Everything You Need to Know About Boren Scholarships and Fellowships

Have you always had a deep affinity for the languages and cultures of other countries? Do you want to learn about foreign languages and travel the world? Boren Scholarships and Fellowships will help you make your dreams come true.

Boren Scholarships and Fellowships
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David L. Boren is the principal author of the legislation that created the National Security Education Program and the Boren Awards, the scholarships and fellowships that bear his name.

In arguing in the U.S. Senate for passage of NSEP, Boren expressed his view that the U.S. needed a large increase in experts in the languages and cultures of nations that were underrepresented in the number of U.S. students studying there.

With changes in the world, Boren felt that the U.S. would work more and more through partnerships with other countries whose needs and perspectives needed to be more fully understood.

As a United States Senator from 1979 to 1994, President Boren served on the Senate Finance and Agriculture Committees and was the longest-serving chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He served as Oklahoma’s governor from 1974 through 1978.

He is the first person in Oklahoma history to serve as a state legislator, governor, U.S. senator, and president of the University of Oklahoma. He is a graduate of Yale University, Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

Senator Boren is widely respected for his academic credentials, his longtime support for education, and his distinguished political career as a reformer of the American political system.

To find out how Boren Scholarships and Fellowships work and how you can apply for one, scroll to the end of this guide.

Boren Scholarships and Fellowships Program Overview

Boren Scholarships provide up to $25,000 to U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad.

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Meanwhile, Boren Fellowships are designed to give graduate students maximum flexibility to pursue their academic goals alongside their study of the target language. Boren Fellows may concentrate only on language study during their time abroad — such an application will be given equal consideration.

Boren Scholars and Fellows study throughout the world, including Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The countries of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are excluded.

Boren Scholars should seek study abroad programs that have a serious language component. Although such programs may include some coursework, unpaid internships, or volunteer opportunities conducted in English, the strongest applicants will make every effort to immerse themselves in language study.

Language study should comprise the majority of overseas coursework. Beyond the classroom, language immersion may take place in university housing with local students, in homestays with local families, or through research or volunteering conducted in the local language.

On the other hand, Boren Fellows must have a serious language component in their overseas study proposals. This is the only required element, so proposals to enroll in a traditional language program will be sufficient. Graduate students are encouraged to simultaneously pursue research relevant to their degrees, additional academic coursework, and/or internships.

If these activities are conducted in the target language, they may be considered part of the language component of the proposal. Graduate students may also supplement their overseas study with private tutoring.

The Boren Awards are available to students from the following preferred fields of study.

  • Agricultural & Food Sciences – STEM
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Area Studies
  • Astronomy – STEM
  • Biology – STEM
  • Business
  • Chemistry – STEM
  • Computer & Information Sciences – STEM
  • Criminal Justice
  • Cybersecurity – STEM
  • Economics
  • Engineering – STEM
  • Environmental Studies – STEM
  • Geography
  • Geology – STEM
  • History
  • International Affairs
  • International Development
  • Languages
  • Law
  • Linguistics
  • Mathematics – STEM
  • Medical Sciences – STEM
  • Military Science
  • Nursing – STEM
  • Physics – STEM
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Public Administration
  • Public Health – STEM
  • Social Sciences
  • Social Work
  • Sociology

Program Benefits

Boren Scholarships awards the maximum amount of money as follows:

  • 8-11 weeks: $8,000 for a summer program (STEM majors only)
  • 12-24 weeks: $12,500
  • 25-52 weeks: $25,000

Meanwhile, Boren Fellowships awards cash with a maximum amount as follows:

  • 12-24 weeks: $12,500
  • 25-52 weeks: $25,000

Boren Fellows have the option to apply for up to $12,000 for domestic summer intensive language courses. If requested, the maximum total combined domestic and overseas award amount is $30,000.

Total actual award amounts are based on the amounts listed in the budget section of the application. Financial aid from other sources applied to the overseas study program must be reported and may affect the total Boren Awards grant. Student loans will not affect the grant.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the Boren Scholarships and Fellowships, you must:

  1. S. citizens at the time of the national application deadline;
  2. A high school graduate, or have earned a GED;
  3. At least 18 years of age or older at the time of the national application deadline;
  4. Planning an overseas program in a country outside of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand;
  5. Planning to study in a country of which they are not a citizen;
  6. Matriculated for the duration of their Boren Awards-funded program in an undergraduate or graduate degree program located within the United States and accredited by a body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education;
  7. In inactive, non-drilling status for the duration of their Boren Awards-funded program (for ROTC cadets and midshipmen and members of the military Reserves or National Guard).

However, it should be noted that these are the basic requirements that all applicants must meet. Visit the official website of Boren Scholarships and Fellowships (listed at the end of this guide) to learn about specific requirements for Boren Scholarships and Boren Fellowships applicants.

How to Apply for the Boren Scholarships and Fellowships

Visit the Apply Now page to get started by selecting the country and language you want to study. You may change your selections at any time. After you complete the application form, Reach out to the Boren Awards campus representative at your institution. They will have lots of constructive advice for you. You may still apply if your institution does not have one.

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Next, you have to choose what program you wish to join. There are two options that you can choose from. You can opt for a Regional Flagship Language Initiative or select a study program of your own choice.

Regional Flagship Language Initiatives offer Boren Scholars and Boren Fellows carefully-selected, credit-bearing language courses during the summer (domestic) and fall (overseas), with the option to continue overseas study into the spring:

  • The African Flagship Languages Initiative (AFLI) for the study of French, Swahili, Akan/Twi, Wolof, or Zulu,
  • The Indonesian Flagship Language Initiative (IFLI) for the study of Indonesian,
  • The South Asian Flagship Languages Initiative (SAFLI) for the study of Hindi or Urdu, or
  • The Turkish Flagship Language Initiative (TURFLI) for the study of Turkish.

In the next stage, you will be asked to reflect on your professional goals. The Boren Scholarships and Fellowships invest in linguistic and cultural knowledge for aspiring federal government employees. Understanding the national security implications of your study and the many career opportunities available to you is critical to a successful application. Draft your essays as early as you can and share them with your recommenders.

If you need help with how to construct a flawless essay, you can follow this guide: How to Write a Good Scholarship Essay.

Closing Date

Make sure that you submit your application form by the deadline. For Boren Scholarships, the closing date is February 3rd, 2021 at 05:00 p.m. EST. Meanwhile, the application deadline for Boren Fellowships is January 27th, 2021 at 05:00 p.m. EST.

Boren Awards funding may be applied to programs starting as early as June 1st, 2021, or as late as March 1st, 2022. You will be notified if you have been selected in mid-to-late April of 2021.

Contact Detail

If you have any questions specific to your application, contact the Boren Scholarships and Fellowships team at boren@iie.org or call 1-800-618-6737 during business hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST).

Boren Scholarships and Fellowships Official Website

Interested in applying or would you like to find out more about Boren Scholarships and Fellowships? Visit the official website of the Boren Awards at www.borenawards.org.

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