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Application Instructions - Boren Fellowships

This page is a section-by-section overview of the application for the graduate-level Boren Fellowships. Program design and strong essays are critical to a successful application, so be sure to review the sections on Selecting an Eligible Study Abroad Program and writing the Essays.

Applicants should notify their Boren Awards campus representative as early as possible in the application process. They have a wealth of experience advising applicants and assist in crafting a strong application. They may also have set on-campus deadlines -- please respect these, as they have been set to provide you with feedback ahead of the national deadline.

Applicants not supported by a campus representative may still apply without penalty. Contact the Boren Awards team at 1-800-618-NSEP (6737) or boren@iie.org for any questions not answered on this website.

Application System Tips

  • The Boren Fellowships application includes twelve sections, as well as a section at the end to review and submit the application.
  • To view the entire application in order, click the "Save and Continue" buttons at the bottom of each page.
  • You may only use the right navigation to skip from section to section once you have saved at least one field in a particular section. The application saves automatically. You can always change your response later, as long as you have not submitted your application.

Application Sections

1 - Eligibility Determination

2 - Personal Information

3 - Academic Information

4 - Employment History

5 - Activities

6 - Program Information & Budget

7 - Essays

8 - Language Self-Assessment

9 - Additional Information

10 - Recommendations

11 - Submission Information

12 - Review

1 - Eligibility Determination

You must respond to all of these questions in order to proceed with the application.

  • U.S. Citizenship - Only U.S. citizens are eligible for the fellowship.
  • I will be a matriculated in a graduate degree program at a U.S. college or university as of the Boren Fellowships start date – You will have to be a matriculated graduate student at the time your Boren-funded study begins in order to be eligible.
  • Level of graduate study as of application deadline – Select the graduate degree you are currently pursuing. If you are not yet enrolled, select that option.
  • Current Institution as of Application Deadline – Choose your current U.S. graduate institution. (If you said that you are not currently enrolled, this question will not appear.)
  • Proposed Country of Study – Choose a country of study at this time. You may return to change it later.
  • Are you a citizen of this country? - Boren recipients may not study overseas in a country in which they are a citizen.
  • Proposed Language – Choose your language of study at this time. You may return to change it later.

2 - Personal Information

  • Name – Enter your complete and legal name. You may include a preferred first name and former last name if applicable.
  • Mailing Address – Enter your complete current address and phone number.
  • Permanent Address – Enter the address and phone number where you can be reached when you are not at college.
  • Email Address – Enter the email where you would like Boren to contact you.
  • Telephone Number – The country code for the United States is +1, so a U.S. number would be entered +1-202-555-1234.
  • Biographical Information – Enter your Sex, Gender, Birthdate, and Country of Residence.
  • Additional Information – Enter the state and Congressional district where you are registered to vote. Visit www.house.gov to look up your Congressional district if you do not know. Choose yes or no on the question asking whether you are a veteran or in active service to the U.S. military.
  • Voluntary Information – The question on race/ethnic origin is optional. If you choose not to answer, you can select "Prefer Not To Say." Choosing this option will not affect your application.

3 - Academic Information

  • On this page, your current institution of higher education and your level of study should already be listed from the Eligibility Determination page.
    • Enter the academic level (Undergraduate or Graduate), degree type, major (+ double major and minor if applicable), GPA, and the maximum possible GPA at your institution, the institution's location, as well as the date attended from, and date attended to/graduation date. Note: the “Date/Expected Date Attended to” field for your current institution should be after the completion of your Boren-funded program.
  • You may list up to two additional institutions where you obtained or pursued a degree previously.
  • You must include a valid transcript from your current institution and from any institution where you received a degree. 
    • Unofficial transcripts are acceptable, but they MUST include your name, the name of the institution, titles of the courses, and the grades obtained in each.
  • You must submit the transcript for your current institution in order to submit your application.
    • You may submit the transcripts from other institutions after you submit your application but they MUST be received BEFORE the national application deadline.  

4 - Employment History

  • Relevant Employment History – You may list up to three current or former jobs relevant to your Boren-funded overseas study or your post-Boren career.

5 - Activities

  • Relevant Activities – You may list up to three extracurricular activities relevant to your Boren-funded overseas study or your post-Boren career.

