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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The International Foreign Language Honor Society offers multiple academic scholarships each year for members; applicants should inquire through local chapters.
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 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.
This IIE tool helps students and professionals seek study abroad scholarships, fellowships, grants, and paid internships by field of study or region.
Use the online “Club Finder” tool to search for a local club offering academic scholarships for language study at home or abroad.
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.