The National Science Foundation made a significant change to their eligibility guidelines for the Graduate Research Fellowship Program in 2016. Graduate students can apply only once for the grant, as opposed to twice in the past. The end result is that seniors going to graduate school and planning careers in research should be strongly encouraged to apply. They will be more competitive than in the past, and the senior year will be the only time that they get the practice of completing the application along with feedback from reviewers on the application.
Please encourage your bright and high-achieving students who are going into a field funded by NSF to consider applying. The deadline for Geosciences and Life Sciences is October 24, 2017.
Even though the NSF does not require a University of Portland endorsement, the Office of Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement is more than willing to work with students in the preparation of an application. For more information about the program, visit this link. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.