Boren Undergraduate Scholarships
Website: Boren Undergraduate Scholarships
Boren Scholarships provide up to $20,000 to U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The countries of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are excluded. For a complete list of countries, click here.
Boren Scholars represent a variety of academic backgrounds, but all are interested in studying less commonly taught languages, including but not limited to Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Swahili. For a complete list of languages, click here.
Boren Scholarships are funded by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), which focuses on geographic areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security. Applicants should identify how their study abroad program, as well as their future academic and career goals, will contribute to U.S. national security, broadly defined. NSEP draws on a broad definition of national security, recognizing that the scope of national security has expanded to include not only the traditional concerns of protecting and promoting American well-being, but also the challenges of global society, including sustainable development, environmental degradation, global disease and hunger, population growth and migration, and economic competitiveness.
Maximum scholarship awards are:
- $8,000 for a summer program (special initiative for STEM students only; 8 weeks minimum)
- $10,000 for a semester
- $20,000 for a full academic year
Length of Study
Boren Scholarships promote long term linguistic and cultural immersion, and therefore study abroad proposals for two or more semesters are strongly encouraged. Preference will be given to undergraduate applicants proposing a full-year academic study. Boren-funded programs can begin no earlier than June 1.
Summer-only programs must be eight (8) weeks or more and are limited to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students. To learn more about this special STEM initiative, click here.
The program focuses on geographic areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security. It draws on a broad definition of national security, recognizing that the scope of national security has expanded to include not only the traditional concerns of protecting and promoting American well-being, but also the challenges of global society, including: sustainable development, environmental degradation, global disease and hunger, population growth and migration, and economic competitiveness. All applicants must demonstrate how their study programs and future goals are connected to this broad understanding of national security. For more information about this broad definition of national security, click here.
Boren Scholarships are awarded with preference for countries, languages, and fields of study critical to U.S. national security. Preference is also given to students who will study abroad for longer periods of time, and who are highly motivated by the opportunity to work in the federal government.
As we cannot list all countries, languages, and fields that are critical to U.S. national security, we are interested in applications that fall outside the preferences, if the candidate can make a compelling case that such study can contribute significantly to U.S. national security and the goals of the program.
For more information about what makes a competitive application, click here.
In exchange for scholarship funding, all Boren Scholars must agree to the NSEP Service Requirement.
Boren Scholarships are for undergraduate students. You are eligible to apply for the Boren Scholarship if you are:
- A U.S. citizen at the time of application
- A high school graduate, or have earned a GED
- Matriculated in an undergraduate degree program located within the United States accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Boren Scholars must remain matriculated in their undergraduate programs for the duration of the scholarship and may not graduate until the scholarship is complete.
- Applying to a study abroad program that meets home institution standards in a country outside of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand. Boren Scholarships are not for study in the United States.
- US Citizen
Carefully read the application instructions and access the online application form at http://borenawards.org/boren_scholarship/how_apply.html.
1. Contact your Boren campus representative for your on-campus deadline. At UW Seattle, the campus representative is Emily Smith. At UW Bothell, the campus representative is Natalia Dyba. At UW Tacoma, the campus representative is Cindy Schaarschmidt. Continue to work with your campus representative during the application process.
3. Submit the following supplementary materials to your campus representative.
- Completed letters of reference. The Boren Scholarship requires two letters of recommendation. Enter your recommenders' information in you online Boren Scholarship application. As soon as you click "save," your recommender will receive an email with login information. Contact your recommenders before completing this section of your online application, if possible.
- Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. Freshmen must also include high school transcripts. Transcripts are acceptable if they are official transcripts, student copies of official transcripts, or photocopies of official transcripts. If you are recommended for a Boren Scholarship, IIE will require original, sealed, and official transcripts at that time.
- Degree progress reports and web-based transcripts printed directly from your online student account are not acceptable.
- Language self-assessment - Complete this form using the Language self-assessment guide.
- Language proficiency form (optional) - Complete this form using the Language Evaluation Guidelines.
- Choose one of the following:
- One page study abroad program description with cost information. (This may be a page from the program’s website or a photocopy of part of the program brochure.)
- If you set up a direct enrollment or individually arranged study abroad program, please provide two letters of support. The first letter should be from your home institution and the second letter should be from your overseas host institution.
The online application must be submitted, and the supplementary materials should be given to your Boren campus representative, by your on-campus deadline.
Emily Smith in the Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards is happy to meet with UW Seattle students interested in applying for the Boren Scholarship. Information sessions will also be held throughout fall quarter to introduce this nationally competitive program.
Boren Selection Criteria (be sure to address as many of these as possible in the essays!)
The application will require you to discuss your future career plans in the international arena and how the country, language, and study abroad program you select will help you achieve your academic and career goals, including your plans to fulfill the service requirement. The Applicant Resources section of the Boren website has several listings of examples of Boren Scholars completing their service requirements, and many other helpful resources. Makingthedifference.org is another good resource for exploring career options within the federal government (internships and full-time employment).
Federal service is the cornerstone of the Boren Awards program. Recipients of a Boren Scholarship or Fellowship accept a Service Requirement to work for the federal government in the national security arena. Award recipients are not guaranteed a federal job after graduation - they must secure a position themselves. This individual-driven approach means that Boren Scholarship and Fellowship application essays must include a compelling case as to why the candidate is, or will be, qualified for federal employment with national security responsibilities. Successful applicants make this case by relating their professional, academic, extracurricular, and volunteer experience to duties required of federal employees in national security positions. The onus is on the applicant to make this connection.
The NSEP Service Requirement stipulates that an award recipient work in the Federal Government in a position with national security responsibilities. The Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and 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. If an award recipient demonstrates to NSEP that no appropriate position is available in the Federal Government, the award recipient may petition NSEP to fulfill the requirement in an education position directly related to the language[s] or area[s] studied by the individual under NSEP support or to another language or area where the individual has demonstrated competency. The education option is available only after exhausting all opportunities to fulfill the requirement in the Federal Government in accordance with conditions established by NSEP.
The duration of the NSEP Service Requirement is one year or the duration of assistance provided under the program, whichever is longer.
Boren Scholars must begin fulfilling the NSEP Service Requirement within three years of graduation. Even though there is no guaranteed job for award recipients after graduation, the vast majority fulfill their service obligation within a year of their service deadlines.
For more details and a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the NSEP Service Requirement, click here.
UW Seattle Campus Representative:
Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards
171 Mary Gates Hall, Box 352803
Seattle, WA 98195-2803
UW Bothell Campus Representative:
Director, Global Initiatives
Student Success Center, UW1-186
18115 Campus Way NE
Bothell, WA 98011
UW Tacoma Campus Representative:
Director, Student Fellowships & Awards
University of Washington ?Tacoma
Division of Student and Enrollment Services
Campus Mailbox 358403
1900 Commerce Street
Tacoma, Washington 98402-3100
(PH) 253-692-4358; (FX) 253-692-4788; MAT 210
National Security Education Program
Boren Undergraduate Scholarships
Institute of International Education
6th Floor, 1400 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005-2403
Phone: 1-800-618-NSEP (toll-free) or 202-326-7697