Zankel FAQs

Zankel Fellowship FAQs

Fellow Applicants

The number of awards fluctuates from year to year. For the 2023-2024 award year, we received nearly 150 applications for 60 spots.

Students interested in applying for a fellowship should visit the website in late February each year to review the eligibility and requirements, learn which projects are accepting fellows for the upcoming school year, and submit an application. The online application opens around March 1 annually. Students are notified of awards on a rolling basis starting in mid-April. The application form requires students to provide information about their education and work experiences, as well as an explanation of why they wish to serve as a Zankel Fellow for the projects of their choice.

If you are shortlisted, a Zankel site sponsor may contact you for an updated resume, a longer personal statement, or to schedule an interview. Please do not submit additional materials unless solicited. 

Your personal statement should describe how your interests, experiences, and educational plans fit the fellowship criteria and requirements, as described on this website. Your statement could be a customized version of what you submitted for your general admission to the College. The personal statement should be one-page, single-spaced, Times New Roman font, size 12.

You are eligible to apply if you are taking or intending to take at least five credits per semester at Teachers College during the Fellowship year. A Certificate of Equivalency (COE) will NO longer be considered as of the 2022-2023 academic year. Please reach out to for more information.

No. The College admits students on a rolling basis from mid-February to August, so if you are a new student you may not be admitted at the time of submitting your application. However, you must have completed the admissions process and submitted your FAFSA to be considered. Awards will be made on a rolling basis from April and following confirmation of your enrollment status.

Yes. International students are eligible to apply for the fellowship. 

Students interested in the Zankel Fellowship must:

  • Be matriculated or fully admitted to a master's or doctoral degree program at Teachers College. Teachers College employees are NOT eligible for this fellowship.
  • Have consecutive enrollment for a minimum of five credits in BOTH the fall and spring semesters.
  • Be eligible to complete a 2024-2025 FAFSA. Please complete one before submitting an application. Note that TC's Federal School Code is: G03979. International students are not able to complete a FAFSA. Please indicate this on your application in the appropriate place. All students must provide a statement of financial need in the application. 
  • Exhibit the interests, skills, experiences and/or characteristics that are a good match to the purpose of the fellowship and the approved projects.
  • Be available to complete the required fellowship during the hours listed in the projects in BOTH the fall and spring semesters.

NOTE: Student teaching assignments and practicum experiences may interfere with fellowship schedules, and it is often difficult to be a fellow and complete student teaching assignments and practicum experiences. Student teaching and practicum experiences CANNOT COUNT for Zankel fellowship work. If you have any questions, please email: 

NOTE: Student teaching assignments and practicum experiences may interfere with fellowship schedules, and it is often difficult to be a fellow and complete student teaching assignments and practicum experiences. Student teaching and practicum experiences CANNOT COUNT for Zankel fellowship work. If you have any questions, please email: 

TC faculty and staff ("Sponsors") who oversee the fellowship placements will judge the merit of your application based on the relevance of your skills, experience, and interests in their projects. 

The Financial Aid Office determines a fellow's financial need based on the FAFSA and the financial need statement in the application. Applicants are advised to submit their FAFSA before submitting their Zankel Fellowship application. Late submission of the FAFSA will delay the decision on whether an applicant is eligible for an award. If you are an international student, your visa status and your financial need statement from the application are reviewed to determine financial eligibility.

Yes. The Fellowship is a one-year award and is not automatically renewable. However, students are eligible to receive up to two years of funding as a Zankel Fellow during their entire time at Teachers College, so you may re-apply for a second year.  

While most fellowships will take place during the school day, some projects require the fellow to be available after school hours. Your award is contingent upon you meeting the time commitments of that placement. Each project has its own schedule, some with more flexibility than others.

If you anticipate a student teaching or practicum commitment during the fellowship year, it is recommended that you contact Amy Hawley Alvarez, Director of Strategic Partnerships Office of the President, at  

Yes. All Zankel Fellowships take place in New York City.

Fellowships take place only at pre-approved sites. Applicants may not propose a new site or research project. Typically, there are about 20-25 sites a year. All sites are overseen by a sponsor who is a TC faculty member or project director. For more information, please read the project descriptions.

All placements take place in New York City in person. It is not a requirement of the fellowship that you live in New York City or in New York State, provided you can attend your site at the required times. 

Yes. The priority deadline is late March, but applications are accepted on a rolling basis until all fellowships are filled. 

You will be asked on the application form to state your top three site preferences. You should put those choices in order of your preference. 

In most cases, sites do not require that your placement interest aligns with your studies, but it might serve as an advantage if the site you are aiming for is department-based or looking for specific subject-area skills that your studies support.  

Please rank your top three preferences when you submit the application. You will be considered for all of those sites.

Notification of awards will be made on a rolling basis from mid-April. 

Yes, we will be notifying all applicants, so if you have not received a response by August, contact as there might be a problem with your registered email address.

Successful applicants have one week to accept the award. If they decline or fail to respond, it is immediately offered to a sponsor's second choice candidate and so on down the waiting list. All candidates remain on a waiting list throughout the year and might be contacted if a fellow withdraws at any point. 


Once you have accepted the Fellowship, this is a good question for your sponsor, whose name and contact information are provided in the award notification. It is recommended that you contact your sponsor early to discuss the placement schedule and confirm your availability. Remember that as a fellow you are required to:

  • Dedicate ten hours of work per week to the project, including a minimum of five hours spent working directly with youth.

