Boren Awards – National Security Education Program (NSEP)
The Boren Awards include Scholarships and Fellowships provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to add an important international and language component to their educations. The focus is on geographic areas, languages, and fields of study that are critical to U.S. national security, broadly defined, and underrepresented in study abroad. The Boren Awards are part of the National Security Education Program (NSEP). David L. Boren is the principal author of the legislation that created both NSEP and the Boren Awards, the scholarships and fellowships that bear his name.
U.S. citizens of any year in an undergraduate or graduate degree program from any major who want to engage the above topics important to U.S. national security and who want to do so in a study abroad experience outside of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand. Strong candidates are also interested in a career with the federal government, and there is a service requirement of one year paid employment within three years of graduation. The awards are open to those with and without prior language study who intend to maintain and continue language study afterward the program. In addition, students who are eligible for or interested in one of the below initiatives are strongly encouraged to apply.
STEM initiative (undergraduates): Eight weeks or more in the summer for students majoring in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. STEM majors are also encouraged to apply for semester and year programs. Although many STEM students choose study abroad programs that offer courses in STEM fields, it is not required. Options include language study only, language study with any academic coursework, and language study with a STEM-related internship.
ROTC initiative (undergraduates): Any Army, Air Force, or Naval ROTC student on track to commission who can study abroad for six months or longer; study for a semester is also encouraged, and study for a summer is encouraged through applications for Project GO funding. ROTC students who receive this scholarship usually find that their Commanders are fully supportive and willing to assist with provisions for completing ROTC class and lab requirements before or after the Boren Scholarship.
AFLI initiative (all): The African Flagship Languages Initiative (AFLI) offers Boren Scholarship applicants the opportunity for intensive language study for a summer and a fall semester through domestic and overseas language programs in Akan/Twi, French, Portuguese, Swahili, Wolof, or Zulu. Students can also apply to stay overseas for a spring semester program that includes language study; this program can also include additional coursework, academic internships, and/or research.
SAFLI initiative (all): The South Asian Flagship Languages Initiative (SAFLI) offers Boren Scholarship applicants the opportunity for intensive language study of Hindi or Urdu and cultural immersion for a summer and a fall semester through domestic and overseas language programs. Students can also apply to stay overseas for a spring semester program that includes language study; this program can also include additional coursework, academic internships, and/or research.
IFLI initiative (all): The Indonesian Flagship Languages Initiative (IFLI) offers Boren Scholarship applicants the opportunity for intensive language study of Indonesian and cultural immersion for a summer and a fall semester through domestic and overseas language programs. Students can also apply to stay overseas for a spring semester program that includes language study; this program can also include additional coursework, academic internships, and/or research.
The Language Flagship initiative (undergraduates): Students who are currently enrolled in The Language Flagship (a a federally-funded effort and component of the NSEP) to study one of 10 critical languages can get Boren Scholarship funding to help them achieve superior-level proficiency in these critical languages. This study can occur at the appropriate overseas Flagship center or institution. The Boren Scholarship can provide up to $20,000 for an academic year overseas.
For-credit language study abroad. Assistance in finding full-time employment for at least one year in the federal government in many agencies. Can be combined with other funding as designated.
Full academic year, summer and a semester, semester, and summer. Preference is typically given to those applying to longer programs or to special initiatives.
Number & Amount Available:
Amount depends upon program costs and need, duration, and type of award (scholarship or fellowship). Funding ranges from $8,000 for undergraduates in summer programs to $30,000 for graduate students in year-long programs that have a domestic language component in addition to the overseas program.
Documents, Deadlines, and Submission Instructions
December 4, 2018 at 5PM ET
*If you miss the campus deadline, you can instead apply independently by the national deadline.
Applicants: If you are considering applying for this award, you should email FAO staff and share your interest. You should also meet with FAO staff at least once early in the campus, or endorsement, application process. A strong endorsement application typically requires multiple drafts over a period of several weeks or months, and it should be treated as your final application. We therefore recommend that you meet with us as early as possible so that we can get to know you and give you feedback on your campus application.
In order to be considered for this award’s endorsement (see above note next to the deadline), you must submit endorsement application materials by the posted campus application deadline with our online submission form (contact us for the link). Please be sure to look at the online submission form before you are ready to submit to make sure everything is formatted correctly. Letters of recommendation are also due by that deadline, but should be submitted by the recommendation writer as noted below.
Letters of Recommendation: It is a good idea to share with your recommenders a draft of your application. Please be sure to read, and then share with each recommender, the guidance from FAO that provides instructions for what to include in the letter. This letter is posted below.
You should not have access to your letters of recommendation. Your recommenders will need to submit their letters of recommendation with a different online submission form (contact us for the link to send them). If they need to submit with a different method or have any difficulty, they should contact FAO staff.