PAFR Fellowship Program

This unique program pairs 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 students to develop for future careers in local government leadership. 


About the PAFR Fellowship Program

COVID-19 has made it difficult for 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 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 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 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.

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.
  • The program milestones and guidelines should be reviewed to ensure the local government has capacity between January and May to work with the Fellow to complete the PAFR.

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. Undergraduate students considering a career in local government or a public service graduate degree may also apply. Other student responsibilities:

  • Students will be expected to complete the PAFR by the end of the fellowship (end of May 2021).
  • 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, 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. 
  • The program milestones and guidelines should be reviewed to ensure the Fellow has capacity between January and May to work with the local government to complete the PAFR.

Local Government Application

Student Application

Additional Program Information

The below schedule is tentative, but reflects the various meetings and milestones that Fellows and local governments will be expected to meet.

Monday, January 4, 2020 - Monday, February 1, 2020

  • Application period for Fellows and Local Governments

Monday, February 8, 2020

  • Matches announced for Fellows and Local Governments

Weekly Fellows meetings start; milestones begin:

  • February 16, 2021 - Introductions & About the Program (ELGL & GFOA)
  • February 22, 2021 - What’s a PAFR (GFOA)

Friday, February 26, 2021 - Milestone #1: Project Timeline and Work Plan Due

  • March 1, 2021 - Spreadsheets & Charts (ELGL)
  • March 8, 2021 - Reading a CAFR; What to Put in a PAFR (GFOA)
  • March 15, 2021 - Reading a Budget & What to Put in a PAFR (GFOA)

Friday, March 19, 2021 - Milestone #2: Financial Data Compiled & Assembled

  • March 22, 2021 - Spreadsheets & Tables (ELGL)
  • March 29, 2021 - Canva 101 - Page Layout & Graphics (ELGL)

Friday, April 2, 2021 - Milestone #3: Wireframe of PAFR Due

  • April 5, 2021 -  Canva 201 - Infographics & Charts (ELGL)  
  • April  12, 2021 - Canva 301 - Graphic Design Fine Tuning (ELGL)
  • April 19, 2021 - Canva 401 - Finalizing the Document (ELGL)

Week of April 26, 2021 - Milestone #4: PAFRs Due to GFOA for Initial Review

Fridays in February, March, & April

  • Co-working time in Zoom


May 2021

  • Finalize & individualized troubleshooting to submit PAFRs to Jamie at GFOA.
  • PAFRs due by the last day of school/graduation
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