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Last Updated: June 21, 2021

Fulbright Scholarship

The Fulbright Scholarship is a merit-based grant offered to highly competitive students, teachers, artists, and scientists for international educational exchange programs. Instituted in 1946 by former Senator J. William Fulbright, this program opens doors to US students to enhance their knowledge in their chosen field of study in different countries. Simultaneously, students of other nations are also given the opportunity to study in the US as part of this exchange program.

The Fulbright program is primarily managed and sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State. Overseas, the program is managed by the bi-national Fulbright Commission. However, the US Embassy's Public Affairs Section takes care of the program in countries that do not host this commission. The program also receives sponsorship from partnership governments, corporations, foundations, and others from within the US as well as partner nations.

Applying for Fulbright Scholarship

Candidates who wish to apply for the Fulbright scholarship should start by checking their eligibility for applying. If they are eligible, they will have to enroll for the same through an institution they are currently studying in or through the institution they have studied in earlier if they accept alumni applications. If the candidate cannot apply through their institution, they have the option of applying at large through the Fulbright online application system considering the deadline.

They will be able to choose between study/research awards and ETA awards and then move on to the opportunities offered by different countries from which they can choose the best opportunity. The eligibility requirements for different countries will be different and hence this procedure is to be carefully approached.

Most of the scholarship applications open about 15 months before the estimated grant date and have a submission deadline of about four months. Hence it is important that an applicant begins to gather all the required documents at least two years before the expected grant date.

Eligibility Requirements

All US citizens, both natives and naturalized, are eligible to apply for exchange scholarships to any of the partner nations. Non-US citizens living in America cannot apply for a Fulbright grant. Those holding dual citizenship with the United States are, however, eligible to study in any of the partner nations, but not in the US.

Language proficiency Requirement

Those applying to study in a foreign nation must be able to speak English and the language of that country proficiently to be considered a competitive candidate. Since US candidates have a choice of 50 countries to choose from for an exchange program, they need to cater to these grant requirements before deciding on a country of their choice.

Registration Process

US citizens can obtain a scholarship application from their college or a partner agency. Completed applications are forwarded to the Fulbright Commission, which is screened by a board comprising 12 members appointed by the president of the USA.

Select applicants are screened through tests and interviews to determine their eligibility for the various Fulbright scholarships. Strong preference is given to students who have not received a Fulbright grant in the past. Again, everyone is encouraged to apply.

Types of Fulbright Scholarship

A Fulbright scholarship is offered to people across all fields except that of clinical medical research. American citizens are selected on a competitive basis for studying, conducting research, teaching, etc. For this purpose, students, teachers, research scholars, and other professionals are chosen for the Fulbright Scholarship. There are four kinds of grants that are offered under the Fulbright program.

1. Grants for Students

Undergraduates, graduates, artists, and young professionals are given an opportunity to study, research, or teach English in a foreign country. Similarly, students from abroad are given academic and research opportunities in the US as part of this exchange program for the duration of one academic year.

Types of grants for students: The different grants for US students to go abroad and for non-US students to come to the US are as follows-

US Students going Abroad

Non-US Students coming to US

2. Grants for Scholars

Professionals, scholars, and faculty members in American academies are given an opportunity to lecture or participate in research programs in partner countries for a year through the Fulbright US Scholar program. The duration for this award is between 3 to 12 months and the candidates chosen will be established scholars in their field with a substantial teaching and publication history.

Various grants for scholars are:

US Scholars going Abroad

Non-US Scholars coming to US

3. Grants for Teachers

The Fulbright grants have two programs dedicated to teaching professionals.

4. Grants for Professionals

American scholars and professionals are awarded grants of two weeks to a year to teach, learn and consult at partner institutions abroad through the:

US Professionals going Abroad

Non-US Professionals coming to US

Top Institutions for Fulbright scholars - 2016-2017 (for PhD)

Brown University30110
Georgetown University27116
University of Notre Dame2795
Harvard University26137
University of Chicago26111
Princeton University22111
Columbia University21100
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor21102
University of Pennsylvania2192
University of Washington2172

Facts regarding the Fulbright Scholarship

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