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David L. Boren Scholarships

  • Purpose

    NSEP awards David L. Boren Scholarships to outstanding U.S. undergraduates through a competitive national merit-based process. Since 1994, NSEP has awarded approximately 2,000 Boren Scholarships. Each Boren Scholar goes abroad to a critical country to study its language and culture. Awards are for up to one academic year. Boren Scholars demonstrate their merit for an award of up to $20,000 in part by committing to work for the U.S. Government for at least one year.

    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 and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin American, and the Middle East. The countries of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are excluded. For a complete list of countries, view the website.

    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, view the website.

    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.


    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, and are matriculated in an undergraduate degree program in a U.S. post-secondary institution, including universities, colleges, and community colleges accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
    • Applying to engage in a study abroad experience in a country outside of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand that meets home institution standards.
    • Planning to use the scholarship for study abroad, and the study abroad program ends before you graduate. Boren Scholarships are not for study in the United States.

    How to Apply

    1. Contact your Boren campus representative (Dr. Janet Goebel, for your on-campus deadline. Continue to work with your campus representative during the application process.
    2. Submit the Boren Scholarship application, which includes the items listed below. Before starting the online application, remember to read the application instructions.
      • a study abroad program section
      • a budget section
      • two statements of purpose
    3. Submit the following supplementary materials to your campus representative.
      • Completed letters of reference. Letters of reference must be signed, original letters in an envelope with the signature across the seal, when they are submitted to your campus representative or IIE. Two letters are required, and you may include a third optional letter.
      • Official, hard-copy transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. Freshmen must also include high school transcripts.
      • Language self-assessment - Complete this form using the Language self-assessment guide.
      • Language proficiency form (optional)
      • 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 (Dr. Janet Goebel), by your on-campus deadline. If you do not have a campus representative, the online application must be submitted, and all original supplementary materials must arrive at the following address, by the application deadline.


    The Boren Scholarship's national application deadline is February 10, 2011, at 11:59 p.m. EST. Please contact your campus representative (Janet Goebel) for the earlier on-campus deadline. Boren Scholarship applicants will be notified of their status by mail in early May.


    Late August

    • The online application is released.


    • Open Application Period - Applicants complete online application, compile all supplementary materials, and forward to your campus representatives.

    February 10, 2011 – Boren Scholarship Deadline!

    • Online application must be complete. All supplementary materials must arrive at IIE.


    • Complete applications are processed and distributed to selection panels for review.

    Early May

    • All applicants are notified of their status by mail, and Boren Scholarship recipients are mailed award packets.


    • Orientation and Convocation in Washington, D.C., for Boren Scholarship recipients

    Contact Information

    Campus Representative
    Dr. Janet Goebel
    136 Whitmyre Hall
    Indiana, PA 15705

    Phone: 724-357-4971

    Boren Scholarships
    Institute of International Education
    1400 K Street NW, 6th Floor
    Washington, DC 20005

    Additional Information

    For more information, visit the Boren website.