Frequently-Asked Questions from Students

What does the application require? Are official transcripts required?
The application requires some general information about your educational background, skills, and work experience. It requires students to select 3 projects that they are interested in and a short explanation of why they would be the best fit for each of those projects. The application also requires a more general 500-word essay explaining why they are interested in GSEP and how it will help them accomplish their professional goals. Students will also be asked to submit a resume and 2 recommendations. An official transcript is not required.

How do my recommenders submit their recommendations?
Recommendation forms are only accepted via the electronic application system. Emailed letters are not accepted. Once you enter their contact information in the electronic application system, your recommenders are emailed a personalized link directing them to a short recommendation form. The form asks recommenders to complete a few Likert-scale type questions ranking the student’s skills and to answer some short answer questions. In addition, there is space to paste in an optional 500-word letter if desired.

The application says one recommendation should come from my graduate program advisor. I do not have much interaction with my advisor. Can I have another professor or employer submit it instead?
Yes. We would prefer it if the recommender is a professor who can speak to you quantitative and qualitative skills but for first year students who may not have taken many courses yet, an employer recommendation will be accepted.

Can I apply if I am an international student/have a temporary student visa?
No. Only US Citizens or Legal Permanent Residents (Green card holders) may apply. GSEP is federally funded through a grant program intended to develop the future public health workforce. Particularly in lean fiscal times, the government is risk averse and needs to be particularly confident that the student will stay in the US and join the public health workforce after graduation.

Can I apply if I do not have an MCH concentration?
Yes. Students with an MCH concentration or demonstration of past MCH experience may be given first preference. However, we recognize that not all MPH programs offer an MCH concentration.

Can I apply if I have already graduated?
No. This is not a post-graduate experience. Students must be enrolled in a graduate program when completing their GSEP project. Many students use their GSEP project as their final practicum project needed in order to graduate.

GSEP materials state that the project is 12 weeks long. Are a certain number of hours required? Can I work part time for more than 12 weeks?
Students must work on site at their agency full-time for 12 weeks. “Full-time” can range from 35 to 40 hours per week, based on what the individual agency considers full time. Students may take off holidays when their agency is closed (Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day). When determining the starting and ending dates for their 12 weeks with the agency, students may want to negotiate a few personal days for settling in when they first move or sight-seeing in their new town. For instance, a student might move to the location and stay there for 13 weeks, taking 1 week off for vacation.

How do I get paid?
GSEP provides the student with a $5,500 stipend based on the completion of 3 deliverables spread over the course of their 12 week project. Deliverables are due at 10, 30, and 60 days. Once a deliverable is received, Altarum’s accounting department will cut the student a check within 2 weeks. Direct deposit is not available; the check will be mailed to the student’s designated address.

How do I pay taxes for the stipend?
GSEP participants are classified in the accounting system as independent subcontractors. The student will receive a 1099 tax form in January. GSEP is not legally allowed to provide the student with any tax preparation advice beyond the fact that the $5,500 is meant to be a stipend to cover travel and housing related expenses and is not meant to be an hourly wage.

Still have a question for us?
Email gsep@altarum.org or call 202-842-2000.