The U.S. Fulbright Program was proposed by Senator J. William Fulbright in 1945 and signed into law by President Truman in 1946, following the end of WWII. The idea was to promote mutual understanding between peoples of the United States and other countries to avert another world war.
The Fulbright program has six programs designed for U.S. Scholars, four for Non-U.S. Scholars, and five programs for U.S. Institutions. Each program has a separate mission and deadline date; the most popular program for the U.S. faculty is the Core Fulbright Scholar Program which opens on February 1 and closes on August 1 of each year.
Students need to develop a proposal and other parts of the application with Dr. Johnson by early September of each year, as the Fulbright Program requires. The final application, after review by Dr. Johnson, is due to Fulbright by early October. Please watch for specific dates on the Fulbright site and in campus messages.
If you are a senior beginning in the Fall of any particular year and expect to graduate no later than the following summer, and are interested in applying for this great opportunity, contact Dr. Johnson—either by late Spring term, or, at latest, by August 1 of each year. (Faculty members are not obliged to do so, but are encouraged to consult with the Fulbright Program Adviser.)
The Fulbright grant period is usually August to May for the next academic year. So if you apply in October, you would start the following August. Students usually go for nine months, sometimes ten. Faculty can stipulate the number of months they require, which usually ranges from three to nine. (There’s also a FLEX grant for faculty research that allows variable travel dates.)
At ISU, contact Dr. Alan Johnson, Fulbright Program Advisor, at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are key Fulbright websites for you to consult (key dates are noted below):
- Fulbright Student Grant Coverage
- Criteria for Selection
- ISU Internal Deadlines and Process
The Fulbright entirely pays for one academic year abroad (airfare, living expenses, insurance coverage, language lessons) in one of more than 140 countries. You may work on a research project; teach English; or work on a creative project. A few countries offer slightly different options. Because an important component of Fulbright is being a cultural ambassador, students also choose a community service activity in which to participate.
Hold at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent by the start of the grant
Graduating seniors, graduate students, and recent alumni can apply, but not if you’ve finished a PhD
Meet required level of proficiency in language of host country if required (some do not)
Academic excellence, community engagement, leadership
For teaching assistant applicants, teaching or related experiences
Excellent academic or professional qualifications. Request recommendation letters from your faculty mentors or professional supervisors.
Feasibility of proposed research or creative or study project; or communication skills and potential for teaching English to non-native speakers
Language qualifications with reference to proposed project and country requirements
Evidence of leadership, maturity, motivation, and adaptability to a different cultural environment
Knowledge of host country. Some grants require a letter of invitation from the institution(s) you plan to affiliate with. This can take time, so start early.
Evaluation of candidate as a prospective cultural ambassador of the U.S. This and other qualifications are evaluated by the campus Fulbright advisor as well as the volunteer interview committee. Fulbright personnel then review applications that move on to the next round.
Research the countries [http://us.fulbrightonline.org/countries/regions] you’re interested in, and see if they offer grants that match either your project idea or, if interested in teaching, grants that seek English teaching assistants.
Review major scholarship Tips for Applications (see Northern Arizona University’s useful site here). Also review the Fulbright Program’s own Application Tips [https://us.fulbrightonline.org/applicants/application-tips]
Be in close touch to work with the FPA and your academic mentors to refine your proposal and application before the final due date.
Calendar for Student Applicants
Between early April and August: Register for a free account at Fulbright website.
July 1: (or, if needed, August 1): Finish reviewing all possible country profiles on the Fulbright site and select the country and grant number for which you wish to apply. Contact Dr. Johnson to share your application plan, including the draft of your proposal.
August: Contact prospective foreign institutions for letter inviting you to affiliate, if required by the grant. Undertake language proficiency test on campus, if required of grant. (Most grants do not require students to be proficient in the region’s language, but some may want to see evidence of a plan for basic language instruction of some kind.)
Mid-September: Complete application due to ISU’s Fulbright Program Adviser, Alan Johnson, for further review, as required by the Fulbright Program. Once the application is judged to be complete, Dr. Johnson shares it with the volunteer campus committee, which is composed of two or three professors and community members, in addition to Dr. Johnson.
Late September or October 1: Applicants interviewed by campus committee, with all parts of the application draft in place, including recommendations. The interviews are not meant to exclude applicants, only strengthen their prospects. Interview schedules are set up through email, and usually take place on a single day (possibly Saturday). Be sure that those writing your recommendation letters have prepared them, or are certain to do so at least 3 days before the October national deadline. Please ask your letter-writers to (1) consult Fulbright’s suggestions about writing the letter, and (2) share the letter with Dr. Johnson (email@example.com) before uploading them to the system.
Early October: Applications are polished and finalized online, including, if required and if available, the affiliation letter. Applications are then submitted by the applicant via Fulbright’s online system. Do not wait until the actual deadline; plan to submit at least 24 hours before that.