The USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship Program seeks to attract outstanding young people who are interested in pursuing careers in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The Payne Fellowship, which provides up to $90,000 in benefits over two years for graduate school, internships, and professional development activities, provides a unique pathway to the USAID Foreign Service. The fellowship is named in honor of longtime development champion, the late Congressman Donald Payne. The fellowship is funded by USAID and administered by Howard University. Fellowship recipients can use the award to attend U.S. graduate programs throughout the country; they join the USAID Foreign Service upon completion of the program, as long as they successfully complete the Payne Program and USAID entry requirements.
Fellows are expected to pursue a two-year master's degree in international affairs or another area of relevance to the work of the Foreign Service, such as international development, public administration, communications, agriculture, environmental sciences, or urban planning at a graduate or professional school approved by the Payne Program. Applicants apply for graduate school at the same time they are applying for the Payne Fellowship. If selected for the fellowship, the Program will discuss the graduate school choices with individual fellows. The Payne Program, working with USAID, has final approval on the graduate program.
Applicants are expected to undertake the steps necessary to complete the process of applying for a USAID Foreign Service Officer position, including participating in the Foreign Service Assessment Process (FSAP) prior to the completion of the academic requirements associated with the Payne Fellowship Program.