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Stokes Scholarship Program FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions: Stokes Scholarship Program

I will graduate spring 2014. Am I eligible for the Stokes Scholarship Program?

The intent of the Stokes Scholarship Program is to develop students for future permanent employment while they pursue a degree relevant to NGA’s mission. Students who graduate from a degree during or prior to the spring 2013 semester are not eligible for the Stokes Scholarship Program, unless they indicate that they plan to enroll in a relevant degree program for fall 2014. Students who will graduate from their current degree program (i.e. associate’s) but wish to be considered for the summer 2014 Stokes Scholarship Program must use the “Education in Progress” field on the application page to indicate the school and degree program in which they plan to enroll for the fall 2014 (i.e. bachelor’s) in order to be considered for the program. If accepted, their offer will be contingent upon acceptance and enrollment in the indicated degree program for the fall 2014 semester.


Does NGA offer internships/scholarships for individuals who have already completed their degree program(s)?

At this time, NGA does not have scholarship or internship opportunities for individuals who are not students. Applicants who have already completed their education are encouraged to visit the “Current Openings” section of www.nga.mil for a listing of regular permanent positions.


Are students who are not enrolled in a degree program but are seeking a certificate in a field such as Geography or Human Resource Management eligible for the Stokes Scholarship Program?

Students who are not enrolled in a relevant degree program are not eligible for the Stokes Scholarship Program.


I am a graduate student; am I eligible for the Stokes Scholarship Program?

The intent of the Stokes Scholarship Program is to recruit high-caliber undergraduate students who have demonstrated financial need and provide them with financial assistance to complete their undergraduate degrees. Graduate students are not eligible for the Stokes Scholarship Program, and will not be considered. Graduate students interested in opportunities with NGA may consider the Student Employment Program (application concurrent with the Stokes Scholarship Program), or regular positions.


My cumulative GPA is just under 3.0/4.0; can I be considered for the Stokes Scholarship Program?

NGA’s Stokes Scholarship Program requires a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0/4.0 at all times; unfortunately, this requirement is non-waiverable. Please consider applying for the Stokes Scholarship Program at a later date, or exploring our regular permanent positions.


I have studied abroad, or plan to study abroad in a coming semester. Will this affect my eligibility for the Stokes Scholarship Program?

Although study abroad does not in and of itself preclude applicants from eligibility for the Stokes Scholarship Program, it may result in a lengthier clearance process, which can be problematic for students nearing their graduation dates (selectees cannot be admitted into the program once they have graduated, unless they enroll in and pursue another relevant degree program). Additionally, study abroad may impact the ability of applicants to complete required pre-employment testing, which can result in delays to selectees’ ability to enter on duty with the agency.


I will not graduate from my current degree program until spring 2017; if I am accepted into the Stokes Scholarship Program for the summer 2014, will I have to reapply if I wish to participate in the program the following summer?

Once accepted into the program, scholars who perform successfully during work periods and continue to meet program requirements are invited back to the Agency each year until they graduate. Scholars who do not perform successfully and/or fail to meet program requirements will be removed from the program and required to reapply for consideration if they wish to reenter the program at a later date. Scholars who resign or are removed from the program due to unsatisfactory performance or failure to meet program requirements will be subject to repayment of the tuition assistance provided by NGA.


If I am accepted into the Stokes Scholarship Program, can I be hired as a permanent employee before I complete my degree program?

Student employees are hired by the agency with the intent of mentoring and developing them while they earn a degree relevant to NGA’s mission; therefore, students will not be eligible to convert to permanent employment or compete for other NGA positions while they are in the Stokes Scholarship Program. Students who perform satisfactorily and continue to meet all program requirements will be noncompetitively converted to permanent employment upon graduation from the degree program for which they were accepted into the Stokes Scholarship Program.


If I am selected for participation in the Stokes Scholarship Program what will happen next?

If you are selected for the Stokes Scholarship Program, you will be contacted by NGA and extended a verbal offer of agreement. If you accept, your offer will be finalized, and you will receive pre-employment paperwork within the mail in approximately two weeks. It is important to follow all instructions contained in the paperwork, and return it by the date indicated. Once your paperwork has been received, your pre-employment processing (to include the security clearance process) will begin.


How long will it take to complete the security clearance process?

The clearance process varies from individual to individual. The Stokes Scholarship Program conducts its application and selection process early to ensure that the majority of selectees are cleared in time to start no later than June of 2014, however, depending on individual circumstances, some selectees’ clearances may take longer.


What if I don’t clear in time to start next summer?

You cannot begin your employment with NGA until you have successfully completed all required pre-employment testing and the processing for your security clearance. We make selections for the program in December/January to provide adequate time for our Security office to process your clearance prior to your summer break. Occasionally, a student’s clearance will not be completed prior to the beginning of the summer. If the clearance is completed during the summer, we will work with the student to try to arrange for them to complete as much of their summer employment period as possible. If the clearance is delayed beyond this, employment will be delayed until the following year, provided qualifications are still met.


If I don’t get my clearance in time to do a summer internship with NGA before the start of the next school year, will NGA still provide tuition assistance?

NGA cannot provide pay, benefits, or tuition assistance until an employee has entered on duty. You will begin receiving tuition assistance the semester after successful completion of your first summer internship period. Because the length of time to complete a security clearance varies by individual, it is strongly recommended that students receiving offers of employment with the Stokes Scholarship Program make back-up financial arrangements for books, tuition, and other educational and living expenses in the event that they are unable to enter on duty the summer after they receive their offer of employment.


