Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Do you know about Fulbright International Scholarships? Also see the details on United States India Educational Foundation.

Heard about Fulbright program? It is a fully-funded scholarship to the course and college of one's choice, in US or in your home country eg.India (see list of regions and countries below). I heard about it only a few years back from a close friend and have seen his classmate who had been to US for this wonderful program, coming out in flying colours!

With the support of Government of India funding beginning July 2008, the fellowship numbers will increase by more than 100 per year. Approximately 14,800 "Fulbrighters," 9,800 from the United States and 5,000 from India, have participated in the Program since its inception fifty eight years ago. Out of these 6,700 U.S. Fulbrighters were funded by the programs under the U.S. Department of Education. See Fulbright Grant Categories in India

What is Fulbright Program? Established in 1946, the Fulbright Program aims to increase mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and other countries, through the exchange of persons, knowledge, and skills.

  • Is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.
  • Is the largest U.S. international exchange program offering opportunities for students, scholars, and professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools worldwide.
  • Was established in 1946 by the U.S. Congress to "enable the government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries."
  • Awarded approximately six thousand grants in 2008, at a cost of more than $275.4 million, to U.S. students, teachers, professionals, and scholars to study, teach, lecture, and conduct research in more than 155 countries, and to their foreign counterparts to engage in similar activities in the United States.
  • Receives its primary source of funding through an annual appropriation from Congress to the Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions in foreign countries, and in the United States, also contribute financially through cost-sharing and indirect support, e.g., through salary supplements, tuition waivers, and university housing.
  • The U.S. Student Program grant numbers are subject to the availability of federally appropriated funds. The United States Department of State reserves the right to alter, without notice, participating countries, numbers of awards, terms of agreement, and allowances.
If you are a U.S. citizen, who will have a bachelor’s degree by the beginning date of the grant, but will not have a doctorate degree as of October 19, 2009, and who is Thinking of studying, assistant-teaching English, or conducting research abroad You could be one of more than 1,500 students who receive a Fulbright U.S. Student grant each year to go overseas. The U.S. Student Fulbright Program: Operates in more than 140 countries worldwide. Awards grants in nearly all fields and disciplines, including the sciences, professional fields and Creative and Performing Arts. See more on Institute of International Education - Fulbright Program for US students

If you are a non US citizen, please see the information given towards the end of the article. For Indian students, please see USIEF - United States India Educational Foundation.

It was US Senator J William Fulbright who first suggested that the American government fund student exchange programmes. His programme went on to influence more lives than he could possibly have imagined. His bill, accepted by President Harold Truman, was approved by the US Congress in 1946 with the objective of encouraging mutual understanding between the US and the rest of the world.

Since then, the US has funded more than 2,50,000 'Fulbrighters', each passionate about pursuing what they truly believe in.Whether you are a researcher, professional, a teacher or a student, there are innumerable programmes offered by Fulbright Program. The programme is administered by the United States- India Educational Foundation (USIEF) in India. Applications take over a year to be processed.

There is little that the Fulbright scholarship doesn't offer. It covers any form of academia from teaching to study and research. The fields covered too are numerous. There are grants for leadership development in three main sectors: research, lecturing to promote mutual understanding in areas of contemporary relevance to the US and India, and professional training in newly emerging areas of importance to India, such as environmental sciences and agriculture. The USIEF organises Fulbright mentoring workshops for potential applicants. You can get more information from any of their four offices in India, at Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai.

Process: An expert committee runs through eligible applications and invites applicants for an interview with the USIEF National Selection Committee in New Delhi. It's not just a great academic profile that the committee looks for. In the words of Senator Fulbright, "It aims to bring a little more knowledge, a little more reason, and a little more compassion into world affairs." The beneficiaries of this significant decision are today all successful people. But more importantly, it aims for 'complete' individuals.

Eligibility for Indian applicants: The USIEF does not have a fixed idea of who makes an ideal candidate. All they ask for is Indian citizenship and a graduate degree. There is no one single profile of a typical 'Fulbrighter'. Academic merit and leadership potential are the only tangible requirements. In return, their offer is an opportunity to study, teach, or conduct research in either country.Candidates must, however, meet the language requirements necessary for their proposed study, research or teaching assignment.

This is why they may have to qualify in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or submit a report completed by a language expert or instructor to verify their language skills. The GRE and GMAT score required depends on the course you apply for.

Having it in you is just the beginning. Convincing the panel of interviewers that you are deserving of the scholarship is the hardest part. That's the last hurdle that stands between a deserving candidate and a fully-funded scholarship to the course and college of one's choice.

For detailed information on eligibility, awards available, and the application components, please review the links on this website.

Official websites on Fulbright scholarships
  1. Official website of US Department of State , Bureau of Educational and Cultural affairs
  2. Fulbright.state.gov - Regions and Countries list
  3. Institute of International Education - Fulbright Program for US students
  4. Overview timeline and Tips for completing the Application
  5.  FAQ
  6. USIEF - United States India Educational Foundation
  7. Fulbright Grant Categories in India
So, if you want to be a Fulbright scholar, you must start the process right away or atleast be informed in advance.Deadlines vary for each of the programs.

Hope this information is helpful. Do write in your comments and share your experience to benefit other readers too. 

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