Graduate Student Fellowships

Apply for a fellowship


Apply for the Graduate Student Fellowship Program at NCOA and do work that improves the health and economic security of older adults.

Are you a talented graduate or professional student with a demonstrated interest and prior experience working on behalf of older adults? Our Fellowship Program offers broad exposure to cutting-edge, transformational work in the field of aging with leading experts in the field.

Why apply for NCOA’s Graduate Student Fellowship Program

This opportunity is for you if:

  • You are a graduate or professional student with a passion for working on behalf of older adults. (Unfortunately, our program is not available for undergraduates.)
  • You have prior experience working with or on behalf of older adults and have some familiarity with health and/or benefits policy.
  • You are currently enrolled in a post-college degree program in the areas of public policy, economics, public health, law, business, or other fields relevant to the work of NCOA.
  • You have strong communication and analytical skills, as evidenced by your writing sample, cover letter, and resume.

Program overview

Our program provides you with real-world experience in improving the lives of vulnerable older adults, particularly in the areas of economic security and healthy aging. All Student Fellows receive a stipend.

NCOA offers:

  • Summer Program: 10 weeks full-time (May-July)
  • Fall and Spring Program: 10-12 weeks part-time

You may work in one or more of the following areas* within NCOA:

  • Benefits Access, including Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP, LIHEAP, and more
  • Evidence-Based Health Programs
  • Public Policy & Advocacy

* Assignments are based on qualifications, but preferences of accepted Fellows will be accommodated as much as possible.

What to expect

Through our program, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Help shape new ideas, collaborate, innovate, and advocate for seniors.
  • Attend hearings and policy briefings on Capitol Hill.
  • Learn from peers and leading experts in Washington, DC.

Day one

You’ll participate in a first day on-boarding process that includes an introduction to your NCOA team, meetings with your supervisors and other NCOA leaders, and your first assignment.

On the job

You’ll be assigned to meaningful projects from the start. Every week, you’ll attend meetings with your direct supervisor, your team, or other NCOA leaders to learn how your assignments connect to the global NCOA transformational mission.

Depending on your assignments, you may attend policy briefings, hearings on Capitol Hill, and programs designed specifically for students at our partner organizations. You’ll also have opportunities to attend briefings on data in policy and program development and lunch with our CEO to learn about a disciplined focus on transformational change in aging.

Sample assignments

Previous Summer Associates worked on projects such as these:


  • Researching statutes and regulations on government assistance programs requiring access for those with limited English proficiency.
  • Researching opportunities for data-sharing to increase benefits access while protecting privacy rights.


  • Preparing analysis and comments on proposed home and community-based services regulations.
  • Analyzing and preparing PowerPoint slides on the Supreme Court’s Affordable Care Act ruling concerning the Medicaid expansion.
  • Preparing written analyses and summaries of various policy proposals.
  • Analyzing opportunities in health reform for dissemination of chronic disease self-management programs.
  • Assessing state compliance with statutes mandating easier access to Medicare Savings Programs and Medicare Part D Extra Help Low Income Subsidies.


  • Writing an issue brief on evidence-based health promotion program sustainability.
  • Preparing written analysis and summaries of home and community-based long-term care options in health reform.
  • Creating an Evidence-Based Disease Prevention & Health Promotion Program Chart for the Administration for Community Living/Administration on Aging.
  • Preparing fact sheets on the key figures and statistics concerning health care fraud and abuse.
  • Preparing fact sheets on the rights of elders in debt collection and foreclosure mitigation for staff and volunteers of senior economic security centers.
  • Creating an aging map to visually demonstrate the changing demographics from 2010-2030.

Frequently asked questions

1. Do I have to work in DC for this Fellowship program?
Yes, our program is exclusively housed in our headquarters near the nation’s capital.

2. Do you provide room and board?
No, but selected Fellows will be given information on how to obtain summer housing.

3. How much is the stipend?
TBD, but last year it was $3,500.

4. I’m an undergrad. Do I qualify?
No, not for the Fellowship Program.

5. I’m graduating this spring. Do I qualify?
You may apply and your application will be considered; however, the Fellowship Program does not lead to employment at NCOA.

Have more questions? Please email us.