National deadline:  February 9, 2016

Eligibility requirements:

  • A U.S. citizen at the time of application
  • A high school graduate, or have earned a GED
  • Matriculated in an undergraduate degree program located within the United States accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Boren Scholars must remain matriculated in their undergraduate programs for the duration of the scholarship and may not graduate until the scholarship is complete.
  • Applying to a study abroad program that meets home institution standards in a country outside of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.  Boren Scholarships are not for study in the United States.

Award summary and conditions: Boren Scholarships provide American undergraduate students with the resources and encouragement they need to acquire skills and experiences in areas of the world critical to the future security of our nation, in exchange for their commitment to seek work in the federal government.

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.

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. Boren-funded programs can begin no earlier than June 1. Summer-only programs must be eight (8) weeks or more and are limited to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students.

Electronic application materials to be submitted:  Before starting the application, remember to read the application instructions in the “How to apply” section on the website.

  • Study abroad program section
  • Budget section
  • Two statements of purpose

Supplementary hard copy materials: Submit the following supplementary materials to your campus representative* by the campus deadline:

  • Completed letters of reference. Letters of reference must be signed, original letters in an envelope with the signature across the seal, when they are submitted to your campus representative or IIE. Two letters are required, and you may include a third optional letter.
  • Official, hard copy, transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. Freshmen must also include high school transcripts.
  • Language self-assessment - Complete this form using the Language self-assessment guide.
  • Language proficiency form (optional)
  • Choose one of the following: 
    • 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.)
    • 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.

*If you do not have a campus representative, the online application must be submitted, and all original supplementary materials must arrive at the following address, by the application deadline. IIE cannot confirm receipt of materials, so campus representatives and applicants should send materials using a traceable method to ensure delivery.

Boren Scholarships
Institute of International Education
1400 K Street NW, 7th Floor
Washington, DC 20005

Selection process: Award recipients will be selected on the basis of:

  • Students who will study less commonly taught languages in countries that are critical to national security, but underrepresented in study abroad.
  • Study abroad for a longer period of time.
  • Consider government service.
  • Identify an appropriate study abroad program.
  • Include serious language study.
  • Make a compelling case for national security.
  • Tie your current academic plan, your proposed study abroad experience, and your future career goals into one strong narrative that makes the case for your Boren Scholarship.
  • Get strong letters of reference.

Announcement date:  Late April all applicants are notified of their status by email. 

Contact information: