A fulbright scholarship program is one of the prestigious awards programs to support international education. A fulbright scholarship program is essentially merit-based grants for international educational exchange for students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists, and artists worldwide open to the US and non-US citizens.
Fulbright scholarship awards approximately 8,000 grants every year and that includes roughly 4000 international students. This scholarship provides the fund for the whole duration of the study as well as for tuition, textbooks, airfare, health insurance. This means that if you are US citizen, you have a higher chance of securing a Fulbright scholarship than a non-US citizen.
A fulbright scholarship was introduced by Senator J. William Fulbright in 1945 for the promotion of international education and later this idea was signed and passed by President Harry S. Truman in 1946. The purpose of this scholarship is to establish a healthy mutual understanding between people of U.S and people from the rest of the world.
Fulbright Scholarship is designed to promote international education. It is active in more than 155 countries all over the world from Africa, USA, East Asia and Pacific, Middle East and North Africa, Europe and Eurasia to South and Central Asia. Fulbright Scholarship is available for the variety of fields like engineering, mathematics, humanities, social sciences, computer science, telecommunication, natural sciences and visual arts and a lot more. It is not solely for research purpose.
For students who want to pursue higher education to the US and rely solely on fulbright, it could be the tough nut to crack. The percentage of students who get selected are very few.
Fulbright Scholarship Program for Indian Students:
The United States – India Educational Foundation (USIEF) coordinates all Fulbright programs in India. India has one of the largest Fulbright Programs all over the world. According to the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES) in 2013-14, 68 Indian students got the Fulbright scholarship in core program and 4 students got the scholarship in scholar-in-residence program group.
USIEF offers a wide range of scholarship opportunities for Indian Students. Some of them are:
- Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowships
- Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Research Fellowships
- Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Fellowships
- Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program
Eligibility criteria for Fulbright Scholarship:
The eligibility criteria differ from country to country. You can check the eligibility criteria on your home country website. But there are few general requirements that has to be followed by every applicant. These are:
- All applicants must meet citizenship requirement (regardless of the country of origin ) outlined by the Fulbright commission
- Applicants must have the bachelor’s degree before the scheduled grant start date.
- Applicants must have good command over written and oral English.
The Fulbright scholarship application process is the bit lengthy and it takes more than a year- from completing the application form to arriving in the host country. Generally, the application process starts before 15 months before the anticipated start of the grant.
Application deadline also varies from county to country but it is around February to October every year.
Selection Process :
The selection is done by the Binational Fulbright Commission or foundation. Each and every commission has a board of the equal number of U.S members and members of the participating country. Presently, only 50 commissions are active all over the world. In rest of the countries, where there is no commission or foundation, the selection is done by the Public affair section of the US Embassy.
A fulbright scholarship is based on academic excellence and leadership potential of candidates. A selection process is very critical because there are more applicants than the available grants. The selection process also differs around the countries but more or less the documents required at the time of admission are same. These are:
- Project statement
- Letters of reference
- Proof of language proficiency
The commission /foundation reviews all the applications and schedules interviews with selected candidates. And after completion of the whole selection process including interviews, the commission /foundation will let applicants know whether they will receive a Fulbright scholarship or not.
To find out how many students from your country got fulbright, check this out
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