The Boren Scholarship is a merit-based scholarship program that provides funding to undergraduate and graduate students to study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad programs, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The scholarship is administered by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), which is a government agency that aims to increase the number of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills.
To be eligible for the Boren Scholarship, students must be U.S. citizens and be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program at an accredited institution of higher education in the United States. They must also demonstrate a strong commitment to public service, as the scholarship is intended to prepare students for careers in the U.S. federal government, including the Department of Defense, the intelligence community, and other national security-related organizations.
Boren Scholarship Basic Requirements
All candidates must:
- Citizens of the United States as of the deadline for national applications
- A GED holder or a high school graduate
- At the time of the national application deadline, at least 18 years old.
- Considering a program abroad in a region other than Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand
- Rreparing to attend a university in a nation in which they are not citizens
- Enrolled full-time in an undergraduate or graduate program in the United States that is accredited by a body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for the duration of their Boren Awards-funded program.
- (For cadets in the ROTC, midshipmen, and members of the National Guard or military reserves) Throughout the length of their Boren Awards-funded program, in an inactive, non-drilling status
The Boren Awards provide precedence to programs based on their duration, emphasis on intense study of a selected language in a preferred country, and the applicant’s topic of study in addition to these fundamental eligibility requirements.
Additional rules apply to self-designed research, internship, and study programs for Boren Fellows. Prior to their education abroad, they are also qualified for funding for summer language programs in the United States.
Boren Scholarships for Undergraduate Students
The goal of the Boren Scholarships for Undergraduate Students is to encourage students to seek professions in foreign service by providing them with the language and intercultural training they will need.
The application period for the 2023–2024 Boren Scholarship is now open. The Boren Scholarship for undergraduates application is available here. Apply Now
The 2023 Boren Scholarship application deadline is February 1, 2023 at 5 p.m. ET.
Boren Fellowships for Graduate Students
The application period for the 2023–2024 Boren Fellowship is now open. The 2023 Boren Fellowship application is available here.
The Boren Fellowship application window will close on January 25, 2023 at 5 p.m. ET.
Please be aware that you must click “Start New Application” at the bottom of the Application Management page if you currently have an application open for another award, such as the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.
The Scholarship Duration and Maximum Award
The Boren Awards encourage sustained exposure to language and culture. Programs that span two or more semesters should be strongly considered. The Boren Awards will give preference to applicants who propose international initiatives lasting at least 25 weeks. For the majority of Boren Award candidates, a program must be 12 weeks in length in order to be eligible. (Undergraduate STEM majors may propose summer programs of at least 8 weeks as an exception to this criterion.
The 2023 application cycle’s Boren Awards cash may be used for activities beginning as early as June 4, 2023 or as late as March 1, 2024. (Note: Funding is subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed at the time of award for program expenses spent after May31, 2024. A budget for the entire length of the planned program should be submitted by applicants. The availability of funds for study after May 31, 2024, will be confirmed and conveyed to grantees in the spring of that year.
The Boren Awards must provide financing for a continuous time of study abroad. Short mid-program travels outside of the country of study are permitted but must first receive IIE approval. Boren Awards money is available for multiple, consecutive programs in the same language and nation, and it might be essential to do so to attain the required award level.
Boren Scholarships Maximum Award Amounts:
- 8-11 weeks: $8,000 for a summer program (STEM majors only)
- 12-24 weeks: $12,500
- 25-52 weeks: $25,000
The Scholarship Selection Criteria
Does the applicant give a convincing justification for how their nation, language, subject of study, and international study are relevant to American national security? Although the Boren Awards embrace a wide concept of national security, applicants should provide a focused, specific case that relates to their academic interests and career objectives.
Recipients of Boren Awards agree to spend at least one year following graduation working for the federal government in exchange for financing. Candidates that exhibit a longer-term dedication to serving the government will be given preference. Does the applicant show a longer-term commitment to the federal government and does the applicant explain how they might meet the service requirement? Does the applicant give an explanation of how the nation and language they chose will aid in achieving their professional objectives? Take into account the applicant’s potential for leadership within the federal government.
Does the applicant have the necessary academic background, capacity to adjust to different cultures, flexibility, and maturity to flourish abroad? Take into account a shown or continuously increasing academic record, on- or off-campus proof of cultural maturity and adaptability, and other elements that call for comment.
Does the candidate show a sincere dedication to language study before, during, and after their study abroad experience? Are the applicant’s expectations for the degree of proficiency that may be attained abroad reasonable, and is the applicant enrolled in the appropriate international program to meet these goals? For non-STEM majors, the Boren Scholarships favor long-term (more than 25 week) international study. Do they have a strong case for a shorter study abroad program if they are unable to study abroad for at least 25 weeks?
Has the candidate suggested a course of study in a nation or language that the Boren Awards prefer? The Boren Awards favor the applicant’s primary field of study?
- Subjects of Study
Has the applicant provided a convincing justification for funding from the Boren Awards on the grounds of U.S. national security if they are suggesting a nation, language, or subject of study that is not on the preferred lists?
Frequently Asked Questions
How competitive is Boren Fellowship?
The Boren Fellowship is a highly competitive program that receives many more applications than it is able to fund. The selection process is very selective and is based on a number of factors, including the strength of the applicant’s academic record, language skills, and career goals, as well as the relevance of the proposed study abroad program to U.S. national security interests.
In order to maximize your chances of being selected for a Boren Fellowship, it is important to have a strong academic record, to have a clear and well-defined career goal that is related to international service, and to demonstrate a strong commitment to learning a critical language and to studying abroad in a region of the world that is important to U.S. interests.
How much is the Boren Scholarship worth?
The value of a Boren Scholarship varies depending on the length and location of the study abroad program. However, Boren Scholarships generally cover the cost of tuition, room and board, and other related expenses for the duration of the study abroad program.
In addition to covering these costs, Boren Scholarships also provide a stipend to help cover additional expenses, such as travel and personal expenses. The exact amount of the stipend depends on the location and duration of the program, but it offers up to $12,000 for summer intensive language study
Who sponsors the Boren Scholarship?
The Boren Scholarship is sponsored by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), which is a federally funded initiative that is administered by the Department of Defense. The NSEP was established to help promote international education and to support the development of a diverse and competitive workforce that is capable of addressing the national security needs of the United States.
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