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My experience with grace periods was this:

I used up my 6 month grace period after completing undergrad. When I went back and complete grad school, I was granted another 6 month grace period for my GRAD school loans only, my undergrad loans went right into repayment.

Since you mention that there was a 4 month period until you started the fellowship, unless you submitted a "bridge" deferment form to cover you from the end of one academic period to the beginning of another, I bet those 4 months were considered part of your grace period. I would check to see when your FIRST in-school deferment was processed for your fellowship as they may have held it until the grace period was up.
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