History and Getting to the Fulbright Scholarship Application

The Fulbright Program offers scholarships (grants) for exceptional people through an international exchange program founded on providing a competitive opportunity for the best students, scholars, teachers, and professionals to conduct study, teach, work, conduct research, and otherwise collaborate in both their home countries and abroad.

The program was founded in 1946 as the Fulbright Program under James William Fulbright, United States Senator serving Arkansas from 1945 until 1975. The program bearing his name provides over 6,000 grants annually and more than 300,000 people have participated since its inception. Of the Fulbright alumni, 10 have become members of the US Congress, 18 have been head of state or government, one was secretary general of the United Nations, 43 have received a Nobel Prize, and 78 have received the Pulitzer Prize.

For a United States college-aged citizen to become a scholarship awardee, they must either go through the U.S. Student Program or the U.S. Scholar Program to travel to a foreign country. Only the highest level of academic achievers are considered, with regular award winners being the top of their graduating classes of high school who have also demonstrated a desire to lead the community and willingness to craft a unique proposal for their academic year abroad. Student grants are for all areas of collegiate student including fine arts, social sciences, biology and other natural sciences, and computer sciences.

The Institute of International Education manages the Fulbright Program along with the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. The application process is managed through the Embark Fulbright Online Application with applications due far in advance. The 2012-2013 competition closed for applications in October 2011. An extensive collection of materials, called the “Application Package Checklist” is required for all applicants. These materials include the online application (five pages), a signed statement of grant purpose, a personal statement, letters of affiliation for research/study applicants, the language self-evaluation, critical language enhancement award supplementary form, and the foreign language evaluation (submitted by the evaluator). In addition to this material, letters of reference, transcripts from all schools, and any supplementary forms for creative and performing arts applicants should be included.

You may only apply once per year for a single program; however, some world region projects allow multiple applications on those specific projects. Once the application is submitted, it may not be modified. The Fulbright Scholarship application is one of the most complicated processes for higher learning programs, but it is also one of the most rewarding.