The U.S. Department of State’s goal for the Gilman Program is to broaden the student population that studies and interns abroad by supporting American undergraduate students who might otherwise not participate due to financial constraints. The international experiences gained through participation in the program enable tomorrow’s leaders to thrive in the global economy and contribute to our nation’s prosperity.
Award amounts range from $100 to $5000 (with the opportunity to receive a Critical Need Language Award of up to $8000). Financial need is based on the study abroad expenses provided by the applicant’s advisor and additional financial aid information submitted through the application. A Gilman Scholar’s final award amount will be determined by financial need, program length, overall program costs and the strength of the application during the selection panel recommendation process.
Applications are reviewed holistically, with consideration of the following:
The U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program (Gilman Program) supports talented American undergraduates of limited financial means to pursue valuable experiences abroad, during which they gain skills that promote individual growth and support American economic competitiveness and national security. A successful Gilman applicant will describe how a specific program and destination will enable the applicant to reach their academic and/or career goals. A successful applicant will also clearly articulate what they anticipate gaining from an experience abroad.
The mission of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange. The Gilman Program plays an essential role in achieving this mission, because study abroad is a form of diplomacy. Gilman Scholars represent the United States as citizen diplomats in their host communities; they reflect a diversity of values, beliefs, and opinions that is fundamental to providing a balanced representation of the United States abroad. A successful Gilman applicant will articulate how they anticipate contributing to the goal of building mutual understanding by sharing what it means to be an American, learning about the host culture, and building meaningful relationships.
Upon return to the United States, Gilman Scholars have the opportunity to inspire the next wave of students to study or intern abroad through the required Follow-on Service Project. The goal of the Follow-on Service Project is for Gilman Scholars to increase awareness of study abroad and the Gilman Program among their peers in their home communities and campuses. A successful Gilman applicant will design a Follow-on Service Project proposal that is feasible, utilizes one’s experience abroad, and connects to diverse groups of Americans.
The U.S. Department of State is committed to ensuring that Gilman Scholars are successful on their programs abroad. A competitive applicant must demonstrate the academic preparedness needed to gain benefit from a study abroad or international internship program. They should disclose any significant challenges they have faced in their academic career and discuss how they will be academically successful on their abroad program. Academic performance, particularly in the applicant’s major, is important, though there is no minimum grade point average for participating in the Gilman Program.
The U.S. Department of State’s Gilman Program seeks participation by the broadest group of American undergraduate students with financial need who will benefit from the knowledge, skills, and experiences they acquire when studying abroad. By supporting students who have high financial need, the program has been successful in supporting students who have been historically underrepresented* in education abroad. Students’ knowledge, skills, and personal experiences are considered in the context of the overall impact the proposed abroad program will have on them, how they will overcome any anticipated challenges during the program, and their ability to be a representative of the United States and the Gilman Program.
Note: Preference should be given to those who have not studied abroad before and to Veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, or Coast Guard), provided their qualifications are approximately equivalent to those of other candidates.
*Including but not limited to, first-generation college students, students in STEM fields, racial and ethnic minority students, students with disabilities, students attending minority-serving institutions and community colleges, and students from U.S. states and institutions with lower study abroad participation, and more.
The U.S. Department of State is dedicated to supporting students who are studying a critical need language (those deemed important to national security and diplomacy). Applicants are considered for this category if while abroad they are taking a course taught in a critical need language, studying a critical need language, or both. If they are studying in a country in which the language is not predominantly spoken, they should explain the benefits, resources, and their reasoning for choosing their destination. A successful applicant should demonstrate a strong motivation to achieve proficiency in the language that extends beyond their study abroad experience, and into their future personal, academic, and career goals.