GEMS Blog for Advisors

March 18, 2019

April 15th Resolution – Council of Graduate Schools

This is a copy of the e-mail that was sent from the Office of the Interim Dean of the Graduate School on March 12. It is reposted here for your reference:

Interim Dean Rebecca Aanerud would like to pass along this message from the Council of Graduate Schools.  Its purpose is to remind UW graduate programs about their obligations concerning the April 15 Resolution

CGS has provided a FAQ and a sample letter (both available here).  We encourage you to adapt the CGS sample letter, and to share it with your graduate degree program leaders and unit heads.

From: Ortega, Suzanne T. <>
Sent: Monday, October 8, 2018 7:31 AM
Subject: April 15th Resolution

Dear colleagues;


Your institution renewed its support in October 2014 for the “Resolution Regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees and Assistants,” also known as the “April 15 Resolution.”  I write to remind you of the purposes and obligations of this resolution, as well as to provide you with a draft letter (attached) that we encourage you to share with your graduate degree program leaders and unit heads.


The April 15 Resolution was developed by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) in the 1960s to protect both the institutions that offer financial support to admitted students and the prospective students who receive them.  From the applicant perspective, a common deadline for acceptance of a financial support offer provides them with sufficient time to receive and carefully consider all offers prior to making an important educational (and career) decision.  For the institutions and programs offering financial support, the common deadline ensures that all participating institutions will compete fairly for high-quality applicants, and that their scarce time and financial resources are not put in jeopardy.  Programs that do not adhere to the April 15 Resolution run the risk of pressuring prospective students into early commitments who may later renege upon their commitment when they receive an offer that better aligns with their career aspirations.  Prospective students who are forced to retract their acceptance of financial support due to early commitment may feel as though their careers have been put in jeopardy even before they are started, especially in professional communities that are small.  Requiring – or even suggesting – that admitted students formally accept an offer of financial support prior to April 15 puts both parties in awkward and potentially embarrassing positions.


Happily, the April 15 Resolution has proved effective and the vast majority of programs at participating institutions abide by both the spirit and the letter of the guidelines.  I would simply like to remind you of your institution’s commitment to the resolution, and ask that you inform all new and continuing graduate program directors of their obligations on an annual basis.  A draft letter is enclosed to assist you in the communication process.  You may find it helpful to send this reminder out at the beginning of your periodic admissions cycles and again as the April 15 deadline approaches.  We’ve also attached an FAQ document that addresses questions that we have received about the April 15 Resolution.


The deadline for acceptance of financial aid offers is April 15, 2019, at midnight (late Monday, early Tuesday) in the time zone of your institution.


As with your own institutional policies and procedures, the April 15 Resolution undergoes periodic revision and renewal.  You may remember that CGS distributed a brief survey last May to collect your thoughts and concerns regarding the purpose, effectiveness, and optimum deadline date for the “April 15 Resolution.”  The resolution is currently under review by the CGS Board and recommendations for reaffirmation will be announced in early 2019.



Suzanne T. Ortega


Council of Graduate Schools

One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 230

Washington, DC 20036

t 202-461-3852