The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program offers grants for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies or credit-bearing, career-oriented internships abroad. Such international exchange is intended to better prepare U.S. students to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world.
International experience is critically important in the educational and career development of American students, but it can also require a substantial financial investment. The Gilman Scholarship Program broadens the student population that studies and interns abroad by supporting undergraduates who might not otherwise participate due to financial constraints. The program aims to encourage students to study and intern in a diverse array of countries and world regions. The program also encourages students to study languages, especially critical need languages (those deemed important to national security and diplomacy). By supporting undergraduate students who have high financial need, the program has been successful in supporting students who have been historically underrepresented in education abroad, including but not limited to first-generation college students, students in STEM fields, ethnic minority students, students with disabilities, students attending HBCUs or other minority-serving institutions, students attending community colleges, and students coming from U.S. states with less study abroad participation. The program seeks to assist students from a diverse range of public and private institutions from all 50 states, Washington, DC and Puerto Rico.
Award recipients are chosen by a competitive selection process and must use the award to defray eligible study or intern abroad costs. These costs include program tuition, room and board, books, local transportation, insurance and international airfare.
This congressionally funded program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and is administered by the Institute of International Education through its office in Houston, TX. Named after retired congressman Benjamin A. Gilman from New York, the program was established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000. Congressman Gilman, who retired in 2002 after serving in the House of Representatives for 30 years and chairing the House Foreign Relations Committee, commented, "Study abroad is a special experience for every student who participates. Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposes our students to alternate views, but also adds an enriching social and cultural experience. It also provides our students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world, encouraging them to be a contributor, rather than a spectator in the international community."
Over 2,800 scholarships of up to $5,000 will be awarded this academic year for U.S. citizen undergraduates to study or intern abroad. Award amounts will vary depending on the length of study and student need.
Applicants who are studying a critical need language while abroad in a country in which the language is predominantly spoken will automatically be considered for the Critical Need Language Award, for a total award of $8,000. Please note that this award is competitive and offered to a limited number of students each year. During the 2015-2016 academic year, 70 Critical Need Language Awards were offered.
Critical Need Languages include:
U.S. Department of State
The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program is funded through the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000 and is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) at the U.S. Department of State fosters mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries around the world. ECA accomplishes its mission through a variety of international programs based on the benefits of mutual understanding, educational exchange, and leadership development. ECA programs engage participants from a variety of backgrounds and specialties.
More information about ECA can be found here