Fulbright US Student Program

History   |   Description   |   Eligibility   |    How to   |   Application   |    Benchmark Deadlines

History and Purpose

In 1945, Senator J. William Fulbright introduced a bill in the United States Congress that called for the use of surplus war property to fund the "promotion of international good will through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture, and science." On August 1, 1946, President Harry S. Truman signed the bill into law, and Congress created the Fulbright Program. From its inception, the Fulbright Program has fostered bilateral relationships in which citizens and governments of other countries work with the U.S. to set joint priorities and shape the program to meet shared needs. The world has been transformed in ensuing decades, but the fundamental principle of international partnership remains at the core of the Fulbright mission. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, under the auspices of the Fulbright Scholarship Board, administers the Fulbright Program and the U.S. Student Program.  Applications are processed and awards administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE).

Description of Fulbright US Student Program

The Fulbright US Student Program offers funded opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide.  The program currently awards approximately 1,800 grants annually in all fields of study, and operates in more than 160 countries. Two types of grants are available:

  • Independent Research or Graduate Study grant which enables the grantee to develop a project or pursue graduate study (one year master’s degree) in a participating Fulbright country
  • an English Teaching Assistantship through which the grantee assists in teaching English and American culture to non-native speakers in a classroom setting 

To learn more about the Fulbright application process and each type of grant, watch these 15-minute tutorials.

Fulbright offers other grants that have unique features, including the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowships, limited Fulbright-Fogarty Awards in Public Health, and Critical Language Enhancement Awards that accompany a Research Study Grant to certain countries. Students/alumnae interested in these grants are encouraged to consult the Fulbright website and contact FMH for details.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must be/have:

  • Seniors who will have obtained a bachelor’s degree before the time of the grant, or alumnae up to 5 years from graduation; applicants must not have obtained a doctorate degree
  • US citizens (those in the process of applying for citizenship are not yet eligible)
  • Sufficient proficiency in the language of the host country to carry out responsibilities
  • Strong academic achievement usually with a GPA of 3.5+ and pertinent academic/other experience

How to apply

NOTE: Campus process benchmarks are much earlier than Fulbright’s application submission deadline.

Enrolled students must apply through the campus process. REGISTER HERE to apply through MHC. The campus process includes guidance on grant and country selection, feedback on all application materials, including draft outlines and essays, an interview with the campus Fulbright Committee, and final submission of each student’s application materials and campus evaluations.

Alumnae are invited and encouraged to join the campus process as well.

Campus process applicants are expected to comply with all benchmark deadlines. Potential candidates should meet with the National Fellowships Advisor (NFA) to discuss their Fulbright aspirations. Request an appointment with the NFA by completing this form

Application components

  • A completed online form where biographical data, foreign travel experience, educational background, work experience, extra-curricular activities, awards, publications, presentations, language learning, plan for host country engagement, and choice of grant and country are entered; a brief abstract is also entered for Research/Study Grants
  • A Statement of Grant Purpose (12 pt Times New Roman, 1 inch margins, 2 single-spaced pages for Research/Study grants; 1 page for ETA grants)
  • A Personal Statement (12 pt Times New Roman, 1 inch margins, 1 single-spaced page for both kinds of grants)
  • Transcripts from MHC and study abroad/summer study/any previous undergraduate institution; for MHC, fellowships office will supply unofficial version; alumnae must send official. Once finalists are announced, current student finalists will need to order an official MHC transcript and send to Fellowships Office
  • Three recommendations (from people who can attest to your ability to fulfill the terms of the grant; these may be professors or work/internship supervisors but should include at least one faculty member); letters/forms are uploaded to Fulbright website by the recommender; ETA recommenders upload a Fulbright ETA recommendation form while Research/Study recommenders upload a signed letter on institutional letterhead. In the online application, once the applicant enters the names and contact information of her recommenders and language evaluator, an email will be sent with instructions on how they can upload letters/fill out forms.
  • Language Self-Evaluation (completed by the applicant)
  • Foreign Language Evaluation (completed by an instructor) - if applicable for country choice - recommended even if not required
  • Critical Language Enhancement Award Statement (available for certain countries)
  • Letter(s) of Affiliation (for Study grant only, showing support of in-country institution(s)
  • Supplementary Materials (all candidates applying in the creative and performing arts must submit examples of their artistic work; these will be evaluated by the National Fulbright Screening Committee)

 Please note that for all deadlines, submission time is 12:00 noon

  • Attend Fulbright info session, if possible; abroad students watch Fulbright tutorials; & make in-person or Skype appointment with NFA
  • Research destination countries/grant types/seek advice from FMH and faculty
  • Brainstorm & develop Pre-Application Survey--available through FMH--in consultation faculty
  • Consider three recommendations and language evaluation
  • Research potential affiliates (Research/Study grants only)
by June 1

Register to Apply through MHC  Missed the deadline? Contact National Fellowships Advisor to inquire about late accommodation.

June 10
  • Create account for Fulbright application portal, begin app, and save
  • Enrolled students order official transcripts from study abroad/summer/prior study to be sent to FMH (NFA will get MHC unofficial transcript)
  • Alumnae order official MHC transcripts & study abroad/summer/prior study to be sent to FMH
by July 1st Send outlines of Statement of Grant Purpose to NFA for feedback (via email as word docs)
Aug 25
  • Send drafts of Statement of Grant Purpose and Personal Statement to NFA and faculty team for feedback
  • Enter Recommenders'/Language Evaluators' names in application; triggers email for upload
by Sept 18
  • Applicant submits completed online application in Fulbright system
  • Recommenders upload letters/forms in Fulbright system
  • Language evaluators submit forms in Fulbright system
9/19-9/30 Fulbright Faculty Committees review applications to provide feedback
Sept-Oct Applicants revise materials as suggested by Committee
by Oct 4
  • Applicants resubmit in online system
  • NFA reviews, uploads evaluation, and sends to Fulbright by the national deadline.