The NAFA Constitution was last updated in July 2019.

The association of fellowships advisors shall be known as the National Association of Fellowships Advisors (NAFA).

The purpose of the NAFA is to provide its membership with access to information concerning national undergraduate and graduate grants, scholarships, and fellowships, as well as the foundations and agencies that support them. NAFA also provides a format for the exchange of ideas concerning the application process, scholarship foundations, and the ethical issues related to scholarship advising. The long-term goal is to provide support for faculty and staff who are assisting students through the process of applying for grants, scholarships, and fellowships.

The membership of NAFA shall consist of fellowships advisors in higher education or non-profit organizations.  NAFA membership is limited to faculty or staff who are advising (or have advised) students on one or more grants, scholarships, or fellowships.  Members shall have access to all publications, may belong to the listserv, may participate in general membership meetings, and will receive an annual report on NAFA activities, which will include minutes from executive and general membership meetings, a detailed budget and budget narrative, dates of future meetings, and association announcements.

Affiliated members will include interested staff from non-profit fellowship organizations or foundations. Affiliated members may have access to all organization publications, may belong to the listserv, and may participate in general membership meetings.  Under special circumstances, affiliated members may be exempt from paying annual fees, and will be invited to join by the Board on a case-by-case basis.

General Membership Meetings

The biennial meeting of the membership shall be held at such time and place as shall be determined by the NAFA Board.  Special meetings of the membership for any purpose or purposes may be called at any time by the President, Board, or at the written request of forty or more members of NAFA.  The meeting will be announced at least four months prior to the meeting.


A majority of the voting members in good standing, present in person, by authorized representative, or by proxy, at any duly called meeting of the membership shall constitute a quorum.


Members of NAFA in good standing shall be entitled to one vote up to a total of three votes per college or university

Parliamentary Rules

Robert’s Rules of Order, newly revised, shall be the governing parliamentary law of NAFA in all cases not provided for in its bylaws, or its own rules.


NAFA will provide the opportunity for its membership to meet at least once every two years.  This meeting may serve as both a general membership meeting and as an information-oriented conference.


The officers of NAFA shall be the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Foundation Liaison, and the Communications Director. Officers will meet either in person or via some other means at least twice during a calendar year, with minutes kept for all such meetings.  The officers shall serve without compensation.

Duties of the President

The President shall preside at all meetings of the NAFA general membership and at all meetings of the Board, and shall perform such other duties as may be assigned by the Board. The President shall see that all orders and resolutions of the Board are executed, serving as an ex-officio member of all committees.

Duties of the Vice President

The Vice President shall assume the duties of the President in the President’s absence, shall participate actively in planning all conferences and special meetings, and shall assume the office of President at the end of the two-year term as Vice President.

Duties of the Secretary

The Secretary shall be responsible for keeping minutes of meetings, giving due notice of meetings, and contributing to conference planning.

Duties of Treasurer

The Treasurer shall have custody of NAFA’s funds and securities, keep full and accurate accounts of receipts and disbursements, be responsible for creating annual reports of income and expenses for the Board and the general membership, and make recommendations on expenditures.

Duties of the Foundation Liaison

The Foundation Liaison shall serve in an advisory capacity and shall assist in coordinating special programs involving scholarship foundations and agencies. A co-director may be appointed as well.

Duties of the Communications Director

The Communications Director shall produce the number of publications per year as determined by the Board.  A co-director may be appointed as well.

The Board

The Board shall be composed of the NAFA officers and ten Board members.

Elections and Term of Office

Officers will be elected by a simple majority of voting NAFA members.

The Vice President shall serve a term of two years. For the sake of continuity, the Vice President will then assume the role of President and serve for an additional two years.

The Secretary shall serve a term of two years, the Treasurer shall serve a term of four years.  The Secretary and Treasurer may each be elected to two terms, and those terms may be consecutive.  The Secretary may serve a total of four consecutive years, and the Treasurer may serve a total of eight consecutive years.

The Communications Director(s) and Foundation Liaison(s) shall be appointed by the incoming President.

Ten Board members will be elected for rotating four-year terms, i.e., every two years five Board members will be replaced. Any of these ten can be elected to more than one term on the Board, but not two consecutive terms.

Officers who have completed terms of service may stand for re-election or be appointed to the same or other officer positions after two years out of office.  The only exception to this rule is that the Secretary and Treasurer may run for Vice-President immediately after his or her term of service ends.

The newly-elected officers and board members take office at midnight following the certification and public announcement of the election results during the biennial general membership meeting.

Resignation, Vacancy, or Removal

An officer or board member may resign at any time by filing a written letter of resignation.  Any officer or board member who is derelict or otherwise unwilling or unable to fulfill his/her responsibilities can be removed by a 2/3 vote of the Board.  In all cases of vacancy, the President will appoint a replacement, subject to confirmation by a majority vote of the board.  Any board member who is appointed to fill a vacancy for less than a full four-year term may stand for election at the end of his or her appointed term.

If the President vacates the office for any reason, the Vice President will become President for the remainder of the current term, and will appoint a new Vice President, who shall be confirmed by a majority vote of the board.  The new President will continue as President for the following full two-year term. The new Vice President may stand for election to a full term following his or her appointment.

Nominating Committees

The Board shall name a nominating committee to propose to the membership a slate of officers and Board members. The nominating committee (after the first two years of NAFA’s existence) shall consist of the retiring president, who shall serve as the nominating committee chairperson; two members of the Board who are not officers; and two NAFA members not currently serving on the Board


The Board may establish committees, and subcommittees and the President shall appoint chairs and members of the committees. Such appointments shall be made for one year.

