What are Boren Scholarships

Boren scholarships are awarded to undergraduate students to pursue studies in countries and regions critical to the national security interests of the U.S. It provides a sum up to $20,000 per awardee.

The regions where study may be pursued include Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Middle East and Latin America. Western Europe, New Zealand, Canada and Australia are not included.

Boren scholars are derived from a wide variety of backgrounds, academically. But the common factor is that they are interested in learning languages that are less common in academic circles in America like Arabic, Swahili, Korean, Chinese, Russian and Portuguese.

National Security Educational Program (NSEP) is the agency that funds Boren scholarships. It concentrates on regions and fields of study critical to national security interests of the U.S.  Therefore, applicants must indicate how their field of study abroad is going to contribute to national security.

National security definitions have been broadened. While traditionally, it implied taking care of the well being of American citizens, today it covers the concerns of global society including environmental degradation, sustainable development, global hunger and disease, migration and population growth.

The Boren scholarships are perfect for those who want to learn a foreign language, want to study abroad and acquire an international component to their educational background. All Boren scholars must learn a foreign language native to the country in which they intend to study.

French and Spanish are not preferred for Boren scholarships. But Under African and Latin American quota, these languages may be pursued provided the scholars have already achieved a level of proficiency which may be tested by the NSEP.

Boren scholarships will be selected on merit basis using the following considerations:

  • Preference given to- those who are committed to government service, those considering preferred countries , languages, fields of study and those who are committed to a full academic year of study.
  • Clear explanation must be given about the relevance of the proposed study program to the national security interest of the US, broadly defined.
  • Superior academic record and potential for success in the proposed program.
  • Commitment to acquiring proficiency in foreign language even on return to the U.S.
  • Quality and feasibility of the plan to study abroad.

The quality of applicants will be reviewed by a regional panel and a national nominating panel. They will forward a selected list of finalists to the NSEP office for ultimate selection.  The selection panels will try to achieve wide geographic and institutional representation   as well as gender and ethnic diversity.

The latest Boren scholarship calendar is as follows:

  • The online application form will be  released by late August.
  • In Fall/Winter period, applicants complete online application, collect supplementary material and forward these to the campus representatives of the Boren award.
  • The Boren scholarship deadline is February 5, 2014. The International Institute of Education (IIE) must receive all fully filled forms and supplementary material.
  • Campus representatives must submit online evaluations by 5 pm., February 7th, 2014.
  • March-April: The processing of applications will be carried out and submitted to selected panels for review.
  • Late April: All applicants are notified about the status of their application and award packets are mailed to those selected for scholarships.
  • June: Orientation and convocation for awardees in Washington D.C. and all programs of study cannot start earlier than June 1st.

Conclusion: Boren scholarships are a wonderful opportunity for undergraduate students to pursue studies in foreign countries crucial for the US national security interests. 

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