Fulbright Scholarship


Background:  The US Congress created the Fulbright program in 1946 to foster international understanding through educational exchanges. It was named in honor of Senator J.W. Fulbright and is funded by the U.S. government. The scholarship competition is coordinated by the Institute of International Education (IIE).

The Scholarship:  The Fulbright program funds a number of different opportunities, including exchange of scholars, travel grants, and dissertation research. However, most scholarships are for graduating seniors or recent graduates who propose to spend a year abroad studying or researching at a foreign university. The two primary programs are Fulbright full grants, which cover the cost of round-trip transportation, tuition, maintenance, and insurance; and the Fulbright Teaching Assistant program, which selects students who wish to teach English in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungry, Korea, and Taiwan. Note: Students applying for full grants must have sufficient proficiency in the written and spoken language of the host country to communicate with the people and carry out the proposed study.

Application:  The application form consists of 11 parts, including personal information, a statement of the study proposal, a short personal essay, foreign language evaluation, three references, transcript, and an evaluation by the Graduate Awards Committee. Students must have an "adequate background" (a major) in the subject they wish to pursue.

Who Should Apply:  Students with strong academic records (3.7 after the freshman year) who have excellent command of a foreign language and whose project proposal is appropriate to the country proposed and can be completed in a year. Students should realize that grants to some countries are far more difficult to obtain than others, since the number of awards and the intensity of the competition vary substantially. (Fulbright grants for study in the United Kingdom are especially competitive.)

References:  Three, all from professors in the major.

The Fulbright Process:  By mid-January candidates are informed if they have been recommended for a grant. Being recommended, however, does not mean that a student will be funded. Successful candidates are usually informed in April if funding has been approved. About half of the recommended applications are actually funded, although the number varies by country. There is no interview for the Fulbright (although telephone interviews are used for England.)

For More Information:  www.iie.org/fulbright An 80-page listing (by country) of scholarship opportunities is published by the USIA. It is an essential country-by-country guide to Fulbright grants. It is available on the Fulbright website.

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