Boren Scholarships provide up to $20,000 to U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin American, and the Middle East. The countries of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are excluded. For a complete list of countries, click here. Boren Scholars come from a variety of academic backgrounds, but all are interested in studying less commonly taught languages, including but not limited to Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Swahili. For a complete list of languages, click here. Boren Scholarships are funded by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), which focuses on geographic areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security. Applicants should identify how their study abroad program, as well as their future academic and career goals, will contribute to U.S. national security, broadly defined. NSEP draws on a broad definition of national security, recognizing that the scope of national security has expanded to include not only the traditional concerns of protecting and promoting American well-being, but also the challenges of global society, including sustainable development, environmental degradation, global disease and hunger, population growth and migration, and economic competitiveness.
Maximum scholarship awards are $10,000 for a semester and $20,000 for a full academic year
Length of Study
Boren Scholarships promote long term linguistic and cultural immersion, and therefore study abroad proposals for two or more semesters are strongly encouraged. Preference will be given to undergraduate applicants proposing a full-year academic study. Summer-only programs must be eight (8) weeks or more and are limited to science, technology, engineering and mathematics students. Boren-funded programs can begin no earlier than June 1, 2013.
National Security Service Requirement
The program focuses on geographic areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security. It draws on a broad definition of national security, recognizing that the scope of national security has expanded to include not only the traditional concerns of protecting and promoting American well-being, but also the challenges of global society, including: sustainable development, environmental degradation, global disease and hunger, population growth and migration, and economic competitiveness. All applicants must demonstrate how their study programs and future goals are connected to this broad understanding of national security. The NSEP Service Requirement stipulates that an award recipient work in the Federal Government in a position with national security responsibilities. The Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, State, or any element of the Intelligence Community are priority agencies. If an award recipient demonstrates to NSEP that no appropriate position is available in one of these agencies, the award recipient must seek to fulfill the requirement in a position with national security responsibilities in any Federal department or agency. Approval of service outside of a priority agency is contingent upon satisfactory demonstration of a full and good faith effort in accordance with conditions established by NSEP. If an award recipient demonstrates to NSEP that no appropriate position is available in the Federal Government, the award recipient may petition NSEP to fulfill the requirement. 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. The duration of the NSEP Service Requirement is one year or the duration of assistance provided under the program, whichever is longer. Boren Scholars must begin fulfilling the service requirement within three years of graduation. For more details and a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the NSEP Service Requirement, click here.
Boren Scholarships are awarded with preference for countries, languages, and fields of study critical to U.S. national security. Preference is also given to students who will study abroad for longer periods of time, and who are highly motivated by the opportunity to work in the federal government. As we cannot list all countries, languages, and fields that are critical to U.S. national security, we are interested in applications that fall outside the preferences, if the candidate can make a compelling case that such study can contribute significantly to U.S. national security and the goals of the program.
You are eligible to apply for the Boren Scholarship if you are:
- A U.S. citizen at the time of application.
- A high school graduate, or have earned a GED, and are matriculated in an undergraduate degree program in a U.S. post-secondary institution, including universities, colleges and community colleges accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
- Applying to engage in a study abroad experience in a country outside of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand that meets home institution standards.
- Planning to use the scholarship for study abroad, and the study abroad program ends before you graduate. Boren Scholarships are not for study in the United States.
Although Boren Scholarship candidates do not have to be endorsed by Grinnell College, applicants who go through their college review process have a decided advantage over those who do not go through the review. Additionally, there is no limit to the number of students Grinnell can endorse, and we plan to endorse all qualified, eligible candidates. We therefore highly recommend that you apply for Grinnell's endorsement in the Boren Scholarship competition and do not apply as an at-large candidate. To apply for Grinnell's endorsement, please submit the following materials to the Office of Social Commitment, 1233 Park St., by 5:00pm on Monday, January 28, 2013. Because the CRSSJ (1233 Park St.) is inaccessible to students with mobility disabilities, please contact soccom[at]grinnell[dot]edu if you would like to make alternative plans to submit your application materials.
- An online, completed Boren Scholarship application. The application has three sections (click on the following for advice on completing each section): a study abroad program section, a budget section, and two statements of purpose. You do not need to print this off; when you submit the application electronically, it will become accessible to Grinnell's Boren Scholarship campus representative. He will also be able to "unsubmit" the application back to you for further revisions until the national deadline.
- At least two, but no more than three letters of recommendation (click here for the letter of recommendation form). These should be submitted either by email to the Boren Scholarship campus representative or (preferably) in hard copy to 1233 Park St. If referees wish, they may give the letters to the scholarship applicant in a sealed envelope, signed across the flap. Letters may be addressed to "The Boren Scholarship Selection Committee."
- An official transcript, which can be obtained from the Registrar's Office. Please note that official transcripts often take a few days to obtain. If you have attended other colleges or universities, you must also provide transcripts from these institutions.
- A one-page study abroad program description with cost information. (This may be a page from the program's website or a photocopy of part of the program brochure.) Or, if you set up a direct enrollment or individually arranged study abroad program, please provide two letters of support. The first letter should be from your home institution and the second letter should be from your overseas host institution.
- A Language Assessment Form. Boren offers this advice on completing this form.
- (Optional) A Language Proficiency Form, completed by a foreign language instructor or other qualified evaluator
- A Scholarship Nomination Permission Form and Waiver
In addition to the many links above to advice on completing the Boren Scholarship application, the foundation also offers these tips on what makes a competitive application.
All Boren Scholarship applicants are expected to follow these ethical guidelines.
Past Grinnell College Boren Scholars
|Award Year||Name||Country of Study||Program Length|
|2002||Sarah Spencer||China (PRC)||Summer|
|2009||Joana Lozano||China (PRC)||Summer|
Boren Scholarship Campus Representative
Doug Cutchins, Director of Social Commitment Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice 1233 Park St., Grinnell, IA 50112 Email:cutchins[at]grinnell[dot]edu, soccom[at]grinnell[dot]edu Phone: (641) 269-4408; Fax: (641) 269-4321