Boren Scholarship Awards for International Students

Boren Awards, a National Security Education Program initiative, provide up to $24,000 in Boren Scholarship funding for U.S. undergraduate and graduate students.

This funding exists for students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests but underrepresented in studies abroad, such as Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Western European countries, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are not included.

Boren Scholarships (undergraduate) and Fellowships (graduate) are awarded to students studying geographic areas, languages, or subjects deemed essential to U.S. national security.

The Boren scholarship uses a broad definition of national security, acknowledging that the scope of national security has expanded.

This expansion includes traditional concerns of protecting and promoting American well-being and global society’s challenges, such as sustainable development, environmental degradation, global disease and hunger, population growth and migration, and economic competitiveness.

Boren awards fund semester-long, 6-12 month, or summer-only study abroad programs. Boren-funded programs cannot begin until June 1.

Summer-only programs must last at least eight (8) weeks and are exclusively available to students majoring in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM).

About David L. Boren

David L. Boren is the primary author of the legislation that established the National Security Education Program and the Boren Awards named after him.

He argued in the United States Senate for the adoption of NSEP that the United States needed a big increase in experts in the languages and cultures of nations that were underrepresented in the number of U.S. students studying there.

Boren believed that as the globe changed, the United States would work increasingly through partnerships with other countries whose needs and viewpoints needed a better understanding.

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

He is the first person in Oklahoma history to have served as a state lawmaker, governor, U.S. senator, and University of Oklahoma president. He holds degrees from Yale University, Oxford University, and the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

Senator Boren is generally acknowledged for his academic credentials, long-standing support for education, and remarkable political career as an American political system reformer.

What You Need To Know About Boren Scholarship

The Boren scholarship is worth every try; here is everything you need to know.

Level/Field of Study

This scholarship is open to all levels of studies. No matter your course or level of study, there is something for you.

Host Nationality

Boren scholarship is one of those top scholarships for undergraduate and postgraduate.

Eligible Nationality

The Boren scholarship is open to all Americans; check for the eligibility requirement and apply if you are qualified.

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The Boren Scholarship Benefits

Boren scholarship benefits are divided into two categories; undergraduate and postgraduate.

Undergraduate Studies 

Fund undergraduate students from the United States who wish to study abroad in countries where American interests are important.

The maximum prizes depend on the amount of time spent abroad:
25 to 52 weeks at a maximum of $25,000 (recommended)
$12,500 maximum for 12 to 24 weeks
For 8–11 weeks, up to $8,000 (restricted to STEM majors).

If you got a low GPA, these scholarships are for you: 8 Best Scholarships for Low GPA Students.

Postgraduate Studies

Support graduate student research and language study proposals in international locations important to American interests.

The maximum prizes depend on the amount of time spent abroad:
25 to 52 weeks at a maximum of $25,000 (recommended)
Up to $12,500 for 12–24 weeks plus an additional $12,000 for optional home language study

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The Boren Scholarship Eligibility

Most eligible students will submit Boren Award applications to finance foreign language study programs that they have chosen on their own. Where specified, the program design standards for graduate Boren Fellows and undergraduate Boren Scholars are slightly different.

All candidates must be:

  • Citizens of the United States at the time of the national application deadline
  • A high school graduate or possess a GED
  • Aged at least 18 at the time of the national application deadline
  • preparing a program abroad in a nation other than Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand
  • preparing to study abroad
  • For the duration of their Boren Award-funded program, enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program offered in the United States and accredited by a body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (For ROTC cadets, midshipmen, and members of the military Reserves or National Guard) For the length of their Boren Awards-funded program, in dormant, non-drilling status

The Boren Awards provide precedence to programs based on their duration, emphasis on the intense study of a selected language in a preferred country, and the applicant’s topic of study in addition to these fundamental eligibility requirements.

Additional rules apply to self-designed research, internship, and study programs for Boren Fellows. Before their study abroad, they are also qualified to receive financing for in-person domestic summer language programs.

Some Boren Scholarship candidates who have previously enrolled in The Language Flagship may be eligible to receive support for their capstone year abroad. They apply using the same platform as other candidates.

How to Apply For The Boren Scholarship

Here are the steps you need to take start the Boren scholarship application;

Step 1: Make a Fresh Application

Go to the Apply Now page and choose the nation and language you wish to study. Your choices are always subject to change.

Step 2: Learn More

Contact the campus contact for the Boren Awards at your institution. (If your institution doesn’t have one, you can still apply.) They will provide you with a wealth of helpful guidance.

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-AND- Watch our introductory webinar to learn the fundamentals of the Boren Awards application.

AND look over the official selection standards.

Step 3: Select a Program

Make an application for a regional flag language initiative.

In the summer (domestic) and fall (abroad), Regional Flagship Language Initiatives provide Boren Scholars and Boren Fellows with a carefully curated selection of credit-bearing language courses, with the option to extend their studies abroad into the spring:

  • French, Swahili, Akan/Twi, Wolof, and Zulu can all be studied under the African Flagship Languages Initiative (AFLI).
  • Indonesian Flagship Language Initiative (IFLI) for Indonesian language research
  • SAFLI, the South Asian Flagship Languages Initiative, for learning Hindi or Urdu
  • The Turkish Flagship Language Initiative (TURFLI) to learn Turkish OR

 Make Your Study Program Selections

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Step 4: Consider your Professional Objectives

The Boren Awards support the development of prospective federal government employees’ linguistic and cultural knowledge.

For your application to be successful, you must comprehend the consequences of your national security research and the variety of employment options open to you.

Share your essay drafts with your recommenders as soon as you can.

Step 5: Raise More Support

Your campus representative will be of the utmost assistance to you. (If you don’t have one, you can still apply; if new advisors wish to be mentioned, ask them to get in touch.)

Watch as many of the new webinars that the Boren Awards crew will release on particular subjects throughout the application cycle as possible!

Call 1-800-618-6737 ext. one during business hours (9 am to 5 pm Eastern) or email us at [email protected] if you have any inquiries about your application.

Step 6: Submit Your Application By the Boren Scholarship Deadline

For the Boren Awards, the following national deadlines apply:

  • Fellowships at Boren: January 24
  • Scholarships from Boren: January 31
  • Application for the Boren Awards is now available!
  • Funding from the Boren Awards may be used for initiatives beginning as early as June 4 or as late as March 1.

Additionally, your campus representative can establish a deadline for support and feedback; if so, abide by it.

Mid-to-late April will mark when applicants will learn if they have been chosen.

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