FAQs for Community Organizations

Which organizations are eligible to apply to the CONNECT Program?

The CONNECT Program is open to any organization with a research, data or program evaluation-related challenge. Organizations do not need to be based in Texas to submit a project request. 

When can my organization apply to be matched with a CONNECT Fellow?

There are three upcoming opportunities to submit projects to be matched with CONNECT Fellows. These opportunities are concurrent to the University of Texas at Austin schedule - Summer, Fall and Spring semesters. See below for project submission deadlines for each cohort.

  • Summer 2024: March 15
  • Fall 2024: July 12
  • Spring 2025: November 1

Can my organization participate in the CONNECT Program more than one time? 

Definitely. In fact, many of the projects we help organizations to source take place in phases over more than one project cohort.

What is the difference between a CONNECT Fellow and an intern?

CONNECT Fellows are specialized consultants for community organizations. They have expertise in data evaluation and measurement, produce specific deliverables and work tied to an agreed upon scope of work, and provide services on a limited time basis (typically 12 - 16 weeks, unless a project spans multiple semesters). CONNECT Fellows are always awarded a fellowship to recognize their participation in the program and can also receive academic credit as well, on occasion. 

Interns act as temporary staff members of an organization and are (usually) much more embedded within an organization than a CONNECT Fellow. They often perform a variety of tasks throughout their time with an organization. Typically, they receive on-the-job training that is often tied to their career goal(s) or area of study and as a result, benefit from regular guidance and/or coaching from the organization they are placed with. Interns often receive academic credit for fulfilling an internship requirement. Internships are commonly viewed as learn-first opportunities and are not always compensated. 

For a more detailed explanation about the difference between a CONNECT Fellow and an intern, click here.

Which graduate programs do CONNECT Fellows come from?

The CONNECT program is open to any graduate student (Master's or PhD students) currently enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin.

What is the timeline for a typical project engagement?

Use the following links to view timeline details for current and upcoming project cohorts: Spring 2024, Summer 2024 and Fall 2024.

How does the matching process work?

Step 1: Organizations submit their project requests via an online form.

Step 2: CONNECT follows-up with organizations to collaboratively develop a project scope, share important dates and logistical information, and provide the organization with information about our program participation fee.  

Step 3: Students tell us about themselves via a short, online form.

Step 4: Matches are then determined based on project requirements and students’ availability, skillset, experience, and interests.

Step 5: Organization notifications are sent out via email to all matched organizations. Organizations receive information on the student they have been matched to and have the choice to accept or deny their match.

Step 6: Official match notifications are then sent out to the students. CONNECT then begins coordinating the initial project kick-off meeting.

What types of information is my organization required to submit through the CONNECT Program's online intake form? 

Click here to preview the information requested in our online intake form. Please note, you do not need to have your project fully fleshed out prior to completing the intake form. Just be sure to submit your project idea(s) by the corresponding deadline of the cohort you would like to be a part of.    

Can my organization interview the CONNECT Fellow that is matched with our project?

Organizations do not have the opportunity to interview the CONNECT Fellow(s) matched with their project(s). To ensure that CONNECT suggests the optimal match for your project, we encourage you to provide us with as much detailed information as possible regarding “non-negotiable” skills and qualities you would like your CONNECT Fellow to have. When your organization is notified of its suggested CONNECT Fellow match, you will be provided with the Fellow's profile and resume to review prior to accepting or declining your match suggestion.

Is there a cost to participate in the CONNECT program? 

Yes, all organizations successfully matched with a CONNECT Fellow and are charged on a per project (semester) basis. Program fees are used to cover the costs of student recruitment and fellowships (awarded to graduate student consultants) and general operating costs of the program. 

The following sliding fee scale is used for nonprofit and public entitity organizations (e.g. government, school districts): 

  • Less $500K annual operating budget: $2,000 program fee
  • $500K - $2M annual operating budget: $4,000 program fee
  • Over $2M annual operating budget: $6,000 program fee

Note: CONNECT recognizes there will be organizations for which the program fee may be prohibitive. In these cases, organizations will be invited to join a scholarship pool for the opportunity to be selected to receive a full or partial fee waiver. Only nonprofit organizations are eligible to receive a fee waiver.

For profit organizations will be charged a fee between $5,000 - $10,000. Contact alyssa.studer@austin.utexas.edu for additional details. 

How does my organization pay the administrative fee?

Participating organizations will be sent one invoice after their project kick-off meeting and will be given 60 days to complete their payment. Invoices can be paid via check or ACH (electronic fund transfer).

How can my organization support the CONNECT program?

The RGK Center accepts gifts in support of the CONNECT program. Gifts to UT are tax exempt under Section 170(c)(1). Gifts can be accepted online here. Or checks made payable to the University of Texas at Austin may be mailed to the following address: 

RGK Center for Philanthropy & Community Service
The University of Texas at Austin, LBJ School
2315 Red River St
MC# E2700
Austin, TX 78712