Fulbright Scholarship Requirements, Eligibility, and Application Procedures

Princewill Princewill
Posted Princewill Princewill August 18, 2022
Updated 2022/08/18 at 5:23 PM
13 Min Read
Fulbright Scholarship Requirement

If you’re like me, and you want to study abroad, you may have stumbled on Fulbright Scholarship while searching for available scholarships online. Just like every other scholarship program, there are certain requirements you have to meet to qualify for a Fulbright scholarship. 

In this article, we will look a what it takes to secure a Fulbright scholarship and how to go about your application process. 

The Fulbright Program

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international academic exchange program sponsored by the United States government. It was established in 1946 in an attempt to promote peace and understanding through educational exchange. 

The program is funded by the U.S. Department of State and other foreign governments. While additional direct and in-kind funding is provided by the United States and foreign institutions of higher education, corporate partnerships, non-governmental organizations, and individual donors. 

Fulbright Program provides awards to approximately 8000 people including students, teachers, professionals, and artists. Each year, from the United States, the program connects students in over 160 countries. 

Participants of the Fulbright Program are chosen for their leadership potential and academic merit. They are provided the opportunity to study, teach, carry out research, exchange ideas, and contribute to proffering solutions to shared international concerns. 

The program is unique and is noted for its merit-based selection, academic selection, and binationalism. It brings together students from different backgrounds, selected regardless of their s*x, color, national origin, race, geographic location, religion, socio-economic status, gender identity, and s#xual orientation. 

Fulbright Program provides grants for citizens of the United States to go abroad, and for non-US citizens with no permanent residence to come to the US. See the full list of Fulbright grant opportunities and programs. 

Fulbright Foreign Student Program 

The Fulbright Foreign Student Program allows graduate students, artists, and young professionals from abroad to study and carry out research in the United States. Approximately 4,000 foreign students from more than 160 countries worldwide receive Fulbright scholarships every year. 

The Student Program is supervised by binational Fulbright Commissions/Foundations or United States Embassies. These offices process all applications in the Foreign Students Program. 

Fulbright Scholarships

The Fulbright Foreign Student Program provides Fulbright Scholarships to international students from 155 countries around the world.

The scholarship is offered to students looking to pursue their master’s and postgraduate degrees in different institutions in the United States. It covers tuition fees, stipends, airfare, accommodation fees as well as other academic and living expenses. 

Fulbright Scholarship Requirements and Eligibility

Requirement and eligibility for the Fulbright Foreign Students Program Scholarship differ depending on your country. However, applicants for this scholarship must be proficient in English or from an English-speaking country.

Some general Fulbright Scholarship requirements include: 

  • English proficiency test result 
  • GRE test results and TOEFL
  • Academic transcripts: Applicants for a master’s degree will be required to submit their transcripts or degrees for a four-year undergraduate degree or its equivalent programs. Equivalent programs include an international three-year bachelor’s degree or an ACCA. Ph.D. applicants will be required to submit MPhil or MSc degrees or transcripts. 
  • Essays
  • Three (3) Recommendation letters

 Here is a list of eligibility criteria based on country. Note that if your country is not on this list, it means you are not eligible for the scholarship.

Application Procedures for a Fulbright Scholarship

Fulbright Scholarship application procedures differ widely based on country. For application submission, applicants are expected to contact Fulbright Commission/Foundation or the United States Embassy in their home country. 

Application deadline for scholarship application also varies based on your country and generally lasts between February and March. 

However, we have curated a list that will give you information on what you will need to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship and everything you need to have in mind. 

  • Process your application online. 

To apply for a Fulbright scholarship, you need to gather a variety of materials to help the USEFP assess your qualifications. All these materials must be submitted alongside your scholarship application. 

  • Prepare your academic transcripts. 

It is advisable to prepare your bachelor’s or MS degrees or transcripts before you commence your scholarship application process. You can also apply while in your last year of studies provided you get your degree before December of that year.

The USEFP takes into account, not just your GPA, but where you attended school, the courses you took, and your grades in each of the courses. They also consider the fact that different universities have different grade systems.  

  • Take GRE test and TOEFL. 

When submitting your application, you may choose to report the unofficial GRE score given on the test day or your official score. A minimum GRE score of 138 for verbal and 136 for quantitative, is required for a Fulbright scholarship. 

If you take the GRE test more than once, you may submit your best score. 

