decision until April 15, or change your decision before that date. After that, you need a release from the program you have already accepted in order to accept an alternative offer. A copy of the CGS resolution is enclosed. By accepting our offer, you also agree to abide by the terms and conditions outlined above.