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Boren Scholarships for Study Abroad

Provides a unique funding opportunity for undergraduate students to study world regions critical to U.S. interests.


The National Security Education Program (NSEP) was designed to provide Americans with the resources and encouragement they need to acquire skills and experiences in areas of the world critical to the future security of our nation in exchange for a commitment to seek work in the federal government.  As students of other cultures and languages, Boren Scholars and Fellows begin to acquire the international competence needed to communicate effectively across borders, to understand other perspectives, and to analyze economic and political affairs.  The NSEP David L. Boren Scholarships for Study Abroad offer opportunities for U.S. undergraduate students to study in world regions critical to U.S. interests but generally underrepresented in study abroad (including Africa, Asia, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East).  The countries of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are excluded.


SEE ALSO:  NSEP Boren Graduate Fellowship, NSEP Language Flagship Fellowships, Pickering Foreign Affairs Graduate Fellowship, Critical Language Scholarships for Intensive Summer Institutes, Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship Program

Selection Criteria

Scholarship award recipients will be selected on the basis of merit with consideration for:

  • NSEP program preferences;

  • Academic record and potential to succeed in the proposed study abroad program;

  • Commitment to international education to fulfill academic and career goals;

  • Language interest and aptitude;

  • The quality and appropriateness of the proposed program and its relevance to the National Security Education Program.

The study abroad proposal you submit, along with your references and transcripts, will be included in the assessment process.  Specifically, screening committees and evaluators will consider the following positive attributes in terms of each applicant:

  • The student is academically prepared to benefit fully from this overseas experience.

  • The student has prior experience in language training and/or demonstrates serious commitment to acquiring the target language overseas and continuing to study that language upon return home.

  • The student's proposal indicates high motivation to study abroad based on evidence of interest in using the experience to support his/her academic and federal career goals.

  • The student's proposal presents a plan for applying overseas studies (e.g., language and cultural studies) to his/her academic or professional program in the United States.

  • The student is mature and flexible and possesses the common sense needed to succeed in the proposed study abroad program.

  • The student is knowledgeable about the study abroad program he or she intends to pursue, including its formal (classroom) and informal instruction, the quality and scope of the program's language component, and the administrative structure of the program.

  • The student's proposal addresses U.S. national security.

  • The student's professional goals are international in scope and support U.S. national security interests.

  • The student's proposal expresses a commitment to pursue a career in federal service.


Applicants must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen at the time of application;

  • Be a high school graduate, or earned a GED, and are matriculated in an undergraduate degree program in a U.S. post-secondary institution;

  • Apply to engage in a study abroad experience in a country outside of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand that meets home institution standards;

  • Plan to use the scholarship for study abroad, and the study abroad program ends before the applicant graduates.

This award has a required service component, which stipulates that an award recipient work in the federal government in a position with national security responsibilities.  The Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, State, or any element of the Intelligence Community are priority agencies.  If an award recipient demonstrates to NSEP that no appropriate position is available in one of these agencies, the award recipient must seek to fulfill the requirement in a position with national security responsibilities in any federal department or agency.  Approval of service outside of a priority agency is contingent upon satisfactory demonstration of a full and good faith effort in accordance with conditions established by NSEP.  The duration of the service requirement is equal to the duration of assistance provided under the program, but in no case less than one year.  Boren Scholars must begin to fulfill the service requirement no later than three years after the date of graduation from, or termination of, the program of study for which the scholarship was awarded.


Boren Undergraduate Scholarships are based on the study abroad costs and financial aid information provided by the applicant.  The maximum award is $8,000 for a summer, $10,000 for a semester, or $20,000 for a full academic year.


Boren Undergraduate Scholarships promote full academic year study, and preference will be given to applications for a full academic year.  However, applicants may also apply for a semester program.  Summer-only programs are limited to freshman and sophomores, and science and engineering majors, regardless of academic-class level.  Applications for summer-only programs will be considered only if the program is eight weeks or longer and is designed as a language immersion program. 

For more information:

Boren Scholarships for Study Abroad



Internal Selection Deadline (LSU)