The Gilman-McCain Scholarship is a congressionally funded initiative of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and named after the late senator John S. McCain from Arizona.
The Gilman-McCain Scholarship provides awards of $5,000 for child dependents of active duty service members to study or intern abroad on credit-bearing programs.
The U.S. Department of State’s Gilman-McCain Scholarship provides awards of $5,000 for undergraduate child dependents of active duty service members to study or intern abroad on credit-bearing programs. Developed under the framework of the State Department’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, the John McCain International Scholarship for the Children of Military Families (Gilman-McCain Scholarship) is open to eligible students enrolled at accredited U.S. colleges and universities who receive any type of Title IV federal financial aid.
The Gilman-McCain Scholarship is a congressionally funded initiative of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and named after the late senator John S. McCain from Arizona. With the support of the U.S. Congress, this scholarship honors the Senator’s legacy of public service by enabling undergraduate children of active duty military to develop the leadership and career readiness skills and global perspective to pursue careers of service and contribute to preserving the principles and alliances that are critical to an international order based on the rule of law, human rights, and democracy.
Please note the following updates to our current program eligibility, below in bold italics. To be eligible for a Gilman-McCain Scholarship, an applicant must be:
- A citizen of the United States;
- An undergraduate student in good standing at an accredited institution of higher education in the United States (including both two-year and four-year institutions);
- Dependent child of an active duty military member(s) during the time of application in one of the following branches: Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard, including activated (currently on active duty) Reserve Forces, Air National Guard, and Army National Guard;
- Recipient of any type of Title IV federal financial aid during the time of application or provide proof that they will be receiving Title IV federal financial aid during their study abroad program or internship;
- In the process of applying to, or accepted for, a study abroad or internship program or a virtual international program of at least two weeks for community college students and three weeks for students from four-year institutions, eligible for credit from the student’s home institution. Multi-country/area programs are eligible and have no minimum requirement on length of time spent in one country and no maximum requirement on number of countries in a program. Proof of program acceptance is required prior to award disbursement; and
- Applying for credit-bearing study abroad programs in a country or area with an overall Travel Advisory Level 1 or 2, according to the U.S. Department of State’s Travel Advisory System. However, certain locations within these countries or areas may be designated within the Travel Advisory as either “Do not travel to” (Level 4) or “Reconsider travel to” (Level 3) locations, as such; students will not be allowed to travel to these specific locations. Moreover, students are not eligible to apply for programs in a country or area with an overall Level 3 or 4 Travel Advisory.
Please note that if the country where you choose to study abroad in 2021 is at a Level 3 or 4 only due to COVID-19 at the time of application, the Gilman program will still consider that eligible. In the event that an applicant is selected for the Gilman Scholarship and if the destination country is still at a Level 3 or 4, even if only due to COVID-19, by the time the program starts, then the recipient will be required to change their program location.
The U.S. Department of State reserves the right to request program changes for specific countries or areas if deemed necessary during any stage of the application, selection process, or program period. Final awards are contingent upon the availability of funds and the security situation in country. Furthermore, programs in progress may be suspended in consultation with the U.S. Embassy in country during the course of the program.
The modification to the travel advisory-related eligibility criteria is a system update that has been incorporated into both the student application and advisor certification portals, in light of COVID-19.
For reference, below is a sample travel advisory that shows when a country’s level is based on COVID-19 conditions:
Reconsider travel to Country X due to COVID-19.
Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Country X due to COVID-19.
Visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Country X.
If you decide to travel to Country X:
- See the U.S. Embassy’s web page regarding COVID-19.
- Visit the CDC’s webpage on Travel and COVID-19.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
- Review the Crime and Safety Report for Country X.
- Have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.
The Gilman-McCain Scholarship application is currently open and applications will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis until June 1 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time
During application eligibility review, all eligibility criteria will be reviewed including review of the dependent military ID documentation confirming child dependent status of an active duty military member. All complete and eligible Gilman-McCain Scholarship applications will then be reviewed in selection panels separate from other applicants.
The Gilman-McCain Scholarship recipients are awarded $5,000 to be used toward the cost of study abroad or international internship programs.
Q: If a student is not receiving a Federal Pell Grant, how can they apply for the Gilman-McCain Scholarship?
A: We recommend that any eligible child dependent of an active duty military member should complete the Gilman-McCain Scholarship application. Applicants must be a child dependent of an active duty military service member of the U.S. Armed Forces (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, or Coast Guard) and be receiving any type of Title IV federal financial aid. If any eligible child dependent applies for the Gilman Scholarship, the Gilman Program will automatically consider them a Gilman-McCain applicant as long as they provide the proof of their child dependent status when they submit their application.
Q: Is a student eligible for the Gilman-McCain Scholarship if their parent is on active duty at the time of their application, but no longer active when the student goes abroad?
A: Yes, the student is eligible when their parent is an active duty military member at the time the student applies for the Gilman-McCain Scholarship.
Q: If a student is a child dependent of an active duty military member and is receiving a Federal Pell Grant during the time of the application or while abroad, which application should they fill out?
A: We recommend that any student eligible for both scholarships should complete the Gilman-McCain Scholarship application. If any eligible child dependent applies for the Gilman Scholarship, the Gilman Program will automatically consider them a Gilman-McCain applicant as long as they provide the proof of their child dependent status when they submit their application.
Q: Can students apply for Gilman and Gilman-McCain and receive both scholarships?
A: If a student is receiving a Federal Pell Grant and is also a child dependent of an active duty military member, then the student is eligible for both scholarships; however, the student can only receive one. If they are eligible for the Gilman-McCain Scholarship, then they will no longer be considered for the Gilman Scholarship.
Q:Can Gilman-McCain applicants apply for the Critical Need Language Award?
A: Yes, if a Gilman-McCain applicant is studying a critical need language in the specified locations, they are eligible for the Critical Need Language Award.
Q: How many Gilman-McCain awards are available?
A: The Gilman-McCain Scholarship offers 100 awards of $5,000 each for the current academic year.
Q: Are dependents of military personnel who died while on active duty eligible to apply to the Gilman-McCain Scholarship?
A: No, only dependents of current active duty military members are eligible for the Gilman-McCain Scholarship.
For information on other study abroad scholarships and grants for which you might be eligible, consult Other Study Abroad Resources.
Q: Is there an application fee for the Gilman-McCain Scholarship?
A: There is no application fee for the Gilman-McCain Scholarship. It is completely free to submit an application.
Q: Are child dependents of reservists eligible?
A: Child dependents of all active duty U.S. military members are eligible (assuming all other eligibility criteria are met). This includes active duty in the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard. This also includes activated (currently on active duty) Reserve Forces, Air National Guard, and Army National Guard. All applicants will need to provide their child dependent military ID (DD1173 Form), which confirms guardian’s active duty status.
The study abroad advisor certification will be required for Gilman-McCain Scholarship applicants.
The financial aid advisor certification will be updated to reflect the same statements provided under the Application Overview Page. This means that information on Federal Financial Aid status and total financial aid amount will be captured.