Amount: Up to $20,000

Boren Scholarships, an initiative of the National Security Education Program, provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests, and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The countries of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are excluded.

Boren Scholars represent a vital pool of highly motivated individuals who wish to work in the federal national security arena (broadly defined as "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"). In exchange for funding, Boren Scholars commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.


  • U.S. citizen at the time of application

  • High school graduate

  • Applying to a study abroad program that meets home institution standards in a country outside of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand

How to apply:

  1. Contact campus representative Katrina Brown ( for on-campus deadline.
  2. Submit the Boren Scholarship application.
  3. Submit 2-3 letters of recommendation (signed, original letters in an envelope with the signature across the seal), official transcripts, language self-assessment, language proficiency form (optional), and either a one page study abroad program description with cost information or, if direct enrollment or individually arranged study abroad program, two letters of support from the university and your overseas host institution to your campus representative.

What makes a competitive application?

  • Study abroad for a longer period of time
  • Commitment to government service
  • Consider the preferred languages, countries, and fields of study
  • Include serious language study
  • Identify an appropriate study abroad program
  • Make a compelling case for national security
  • Tie your current academic plan, your proposed study abroad program, and your future career goals into one strong narrative that makes the case for your Boren Scholarship
  • Get strong letters of recommendation



  • Online application is released


  • Open Application Period - Applicants complete online application and forward to their campus representative


  • National Boren Scholarship Deadline


  • Complete applications are processed and distributed to selection panels for review

Mid-Late April

  • All applications are notified of their status by email


  • Orientation and Convocation in Washington, DC for Boren Scholarship recipients

  • June 1 is the earliest a Boren-funded program can start

number of recipients: ~160