Service Agreement Frequently Asked Questions
Boren Scholars must begin to fulfill the service requirement no later than three years after the date of graduation from, or termination of, the program of study for which the scholarship was awarded.
Boren Fellows must begin to fulfill the service requirement no later than two years after the date of graduation from, or termination of, the program of study for which the fellowship was awarded.
The NSEP Service Requirement stipulates that an award recipient work in the Federal Government in a position with national security responsibilities. The Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State (including USAID), or any element of the Intelligence Community are priority agencies. Any position in the four priority areas will count towards fulfilling the service requirement.
Although there is no concrete number of job applications that qualifies as a “good faith effort” or “exhaustion” of opportunities, past award recipients who have successfully petitioned to fulfill their service requirement in tier two or three positions have applied for a minimum of 10 to 20 jobs in each service tier. Each award recipient’s request for service credit is reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and it is entirely the award recipient’s responsibility to establish how a given Federal position has national security implications, or how a position in education aligns with study completed on an NSEP-funded program.
Boren award recipients enjoy several advantages as they seek Federal employment. First, NSEP employs staff that is available to assist Scholars and Fellows in their job search efforts by conducting active outreach, holding job consultations and providing letters of certification for award recipients. Finally, Boren award recipients benefit from special hiring authorities Schedule A (r) and NDAA FY13 Section 1101 Legislation which facilitate the job placement process.
Both Schedule A (r) and NDAA'13 allow hiring managers to non-competitively appoint NSEP awardees to excepted service positions. This means that hiring managers are not required to advertise these positions to the public (through USAJOBS, for example). Most often, hiring managers use these authorities to solicit applications from NSEP awardees by posting exclusive job opportunities on NSEPnet, but some awardees have been successful in securing excepted service positions by networking or simply by drawing attention to these hiring privileges through the competitive hiring process.
Schedule A (r) leads to a temporary/term appointment, not to exceed four years. In other words, this is not a permanent position with the federal government once the appointment comes to an end the employee is required to re-apply for the job through the competitive hiring process or, ask to be appointed by NDAA'13.
Although many federal agencies have the ability to hire someone directly through NDAA’13, this option is not available to every agency. Whenever possible, NSEP recommends that Scholars and Fellows ask to be appointed directly by NDAA’13. This is because direct appointment through NDAA'13 leads to an excepted service appointment, meaning that after two years of continuous service, the hiring manager can non-competitively convert an award recipient to career- or career-conditional status. In general, this means that after another year of service (totaling of three years of work from an employee's start date) an NSEP award recipient can become a permanent employee of the federal government. However, even if direct appointment through a particular agency is not possible, an award recipient appointed through Schedule A (r) can ask to transition to NDAA’13 after two years of service. Then, following another year of service (totaling three years of work from the start date), the award recipient can similarly become a permanent employee of the federal government using the two hiring authorities in combination.