Frequently Asked Questions

Service Agreements Frequently Asked Questions

The duration of the service requirement is equal to the duration of assistance provided under the program, but in no case less than one year.

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, or any element of the Intelligence Community are priority agencies.  Any position in the four priority areas will count towards fulfilling the service requirement.

If a Boren Scholar or Fellow is not successful in identifying a position in one of the priority agencies, he or she must pursue employment in another Federal agency in a position with national security responsibilities. 

All Boren Scholars and Fellows must make a full and good-faith effort to identify and secure positions in the Federal Government related to national security. While the NSEP Service Team does provide job search assistance, award recipients must seek employment on their own. Award recipients’ efforts must include creating and regularly updating an online resume at http://www.nsepnet.org/.  NSEPnet is made available to hiring officials in various U.S. Federal Government departments and agencies.  Boren Scholars and Fellows must also maintain a Job Search Log and document specific efforts to identify employment opportunities in the Federal Government that would fulfill the NSEP Service Requirement.

The NSEP Service Team works actively with Boren Scholars and Fellows before and after graduation to help identify Federal job opportunities. To assist and facilitate the Federal job search process, NSEP has developed an interactive website, http://www.nsepnet.org/, to help Scholars and Fellows simplify and organize their job search efforts. The NSEPnet site maintains an online collection of Federal job search tips, exclusive job opportunities and job announcements, and a resume database for award recipients to post their credentials. These resumes are made available to hiring officials in all Federal departments and agencies where relevant employment opportunities exist. Boren Scholars and Fellows are encouraged to update their resumes on a regular basis, as many NSEP awardees are identified for jobs through our database. We also suggest that Boren Scholars and Fellows use other employment resources, such as college and university career offices, http://www.usajobs.gov/ and http://www.ourpublicservice.org/

In addition to serving as a repository of resumes prepared by Boren award recipients, NSEPnet is also a tool that Boren Scholars and Fellows must use to document their job search efforts.  Through NSEPnet, award recipients are required to maintain a Job Search History Log of their activities to identify and pursue opportunities in the Federal Government that would satisfy the NSEP Service Requirement.

All Boren Scholars or Fellows’ Job Search History Log must demonstrate to NSEP that they have made a full and good-faith effort to identify and apply for Federal positions that satisfy the service requirement, especially within the four “priority agencies.” By maintaining detailed log entries, award recipients demonstrate specific efforts that were made to identify suitable job opportunities and, in particular, the types of positions that were available to them at the time they were seeking to fulfill the service requirement. If a Boren Scholar or Fellow is not successful in identifying a position in one of the priority agencies, he or she must pursue employment in another Federal agency in a position with national security responsibilities.  There is an expectation that Boren Scholars and Fellows, while fulfilling the service requirement, will utilize the language or area expertise acquired during the course of the Boren Scholarship or Fellowship.

It is entirely the award recipient’s responsibility to establish how a given Federal position has national security implications. Past award recipients have worked in fields such as development, energy policy, public health, and finance by sufficiently demonstrating the nexus between national security and their positions.

While NSEP is deeply committed to helping Boren Scholars and Fellows secure Federal employment, the Federal Government is not obligated to hire any individual who has received funding through this program. Therefore, if a Scholar or Fellow from the 2008-present award cohort demonstrates to NSEP that no appropriate position is available in the Federal Government, the Scholar or Fellow may petition NSEP to fulfill the requirement in an education position directly related to the language(s) or area(s) he/she studied during the Boren Scholarship or Fellowship or to another language or area where he/she has demonstrated competency. The education option is available only after exhausting all opportunities to fulfill the requirement in the Federal Government in accordance with conditions established by NSEP.

Boren award recipients enjoy several advantages as they seek Federal employment. First, NSEPnet connects award recipients directly to Federal employers. Hiring officials perform searches of Boren award recipients' resumes for specific types of expertise. Second, 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, including 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.   

NDAA'13 leads to an excepted service appointment, but after two years of continuous service the hiring manager can non-competitively convert the employee to career- or career-conditional status.  In general, this means that after one more year of service (or a total of three years from the start date) the employee would be a permanent employee of the federal government.

Award recipients pursuing qualified further education are eligible for a deferral of their service deadline. Qualified further education includes enrollment in any degree-granting, accredited institution of higher education worldwide.  Each request for deferral is considered on a case-by-case basis, and the award recipient must demonstrate a commitment to sustain or advance their expertise in the language and/or geographical area for which the Boren Scholarship or Fellowship was awarded.

The Department of Defense (DoD) is responsible for defending the United States of America while helping to promote American interests globally. The department includes all offices and organizations that comprise the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, three military departments (Army, Navy, Air Force), nine (9) Unified Combatant Commands, the DoD Inspector General, fifteen defense agencies, and seven DoD field activities. NSEP recipients have found employment in many difference offices within the DoD, including Defense Information Systems, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and the National Defense University. For more information on the Department, visit http://www.defenselink.mil.

The Department of Homeland Security’s overriding and urgent mission is to lead the unified national effort to secure the country and preserve our freedoms.  While the Department was created to secure our country against those who seek to disrupt the American way of life, its charter also includes preparation for and response to all hazards and disasters.  NSEP recipients have found employment in many different offices within the Department of Homeland Security, including Customs and Border Patrol, the Office of Domestic Preparedness and the Office of Citizenship and Immigration Services. For more information on the Department, visit http://www.dhs.gov.

The Department of State is the lead federal agency responsible for U.S. foreign affairs.  The Department employs individuals in both civil service and foreign service positions. Many NSEP recipients are currently working for the Department of State as Foreign Service Officers throughout the world and as civil service employees in offices such as the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, among others. Furthermore, the USAID administrator serves as the director of foreign assistance at the Department of State. Thus, any service completed at USAID shall be the same as service completed at the Department of State. For more information please visit the Department of State or USAID websites.

The Intelligence Community is a group of executive branch agencies and organizations that work both independently and collaboratively to gather the intelligence necessary to conduct foreign relations and national security activities. The Intelligence Community comprises 17 organizations, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).  NSEP award recipients have found work in these and other agencies. For more information on the Intelligence Community, visit http://www.intelligence.gov/.

Yes.  Many award recipients have fulfilled their requirement in organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Commerce, the U.S. Peace Corps, and various other agencies throughout the Federal Government. Each award recipient’s request for service 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.

Boren Scholars and Fellows who received the award prior to 2008 should refer to NSEPnet.