Fulbright US Student Scholarship is the largest US exchange program, providing students and young professionals from the United States with research, study, and teaching opportunities in more than 160 countries. There is a large network of more than 1650 Fulbright program supporters who organize the recruitment and advisement of Fulbright participants nationwide.
Currently, near 8000 students receive Fulbright grants annually. The successful scholars participate in graduate study and advanced research programs. Also, they engage in university, primary and secondary school teaching activities worldwide.
Read the article for deeper insight on the scholarship program:
- Types of awards
- Who can apply?
- How to apply?
Types of awards you can get from Fulbright U.S. Student scholarship
There are four main types of programs Fulbright funds: Open study/research, English teaching assistant, Fulbright National-Geographic storytelling fellowship, Fulbright-Fogarty fellowships in public health.
Open study/research awards allow students to design their projects and apply them to advisers of foreign universities. Students can choose among 140 countries to apply. Requirements differ for countries, so check the country-specific requirements before applying.
Students apply to different countries to work as local English teachers' assistants through the English teaching assistant programs. That's an academic experience and an opportunity to represent the U.S. culture in other countries. There is an opportunity to be a teaching assistant at different levels, starting from kindergarten to universities. Explore the requirements for specific countries here.
As a result of a collaboration between the U.S. Department of State and the National Geographic Society, there is an opportunity to receive a Fulbright-National Geographic storytelling fellowship. Within the program, storytellers discuss a globally significant theme, utilizing storytelling tools like text, photography, video and audio materials, maps, graphic illustrations, etc. Grantees also receive storytelling training. Explore the opportunity in detail here.
Fulbright-Fogarty fellowships in public health aim to support the research in public health and clinical research. The fellowships are for medical students and individuals interested in global health. The main requirements are the same as for other studies/research grants of Fulbright. Additional details may be found here.
Who can apply?
The Fulbright foreign student program's objective is to support graduates and recent graduates to fulfill their academic goals worldwide. In more detail, the following groups of students and professionals can apply:
- Recent graduates, e.g., graduating seniors or recent bachelor's degree receivers, who have some preparation and experience related to their application.
- Master's students and doctoral candidates, who demonstrate skills for independent studies, and a general understanding of the history, culture, and traditions of the countries they are applying to.
- Young professionals, including writers, performing artists, journalists, lawyers, business people, etc. who have up to 5 years of professional study experience in the field they are applying to.
As mentioned above, for most countries, you should check the individual eligibility criteria and application requirements. Before that, read the below requirements, which are common for the majority of programs.
- Applicants must be either citizens or nationals of the U.S. Permanent residency is not eligible.
- It's a must to have conferred bachelor's degree or equivalent.
- Applicants must meet the language requirements for the specific award.
- They should demonstrate the competency for completing the project in the host country.
Meanwhile, among the eligible applicants, the Fulbright committee will give the preference to those, who haven't received an award from the program before, whose higher education was in the educational institutions in the U.S., who haven't resided in the country they are applying to, and who served in the Armed Forces of the U.S.
How to apply
After choosing the specific program to apply, and the specific eligibility criteria, all the students, should submit their application online. After registering on Fulbright's online platform, you will have the application form to fill in within the specified deadlines.
The required information and documents for submission differ based on the types of awards.
You should submit the following information and documents for both English teaching assistant and study/research programs:
- Biographical data
- Program information
- Statement of Grant Purpose
- Personal statement
- Foreign language forms
As an additional requirement, study/research grants also require affiliation letters and ethical requirements. The students specialized in and applying for creative fields should also submit supplementary materials, which are examples of their previous artistic works.
The following page contains the necessary links to the detailed descriptions of application components.
All applicants are notified about their application status during the program. The first round of notifications starts by the end of January. Candidates receive the information whether they were classified as semi-finalists or non-recommended.
The semi-finalists' list is transferred to the Fulbright Commission or U.S. Embassy in the host country for the final review.
During the second round of notifications in the spring, candidates receive the review results, classifying them as finalists (they will receive the Fulbright U.S. Student grant), alternate (they will receive the grant in case additional funding opportunities appear), and non-select (they are no longer considered for the Fulbright award).
A more detailed timeline is presented below.
- Online application opens on March 31 every year.
- October 13 is the deadline for the national applications.
- From November to half December, the national screening committee filters the applicants.
- Starting from January 31, there begins a phase of early notification to all the candidates.
- From March to May, applicants are notified about the final selection results.
A quick throwback
The Fulbright scholarship program is named after Senator J. William Fulbright, who introduced in 1945 the idea of promoting the U.S. goodwill in the world through the student exchange program.
On August 1, 1946, the President of the time, Harry S. Truman, signed the bill proposed by Fulbright. That was the official date of creation for the Fulbright Program, which is operated as a flagship international educational exchange program under the U.S. government sponsorship.
The program's supervision is the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board's (FFSB) responsibility, consisting of 12 board members selected by the U.S. president. FFSB decides on the policies and procedures of the Fulbright Program and has a final saying in the selection of grantees.
Since its creation in 1946, Fulbright has already granted more than 390,000 students and professionals, forming a large network of both current and former Fulbrighters who cooperate, communicate and work together.