At the time of application submissions, TOEFL is not required. However, you will have to take the TOEFL exam if you are called for an interview. ILETS is not accepted. 

  • Write two essays

Two essays are required for the Fulbright scholarship application. Each essay must be written in the specific spaces provided in the application form and should be approximately 800 words. 

Be careful not to overdraft your essays; write them in simple and clear language so that the Fulbright panel can understand you regardless of your nationality and culture. 

Before starting your essay, it is essential to come up with a marketing strategy for yourself. Most successful applicants take 4-6 weeks to write and perfect their essays. 

  • Get your recommendation letters ready

You will be required to submit three recommendation letters alongside your scholarship application. You can submit three academic reference letters or two academic and one professional letter, or two professional and one academic letter. 

In other words, your recommendation letter must contain at least one academic letter. 

Your referee will also be required to fill out a reference form included in the application package and then sign, stamp, and seal the envelope. Once uou successfully submit your online application, your referees will be sent a form to fill out via email.

  • Prepare your resume. 

A space will be provided on your application form where you will be required to add a current academic resume. 

  • Submit your application

To complete your application process, you will be required to submit your application forms online.

  • Prepare for an interview

After your online application has been reviewed, you may be invited to an interview by the Fulbright panel. These are done by mid-September and interviews are concluded by October. 

If you do not hear from USEFP by October, it automatically means you have not been selected for the scholarship. The interview, however, is a positive indicator of a selection but is not a guarantee for admission. 

Interviews are conducted by a panel of four people and last for 15-30 minutes. 

You will need your TOEFL registration slip for your interview. However, it is not mandatory to have taken the TOEFL exam before the interview.

Here’s more detailed information on Fulbright application guidelines specific to your country

Other Fulbright Programs 

Fulbright Scholar Program 

The Fulbright Scholar Program is a program for academics and professionals. The program awards over 1,700 fellowships annually, enabling 800 U.S. Scholars to go abroad and 900 Visiting Scholars to come to the United States. 

Essentially, Fulbright Scholars gain valuable and intentional insights, build their skills and connections, then return home to share their experiences with their students and colleagues. Fulbright Scholars come from all types of institutions and geographic regions across the US and around the world. 

As a Scholar, you have the chance to make meaningful contributions to communities at home and abroad, as well as in your chosen field. Joining a network of accomplished alumni serving as leaders and educators across the globe will also advance your career. 

Fulbright U.S. Student Program 

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program widens your perspective through academic and professional development and intercultural communication. Through this medium, Fulbright creates connections in a complex and dynamic world. 

Fulbright U.S. Student Program works with more than 140 countries to offer unique opportunities to passionate and accomplished graduate students, graduate college seniors, and young professionals in all academic disciplines and from all backgrounds. 

This student program is only open to citizens of the United States. Permanent residents are not eligible to apply. 

The U.S. Student Program facilitates cultural exchange through direct connections and interactions on an individual basis between students in the classroom, field, home, and in routine tasks. This allows the student to appreciate other people’s points of view, beliefs, characters, the way they think, and the way they do things. 

Through engagement in the community, individuals also have the opportunity to interact with their hosts on a one-on-one basis in an atmosphere of open intellectual freedom and academic integrity. This promotes mutual understanding between hosts and grantees. 

Fulbright Students Vs Fulbright Scholars

Most times, Fulbright Students and Fulbright Scholars are used interchangeably. However, these two terms are entirely different in both meaning and context. 

In simple terms, Fulbright Students are participants in the Fulbright Student Program. This program gives graduate students, graduating college seniors, and artists the opportunity to teach, study and conduct research.

To qualify to be a Fulbright Student, you will be required to possess a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) by the start of the Fulbright grant period. However, exceptions may apply, especially for artists. 

Similarly, Fulbright Scholars are participants in the Fulbright Scholar’s Program. Unlike the Fulbright Student Program, the Scholar’s Program enables university faculty members with a Ph. D (or an equivalent terminal degree) to teach and/or conduct research.

The Fulbright Scholar’s Program is open to artists and professionals, and not just artists. A small number of grants are also offered annually to United States’ international education administrators through the Fulbright Scholar’s Program. 

Conclusion

The Fulbright Foreign Students program is one of the Fulbright programs sponsored by the United States Government. The program funds a scholarship grant for international students from different countries to study in the US. 

However, eligibility for the Fulbright scholarship program depends highly on your home country, as some countries are not eligible for the scholarship

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