Board Meetings

There shall be at least two regular meetings of the Board in a calendar year. Special meetings of the Board may be called by the President by giving four weeks’ notice to each Board member, and special meetings shall be called by the President in like manner and on like notice on written request of any six Board members.


Written minutes will be kept of all meetings of the membership, the Board meetings, and meetings of appointed or elected committees or subcommittees.  Committees and subcommittees will submit a copy of the minutes to the Board. Minutes of the general membership meetings, elections, and Board meetings will be made available to all members.

Fees and Budgetary Reports

The NAFA Board will set reasonable dues for its membership to cover specific expenses.  The Board will set forth an estimate of annual expenses and revenues.


Membership is offered on an individual basis and must be renewed annually. In cases of a new member, dues shall be paid for the portion of the year remaining after admission to membership.

Special Projects

An appointed subcommittee may request funds from the Board to organize special NAFA projects or services.  Funding must be approved by the Board in advance.  Receipts will be required for reimbursement.

Fiscal Year

The fiscal year will be set by the Finance Committee, with the ratification of the Board.

Upon ratification this constitution may be amended only by the membership by a 2/3 vote.


The NAFA Bylaws were last updated in July 2019.

Section A.  The headquarters of NAFA shall be the institution, agency or other place of employment with which the Treasurer is affiliated.

Section A.  Annual dues will be proposed by the Finance Committee and approved by a majority vote of the Board as needed. The Board will provide the membership sufficient notice of changes to annual dues.

Section B.  Registration fees and payment deadlines for the biennial national conference shall be determined by the Board upon the recommendation of the Conference Planning Committee.  Reasonable fees for regional conferences or other NAFA-sponsored meetings will be established by the Board in concert with the appropriate planning committee chairs.

Section A.  The Board shall advise the President in setting the agenda for Council meetings.

Section B.  The Board shall establish and charge all standing committees and ad hoc committees.

Section C.  The Board shall advise and assist in planning the biennial conference.

Section D.  The Board shall receive and approve reports of standing committees and ad hoc committees.

Section E.  The Board shall meet immediately prior to and following the regular business of the biennial conference, and at other such times and locations as deemed appropriate by the President.

Section F.  The Board shall approve the annual budget and approve expenditures recommended by the Treasurer.

Section G.  Actions and decisions of the Board shall be regularly reported to the NAFA membership.

Section H.  A simple majority of the members of the Board shall constitute a quorum.

Section I.  During meetings of the Board, proxy voting may be permitted only upon the express written permission of the proxy grantor.

Section J.  The current and latest revision of Robert’s Rules of Order shall be the parliamentary authority governing all meetings of the Board.

Section K.  The Board will regularly review the Constitution, By-laws and other documents developed pursuant to governance of NAFA.  Changes will be recommended to the general membership.

Section A.  Committees designated as “standing” are established by the Board and shall exist until such time as they may be terminated by the Board.

Section B.  Standing committee chairs are appointed by the President to serve two-year terms or longer as designated by the President.

Section C.  Persons serving as members of standing committees must be dues-paying NAFA members.

Section D.  The President shall determine the chair of each standing committee, in consultation with the Board.

Section E.  At the time of approval of these bylaws, standing committees include the following:

  1. Conference Planning.  This committee is responsible for planning and organizing the biennial national conference and other special programs and meetings. The committee shall also recommend a conference budget to The Board.
  2. Nominations and Elections. This committee is responsible for developing lists of candidates for the offices of Vice President-President Elect, Secretary and Treasurer and for seats on The Board. The committee shall also supervise the counting of ballots at the biennial meeting and certify the results of elections to the President and members of The Board.
  3. Finance Committee.  This committee will be chaired by the Treasurer.  It will oversee the revenues and expenses of NAFA, recommend to the Board uses for reserve funds, and advise on the financial implications of significant actions, such as hiring employees.
  4. Publications and Technology. This committee will be chaired by the Communications Director.  It is responsible for maintaining the official NAFA web site and developing other publications for dissemination to NAFA members and to appropriate non-member constituencies.
  5. Best Practices, Consultation, and Assessment. This committee will be chaired by the Secretary.  It is responsible for creating and maintaining best practices documents and standardized forms for NAFA members, and for conducting on-site program assessments for member organizations.

Section A.  In conformity with the legal requirement to designate an heir (or heirs) should the National Association of Fellowships Advisors cease to function as a corporation as specified in its Articles of Incorporation, it is hereby resolved that said heirs shall be those dues-paying non-profit institutional members of NAFA who are in good standing one year prior to the lawfully recognized dissolution of NAFA. The heirs are to share equally in the estate of the National Association of Fellowships Advisors at its dissolution after all outstanding financial obligations of the organization shall have been met. The heirs shall not be liable for any debts or other obligations incurred by the National Association of Fellowships Advisors during its existence.

Section A. Indemnification shall be provided by the National Association of Fellowships Advisors as determined by the Executive Committee for each officer, employee, or agent of the organization, such as is allowable by the laws of the appropriate jurisdiction and which are reasonably incurred in connection with any action, suit, or proceeding, completed, pending, or threatened in which such officer, employee, or agent of the organization may be involved by reason of his/her position with NAFA, by the purchase of insurance, provided that such persons agree in writing to the purchase of such insurance protection.

Section A.  Amendments to these bylaws may be proposed either by a majority of the board, or by petition of at least ten (10) NAFA members.

Section B.  Any changes to the Constitution will require a quorum (50% + 1) of eligible voting members, with approval of 2/3 of those who vote; individual members shall be entitled to one vote. The Board shall determine the appropriate method of balloting.

You can download a PDF of the Constitution & Bylaws here.