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Grants & Scholarships

Grants & Scholarships

Pursuing language courses or traveling abroad to bolster your language skills is an ideal way to immerse yourself in a language. Fortunately, there are a number of established grants and scholarships that can help pave the way.

Grants and Scholarships for Language Programs and Study Abroad

Many local and regional resources provide funding to offset language studies and study abroad opportunities, making these enriching experiences more attainable to a broader range of students. Be sure to speak with a counselor at your high school or college, check your state’s Department of Higher Education website, and reach out to local honor societies or service clubs regarding assistance in your area.

Remember that the cost of study abroad may be covered fully or in part by your college tuition: be sure to consult your institution’s international office or study abroad organization for details. You’ll also want to consider applying to national awards and programs, such as:

Federal Grants & Scholarships

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Gilman Scholarships help to fund study and intern abroad programs for Federal Pell Grant recipients.

Boren Scholarships

An initiative of the National Security Education Program, Boren Scholarships fund undergraduate study abroad with a focus on less commonly taught languages and countries traditionally underrepresented by study abroad programs. In exchange, Scholars agree to work for the federal government for at least one year after graduation.

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program

A program of the U.S. Department of State, the CLS Program is a fully funded overseas summer immersion program promoting the study of critical languages. Languages currently offered include: Azerbaijani, Bangla, Brazilian Portuguese, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Punjabi, Swahili, Turkish, Urdu, Arabic, Persian, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian. The CLS Program is administered by American Councils for International Education.

Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship Program

The U.S. Government awards FLAS grants to higher ed institutions, who then select modern language undergraduate and graduate students for academic-year or summer allocations. For consideration, students must submit an application through a grantee institution.

Fulbright U.S. Student Program

A program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Student Program offers recent college graduates, post-graduate scholars, and young professionals grants for individually designed study/research projects or for English Teaching Assistant Programs.  

The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) Program (+ high school)                                 

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the NSLI-Y program offers high-school students and recent graduates merit-based scholarships for overseas immersion opportunities to study less commonly taught languages. The NSLI-Y program is administered by American Councils for International Education.

Project Global Officer (Project GO) Scholarships

A Department of Defense initiative administered by the Institute of International Education, Project GO provides funding to ROTC students for critical language study both at home and overseas.

The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program

Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the Fellowship provides funding for the final year of undergraduate study and first year of graduate study in a field related to the Foreign Service (including specialization in a language). Successful completion leads to employment by the Foreign Service.

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Exchange Programs, U.S. Department of State (High School)

The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute

For four weeks, the U.S.-based Institute unites 45 European youth with 10 American high school students to foster transatlantic relations and a sense of shared values.

The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange & Study (YES) Abroad Program

YES Abroad allows U.S. high school students to study abroad in a predominately Muslim country while living with a host family for an academic year. The YES Abroad program is administered by American Councils for International Education.

The Youth Ambassadors Program

This 3-4 week program centered on community service and team building sponsors the exchange of high school students and adult educators with Youth Ambassadors from Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Youth Leadership Program

A 3-4 week exchange of high school students, the Youth Leadership Program fosters mutual understanding, respect, and civic engagement. Countries currently available include Indonesia and Iraq.

Private Sector and University Grants and Scholarships

Corinne Jeannine Schillings Foundation Academic Scholarship

The Foundation awards several academic scholarships each year to undergraduate women studying a language other than English who have attained at least the level of Silver Award Girl Scout. The $1,500 award is renewable for four years of university language study.

Corinne Jeannine Schillings Foundation Scholarship to Study Abroad

The Foundation provides non-renewable awards of $1,000 to undergraduate Silver and Gold Award Girl Scouts to fund academic-year and summer study abroad experiences.

Fund for Education Abroad Scholarship

The Fund for Education Abroad provides financial support for U.S. undergraduates to study overseas, with a preference toward rigorous, immersive academic programs and underrepresented students.

Golden Key Joan Nelson Study Abroad Scholarship

The Joan Nelson Study Abroad Scholarship is a $5,000 award given to a Golden Key International Honour Society member to be used toward overseas study.

Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Grant

Each year, the Society awards 75 study abroad grants of $1,000 to students on campuses with a Phi Kappa Phi chapter who have earned a GPA of at least 3.75 on a 4-point scale.

Phi Sigma Iota Scholarships

The International Foreign Language Honor Society offers multiple academic scholarships each year for members; applicants should inquire through local chapters.

Additional Resources

Diversity Abroad

Diversity Abroad compiles federal and private study abroad scholarship opportunities directed specifically toward underrepresented students—such as minorities, students from low-income families, and first-generation college students.

Funding for U.S. Study Online – The Institute of International Education (IIE)

Funding for U.S. Study Online is a database of scholarships, fellowships, and grants for students studying in the United States. Students can search by area of study (including languages), state, or other criteria.

IIE Passport Study Abroad Funding

This IIE tool helps students and professionals seek study abroad scholarships, fellowships, grants, and paid internships by field of study or region.

Rotary International

Use the online “Club Finder” tool to search for a local club offering academic scholarships for language study at home or abroad.

Language-Specific Grants

In addition to numerous national grants and scholarships open to applicants studying any language, language-specific funding is available at the national and local levels. Be sure to speak with your high school counselor or university language department about opportunities unique to your school or region. Most colleges offer scholarships for current students in honor of notable alumni or in partnership with an institution abroad.

You will also want to inquire at local Rotary and service clubs, honor societies, religious organizations, and corporations. Check out this GoAbroad.com checklist to maximize funding possibilities in your network.

Remember that you can apply for financial assistance from multiple sources at once, so don’t hesitate to apply for general government-funded awards in tandem with language-specific and local funding.