6 - Program Information & Budget

Study Plan Summary
  • Your Study Abroad Country and Proposed Language will be auto-populated from the Eligibility and Basic Information page. You must return to that page if you wish to change either.
  • Study Plan Summary – Give a brief description (abstract) of your study and research plan, including language study. This is a shorthand summary that should match the longer description in Essay Two.
  • Type of Overseas Program – Language study is the only required element, so please be sure to check that box at least.
  • Proposed Overseas Affiliation Type – Select the option(s) that best describe your overseas host(s).
  • Primary Proposed Overseas Affiliation Name – Choose the name of the primary overseas host institution from the drop-down menu. If your sponsor is not listed, just enter the most accurate name for the overseas host.
  • Other or Additional Proposed Overseas Affiliation(s) – List the names of all other overseas affiliate institutions, such as internship hosts or other academic institutions.
Affiliation(s)
  • Letter of Affiliation – Upload letter(s) from overseas host institutions, especially those related to major research projects. You may include multiple letters of affiliation but will need to combine them into a single PDF document.
  • Additional Country and Additional Language (if relevant) – Please note that Boren Fellows to multiple countries or for multiple languages are extremely rare and must be well-justified by specific research goals.
Program Length
  • Program Information – Select whether your program is overseas-only, or is an overseas program preceded by an intensive domestic course of language study (optional). If selecting a overseas program with a preceding domestic course of language study, enter Domestic Start Date and End Date.
  • The application will calculate the length of your overseas program based on the overseas program dates you indicated above and show the maximum award amount for which you are eligible.
Budget
  • Note that most of the instructions for this section are on the application itself. Note also that there is no incentive for you to underestimate your costs – the amount you estimate will not affect your chances of winning a Boren Fellowship.
  • Domestic Budget – This will only appear if you select a domestic program. Budget guidelines are listed on the application.
  • Tuition, Room & Board, and Fees – Includes separate line for tuition costs to maintain matriculation at your home institution, if applicable, the cost of overseas tuition, and a separate line for room and board. Include the cost or room and board during program breaks spent in country.
  • Books and Research Expenses – There are limits to the total amounts and included items for these expenses which are described on the application.
  • Travel Expenses – All Boren Fellowship recipients must comply with the Fly America Act, which requires that all travel supported by federal government funds be on a U.S.-flag carrier departing from the United States to the foreign destination and returning to the United States. This includes code-share tickets on foreign carriers if they are purchased through and issued by the U.S. carrier. The only circumstance in which an award recipient can use a foreign-flag carrier is when an origin or interchange point is not served by a U.S.-flag carrier. An award recipient can use the foreign-flag carrier to the nearest interchange to connect with a U.S. carrier. All Fellowship recipients will be required to send a photocopy of the passenger receipt page(s) to their airline tickets to show compliance with the Fly America Act. Boren Fellows who are funding their airfare through other means do not need to comply with the Fly America Act.
  • Program Related Insurance – Requirements listed on the application.
  • Other – Optional line for items not covered above. Must be well-explained and justified. Note that the Boren Awards do not cover the costs of vaccinations.
Alternate Study Abroad Program
  • Alternate study abroad programs are optional (with a few exceptions, see below) and must be for the same language in a different country from the initially proposed Boren program.
  • An alternate study abroad program is REQUIRED if you have chosen a country with an asterisk or a language with an asterisk (Arabic, Mandarin & Russian).  

7 - Essays

  • The application includes two essays. The first is 800 words and the second is 1000 words maximum. Review the extensive essay guidelines to increase your chances of success.
  • Language Plans - You should describe your plans for continuing to study and/or speak the language following the Boren Fellowship 
  • Career Plans - Briefly summarize your plans to fulfill federal service and how it relates to your proposed Boren plans. You should also discuss your post-Boren career plans in detail in your first essay.
  • Research Abstract and Methodology – Boren Fellows conducting research are encouraged to use this space to describe their research -- see further guidelines.

8 - Language Self-Assessment

  • Native Language – Choose your native language.
  • Boren Language – This will auto-populate from the Eligibility and Basic Information page.
  • Numbers of years studied or spoken – Enter the number of years you have studied or spoken the Boren language.
  • Language Self-Evaluation – Rate your abilities in listening, reading, speaking, and writing the Boren language. See the language self-assessment guide for an explanation of the scoring system.
  • You may add the same information for up to four additional languages you have studied or spoken.

9 - Additional Information

  • Overseas Experience – List up to three non-U.S. countries where you have lived, traveled, or studied. List the three most relevant to your Boren-funded overseas study or your post-Boren career. Please do not double-count time lived, traveled, or studied. If the answer is none, you may leave this blank. 
  • Honors and Awards – List up to five relevant honors or awards and the year you received them. If the answer is none, you may leave this blank. 
  • Other Scholarships or Fellowships (optional) – List up to five additional scholarships for which you have applied that will cover the 2022-2023 academic year. The answer to this question does not impact your Boren application review.
  • ROTC Information - indicate if you have ever participated in ROTC.
  • Additional Information – Please let us know about how you learned about Boren.
  • DLNSEO Programs - Indicate whether you’ve participated any other NSEP-funded programs.

10 - Recommendations

  • The Boren Fellowships application requires three Letters of Recommendation.
  • Applicants are also encouraged to include a Language Evaluation of the Boren language, which should be filled out by a recent instructor in that language.
  • Visit our page for more information about the guide on selecting strong recommenders.
  • Click “Add Recommender” to enter information on each recommender and select the type of recommender (Letter of Recommendation or Language Evaluation).
  • If you are not ready to notify your recommender, you may select “Save” and come back to the page when you are ready.
  • Once you are ready to notify your recommender, select “Send to Recommender”.
  • If a recommender is no longer able to submit a letter for you, or you entered their information incorrectly, you may click the “Exclude” button on their entry. Doing this will allow you enter a new recommender in their place.
  • If you wish to reinstate a recommender after clicking “Exclude”, you may click the “Reinstate” button on their entry.
  • If your recommender has lost track of the link to submit a recommendation, you may click the “Send Reminder” button on their entry.
  • Please note that the recommendation letter will not be visible to you -- you will only be able to see whether or not it has been submitted.

11 Submission Agreement

  • Please read and agree to the statement by clicking the box. In order to actually submit the application, you must agree to this statement. Please note that this does not submit your application. First, you will be asked to complete references, review your application, and click the final submit button.

12. Review

  • This section allows you to see what fields are missing, blank, or not filled out correctly. If any required fields are missing, there will be a link to take you the part of the application to fix the information.
  • If you see the warning: "We have detected the following errors with your application. These errors must be corrected before submission.": you must fix these errors before you will be allowed to submit your application.
  • If you see the warning: "We have detected the following problems with your application": the application has detected potential issue with your application, but you MAY still submit your application.
  • If you are experiencing errors that you are not able to resolve, please contact us boren@iie.org. We appreciate detailed explanations and/or screenshots of the issue.

Submit Application

  • When your application is complete, click on “Submit Application”.
  • If you submit your application in error and would like to have it made editable again, please contact us boren@iie.org .