National deadline: January 20, 2017

Eligibility requirements:

  • U.S. citizen
  • Seeking admission to graduate school in the fall of 2016 for a two-year program at a U.S. university.
  • GPA of 3.2 or higher 

Award summary and conditions: The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship Program 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 Payne Fellowship encourages the application of members of minority groups who have historically been underrepresented in international development careers and those with financial need. The initiative 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 will join the USAID Foreign Service upon completion of the program, as long as they successfully complete the Payne Program and USAID entry requirements. Application process: online (

Application requirements: 

  • Biographical information
  • Personal statement (600 words max.)
  • Statement of financial need (400 words max.)
  • Letters of recommendation (2) Students provide names of individuals willing to write letter
  • Proof of citizenship
  • Student Aid Report (SAR), generated from FAFSA
  • GRE or GMAT Scores
  • Official Financial Aid Statement from senior year (if student received financial aid)
  • Official transcript(s) from all colleges and universities

Faculty representative: Keith Raether

Selection process: The Payne selection panel will choose finalists by the end of February. The Payne Program staff will communicate decisions to both successful and unsuccessful applicants by the end of February. Candidates selected for final consideration will be invited to Washington, D.C. for interviews and will prepare a writing sample in mid-March. The program will pay the cost of accommodations and travel. Offers will be made soon after the interviews are concluded.