  • Fulfill all of the requirements of the project you are chosen for as outlined by your sponsor.

  • Attend an administrative orientation session at the beginning of the fall semester, in early September, as well as any orientation/professional development sessions scheduled by the fellow's site sponsor.

  • Complete a background check through the New York City Department of Education before the start of work in schools. The Zankel Program Director will assist with this.

  • Complete a final report to the Zankel family at the end of the academic year, in February/March.  

You are required to attend a one-hour orientation session, which is usually scheduled during the first two weeks of September. In addition, you will be invited to complete the NYS Mandated Reporter Training course online. While this is not mandatory, it is strongly recommended that anyone working with children participate as it covers identifying and reporting child abuse and the course leads to a certificate. Details of these training opportunities will be emailed to fellows at the beginning of the fall semester. In terms of reporting, the fellowship requires that you submit a final report at the end of your fellowship , which is given to the Zankel family. All other professional development and reporting requirements are set by your sponsor, and you should check with them at the beginning of the year.

It is a good idea to contact your sponsor soon after you have accepted the award, to introduce yourself, thank them for selecting you and to discuss your internship schedule. Some sponsors have limited availability over the summer, but if you still have not managed to reach them by September 1, feel free to contact us at

Your sponsor sets your schedule and hours, and it is a requirement of the fellowship that you are able to attend at these times. Some sponsors have flexibility with the schedule, others do not. It is a good idea to contact your sponsor soon after accepting the award, to discuss the hours and confirm your availability.

If an agreement on hours cannot be reached, your sponsor may legitimately choose to withdraw the fellowship and offer it to another candidate.

The $12,500 will be paid in two installments of $6,250, one for each semester. The funds will be deposited directly into your student account approximately 1-2 weeks into each semester and following confirmation from your sponsor that you are fulfilling the requirements of the fellowship.

The Zankel Fellowship is set up for tuition purposes (deposited directly into your student account each semester). However, if you are receiving other aid/stipends and overpay on the cost of your tuition and expenses, Student Accounts will refund you that money in the middle of the semester. You can therefore potentially receive the Zankel funding as a refund, which can be used for other related education expenses.

Site Sponsors

A sponsor is a project/program/department representative or an individual TC faculty member who supervises one or more Zankel fellows on an internship that involves working in direct service with disadvantaged urban youth for one academic year, for a minimum of five hours a week. The fellowship could take place in a school or organization, so long as it involves direct service with disadvantaged urban youth in New York City. The fellowship may include a research component, as long as the primary service requirements of the fellowship are met. There are a finite number of sponsors selected every year and the sponsorship lasts for one academic year.

Sponsors are responsible for:

  • Selecting their own Zankel Fellow(s) from the applicant pool according to the fellowship selection criteria and their own project needs
  • Working with the academic departments, as appropriate, to identify their preferred candidates
  • Setting the schedule for fellow(s) to ensure at least five hours a week of direct service in addition to planning and preparation time, to an average student commitment of 10 hours/week.
  • Setting and overseeing any reporting requirements that are necessary for the fellowship placement
  • Liaising with the schools or agencies where the fellow(s) provide service, including corresponding with principals regarding any fingerprinting or background checks that are required for the placement
  • Securing Institutional Review Board approval where necessary for any human subjects research undertaken off-campus in association with the Zankel Fellowship
  • Mentoring the fellow(s), providing updates as requested by the Zankel Fellowship team and facilitating the completion of an end-of-year report by the fellow(s)

Faculty members are invited to apply to sponsor Zankel Fellows through campus wide announcements in late January. Only full-time faculty members are eligible to apply. If you would like to apply to sponsor a Zankel fellow, or have questions about the process and criteria for selection, please contact


Yes. It is not possible to recruit Zankel Fellows to participate in a project unless you apply to be a sponsor.

No. The site must be located in New York City, and it is advised that you consider the commute a fellow would have to undertake to reach your site.

Project proposals are reviewed once a year by a committee comprised of representatives from the President’s Office, Office of Development, and TC faculty. The Zankel Fellowship Committee also determines the number of fellows for each project. Every effort is made to approve projects from a broad spectrum of departments. Selections are based on the following considerations:

  • How closely the project aligns with the donor’s requirements (i.e., working with disadvantaged inner-city youth for five or more hours a week).
  • The number of project applications from each department. 
  • An applicant has an established partnership with a school, or is in the process of establishing one, when they submit a project for consideration.
  • An applicant does not plan to take sabbatical leave during the academic year for which they are submitting an application. Though adjunct faculty and lecturers may also apply, preference will be given to applications submitted by tenured or tenure-track faculty. 
  • As per terms of the fellowship, a minimum of 50% plus one of the total number of Zankel Fellows awarded each year must provide direct service in reading/literacy or math. For example, if there are 60 fellows awarded, 31 of them must be engaged in reading/literacy or math support. The Committee carefully reviews projects to ensure that this requirement is met.

In addition to the five or more hours of direct service with youth, you may schedule appropriate hours for planning and preparation. The total weekly commitment is ten hours. 

If you still have questions about the selection process, email: or contact Amy Hawley Alvarez, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Office of the President at:

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