The U.S. Department of State's goal for the Gilman Program is to broaden the student population that studies and interns abroad by supporting undergraduates who might otherwise not participate due to financial constraints.
The Gilman Scholarship Program aims to support a diverse range of students who have been traditionally under-represented in education abroad, including but not limited to:
- Students with high financial need;
- Students from diverse ethnic backgrounds;
- Students going to non-traditional countries, especially those outside Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand;
- Students from a diverse range of institutions, including community colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges, Hispanic-Serving Institutions and other Minority-Serving Institutions;
- Students with disabilities;
- First generation college students; and
- Students in underrepresented fields of study, especially the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
The program strongly encourages students to choose non-traditional study and intern abroad destinations, especially those outside of Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The program strongly encourages students from community colleges to apply. The program encourages students to study or intern abroad for longer periods of time, though short-term programs of at least four weeks in length are eligible – two weeks if currently a community college student. The program also seeks to serve students from all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories.The program aims to encourage students in non-traditional fields of study such as the sciences and engineering to study or intern abroad, though all disciplines are eligible.
The program seeks to assist students from a diverse range of colleges and universities including, but not limited to: two and four-year public and private colleges, Tribal Colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions and other Minority-Serving Institutions from all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories. The program aims to open doors for students who have not previously studied or interned abroad for undergraduate academic credit.
All recipients are required to carry out a Follow-on Service Project that promotes international education and the Gilman Scholarship Program at the students' home institution or in their community. The Follow-on Service Project Proposal, Statement of Purpose essay and the applicant's academic progress are criteria that are closely considered during the selection process.