Does the Stokes Scholarship Program provide funding for summer housing?

Unlike the Student Employment Program, the Stokes Scholarship Program provides funding for housing during summer internships for scholars whose home of record (defined as where the scholar resides for the purpose of attending school) is greater than 50 miles from their assigned NGA work location. NGA does not provide funding for scholars whose home of record is within 50 miles of their assigned NGA work location. During the school year, the program provides no funding for housing.


Does the Stokes Scholarship Program assist scholars with locating suitable housing for summer internship periods?

Unfortunately, the Stokes Scholarship Program does not have the resources to provide in-depth assistance to students seeking housing for summer internship periods. Ultimately, it is scholars’ responsibility to locate and secure housing, if needed. Scholarship Program Managers have compiled a short list of possible housing options in the St. Louis and Washington DC metro areas to help scholars start their housing search.


Will my work location be accessible by public transportation?

Accessibility to public transportation will depend upon the location of your work assignment. Several, although not all, NGA facilities are easily accessible via public transportation.


Is there a way to carpool/rideshare?

Yes. After you have been awarded a position with NGA and have reported for duty, you will be able to find rideshare information on the NGA intranet.


How does the selection process work?

Online application packages received by the deadline are screened for completeness and minimum qualifications. Applicants that meet program eligibility requirements in regard to relevance of degree pursued, anticipated graduation date, and quality of resume will be contacted via email with a request to provide an official transcript and a copy of their family’s most recent tax return to finalize their application. Completed application packages are then reviewed to verify that cumulative GPA and income levels are in line with program requirements, before being reviewed by NGA directorates to make selections and determine the best fit for employment based on agency requirements.


Are internship opportunities available for new Stokes Program Scholars prior to Summer 2014?

No. Selectees from the 3 September – 11 October, 2013 application period will be for the summer 2014 internship.


I understand NGA receives hundreds of applications for this scholarship opportunity. What can I do to ensure my resume stands out and increase the chances that it is forwarded to hiring offices for consideration?

There are several steps you can take to compile a comprehensive application, even if you have limited work experience. The first step is to meet all submission deadlines, and follow all application instructions carefully! Any materials submitted after a deadline will not be accepted, and the applicant will not be considered for employment. Additionally, applicants’ ability to follow instructions will be carefully evaluated during the application period. It is also important to highlight your relevant work experience. For instance, if you have done any work or participated in research projects relevant to the mission of NGA, make sure to expand upon this in your resume. If you have work experience that is not directly relevant, go ahead and make note of the experience and highlight the ways in which you feel it is applicable or may be of benefit to NGA. Lastly, submit a cover letter to explain how your area of study and your interests align with the NGA mission and how you feel you can contribute. A cover letter is a great opportunity to make your application stand out!


I missed the application period. Will there be another opportunity to apply for opportunities for the summer 2014?

Applications will only be accepted for the summer 2014 Stokes Scholarship Program internship period 3 September through 11 October, 2013. Students who do not apply during this timeframe should consider applying when the opportunity re-opens during fall 2014, or consider the regular positions posted under “Current Openings.”


I live or attend school within proximity of an NGA location; may I request placement at this site? During the application process, students may indicate their preferred location for placement; however, although this information will be taken into consideration, placement decisions will ultimately be made based on the needs of the agency.

I am not available to spend 10 weeks with NGA during the summer. Can I still be considered for an internship?

NGA makes a considerable investment in obtaining security clearances for Stokes Program Scholars and providing on-the-job training/mentoring, year round pay/benefits, and tuition assistance. Additionally, as part of the Stokes Scholarship Program, students who perform successfully and meet program requirements may be non-competitively converted to permanent employment upon graduation. Therefore, a work period of at least 10 weeks each summer is required to ensure students have sufficient on-the-job experience to contribute to NGA’s mission.


What type of work will I do?

NGA’s Stokes Program Scholars receive real work experience to prepare them for future employment with NGA. Stokes Scholarship Program assignments are based on entry level professional job descriptions and will involve a great deal of independent work under the guidance of a senior level supervisor and mentor. Job assignments may involve research, drafting reports and presentations, and/or working on projects which require technical knowledge.


What hours will I work?

The typical workday at NGA is 8.5 hours (1/2 hour of which is uncompensated for lunch). Your actual schedule will be determined in discussion with your supervisor when you arrive, based on office needs, and taking into account your job performance. NGA also offers flexible work schedules with supervisory approval.


What is the dress code for the agency?

In general, the dress for civilians at the agency is conservative business or business casual attire. Students accepted into the program will need a suit for attending meetings/making presentations, etc.


What rate of pay will I receive?

Student employees are compensated based on the degree level they are pursuing while in the program. Undergraduates are paid at the GS 4-1. In addition to base pay, Student Employees also receive Local Market Supplement (locality) for the geographic location to which they are assigned. Please visit the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) website at for 2013 pay and locality tables.


Will I receive health benefits?

Yes; Stokes scholars are eligible for health and life insurance.


Are there provisions for annual and sick leave?

You will accrue annual and sick leave. Because Stokes Scholars remain in a full-time pay status year round, and continue to be paid when they are attending school, they are expected to devote time equivalent to a 40 hour work week to the pursuit of their degree, and must contact their supervisor to be placed in leave status if they must miss a class, lab, or workshop.