Payne Program Overview
Fellowships for Graduate Studies The Payne Fellowship Program awards up to fifteen fellowships valued at up to $48,000 annually for a two-year program. The award includes up to $22,000 per year toward tuition and mandatory fees for completion of a two-year master’s degree at a U.S. institution; a $16,000 stipend for each academic year for room, board, books and other education-related expenses; and up to $10,000 per year in stipend, housing, transportation, and related expenses for summer internships (see below). At the conclusion of two years of study, the Payne Fellow is expected to obtain a degree in international development or another area of relevance to the work of the USAID Foreign Service at a U.S. graduate or professional school approved by the Payne Program. Fellows who successfully complete the Payne Program and USAID Foreign Service entry requirements will receive appointments as Foreign Service Officers with the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Orientation New Payne Fellows will participate in an orientation at Howard University in May, shortly after their selection. The purposes of this orientation are to familiarize the Fellows with all aspects of the fellowship and to enhance their understanding of, and skills for, international development careers.
Two Summer Internships Payne Fellows will participate in two internships. The first, an internship working on international issues in Washington, DC, will occur in the summer after being selected and before the first year of graduate study. The second will be an overseas internship in a USAID Mission that takes place during the summer between the first and second years of graduate study. The program will provide stipends, housing, and transportation.
Mentoring Each Fellow will receive mentoring throughout the duration of the fellowship as well as during his/her early employment at USAID.
Curriculum Fellows must obtain graduate degrees in international affairs or a related subject such as development, economics, history, political science, public administration, communications, public policy, business administration foreign languages, agriculture, environmental sciences, or urban planning at a graduate or professional school approved by the Payne Program. Studies in law do not satisfy this requirement. Applicants apply to two-year graduate programs at U.S. universities simultaneously with their application to the Payne Program.
Employment/Contractual Obligations Fellows who successfully complete the Payne Program and USAID Foreign Service entry requirements will receive appointments as USAID Foreign Service Officers. Each Payne Fellow who obtains a master’s degree is committed to a minimum of five years of service as a USAID Foreign Service Officer. Candidates who do not successfully complete the Payne Program and the subsequent five year service obligation may be subject to a reimbursement obligation.
How to Apply
- Applicants must be U.S. citizens.
- Applicants must be seeking admission to enter graduate school in the fall of 2021 for a two-year program at a U.S. university. They can be in the senior year of their undergraduate studies, graduating by June 2021, or they can be college graduates.
- Applicants must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or higher on a 4.0 scale at the time of application.
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