PAFR Fellowship Program

This unique program pairs graduate students and local governments to create a Popular Annual Financial Report

What's a PAFR?

The Government Finance Officer Association's (GFOA) PAFR award program recognizes high quality popular annual financial reports that are designed to be readily accessible and easily understandable to the general public.

PAFRs provide important information about a local government’s finances, policies, and goals.

PAFRs are incredibly rich documents that combine financial analysis with communications. These are key skills for graduate students to develop for future careers in local government leadership. 


About the PAFR Fellowship Program

COVID-19 has made it difficult for graduate students to find meaningful summer professional work experiences (internships) - either due to hiring freezes or the inability to provide work projects that can be successfully completed while working remotely with limited supervision.

This program connects graduate students with local governments that wish to develop a PAFR for submission to the GFOA award program.

ELGL and GFOA will work together to match up graduate students with local governments, and then support the students as they create a PAFR document.

Local governments and students will complete an application to be considered for a match.  Considerations like geographic location, organization size, and graduate student skills and abilities will be used to determine matches. 

Local governments that have previously received recognition for their budget and CAFR documents, but have not yet produce a PAFR, are encouraged to apply to receive the coveted "Triple Crown" recognition from GFOA.

Applications for the next group of students will open soon. Sign-up for updates.

ELGL gfoa inspire

Local Government Role

This program is free for local governments. The standard $250 GFOA application fee for the PAFR program is paid to GFOA, and then paid by GFOA to the graduate student as a fellowship stipend, upon completion of the PAFR. Other local government expectations:

  • Local governments will be expected to have a point of contact for the graduate student to provide them with the data and information for the PAFR.
  • This point of contact should be available at least weekly for consultation with the graduate student. 
  • Bi-weekly check-ins with the points of contact will be convened virtually to compare experiences and help manage the program. Because local governments use a wide variety of financial systems, the point of contact should anticipate providing data exports as needed in widely accessible formats (e.g. .xls, .csv, etc.) so the students have the information they need to develop a successful PAFR.
  • Similarly, students will need access to photos/graphics from the local government for the PAFR.
  • It is the responsibility of the local government to screen and review PAFR fellows according to their own personnel policies. This will not be done by ELGL or GFOA.

Student Responsibilities

Students must be currently enrolled in a graduate program (e.g. MPA, MPP, MBA, etc.). Recent graduates (Spring/Summer 2020) may also participate in this program. Other student responsibilities:

  • Graduate students will be expected to complete the PAFR by the end of the fellowship (end of September 2020).
  • Students will meet weekly for virtual hangouts, coworking, and training (skill building on using Canva, Sheets, Excel, etc. that will make PAFRs stand out and exceptional).
  • Because the work is remote, graduate students should be comfortable with online work, and online meetings with their local government point of contact.
  • In addition, students will have access to an ELGL Slack channel to connect with each other, brainstorm, troubleshoot and connect as they work on their PAFRs.
  • Free membership in GFOA and ELGL, and connection to GFOA student programs and chapters will also be provided to participating students. 

Local Government Application

Student Application

Additional Program Information

As this is a pilot program, some tweaks and enhancements to the program should be expected, to ensure it is successful for both the local governments and graduate students.

Also, because we are unsure of the interest in this program in the first year, a match is not guaranteed and will be based on the interest in the program . Both ELGL and GFOA will work with our networks to encourage participation and applications for this program.

While this pilot program is focused on Summer 2020, both ELGL and GFOA are hopeful that this program can continue throughout the year, potentially as graduate school projects or work experiences.

Close window