The U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad, providing them with skills critical to our national security and economic prosperity. To be eligible for the Gilman Program, applicants must be receiving a Federal Pell Grant during the time of application or provide proof that they will be receiving a Pell Grant during the term of their study abroad program or internship. The Institute of International Education has administered the program since its inception in 2001.
A Gilman Scholarship enables American students to gain proficiency in diverse languages and cultures, skills that are critically important to their academic and career development.
The Gilman Program broadens the student population that studies and interns abroad by supporting undergraduates who might not otherwise participate due to financial constraints. The program aims to encourage students to study and intern in a diverse array of countries or areas and world regions. The program also encourages students to study languages, especially critical need languages (those deemed important to national security). Veterans of military service are encouraged to apply, and preference is given to veterans when other factors are equivalent. By supporting undergraduate students who have high financial need, the program has been successful in supporting students who have been historically underrepresented in education abroad, including but not limited to first-generation college students, ethnic minority students, students with disabilities, students attending HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) or other minority-serving institutions, students attending community colleges, rural students, and students coming from U.S. states with less study abroad participation.
Mission of the Gilman Program
- Develop a generation of future American leaders who represent the rich diversity
of the nation and have the international networks and skills to advance U.S. national
security and economic prosperity.
- Expand the U.S. student population that studies and interns abroad, helping more
young Americans to gain the professional skills, language abilities, and knowledge of
the world needed for successful careers.
- Broaden the destinations where U.S. students study and intern abroad, in order to
build relationships, foster mutual understanding, and represent American culture and
values, including in developing countries and countries critical to U.S. national
Congressman Benjamin A. Gilman
This is a congressionally funded program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and named after the late congressman Benjamin A. Gilman from New York. With his support, the program was established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000. Shortly thereafter in 2003, Congressman Gilman retired after serving in the House of Representatives for 30 years and chairing the Committee on International Relations.
Study abroad is a special experience for every student who participates. Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposes our students to alternate views, but also adds an enriching social and cultural experience. It also provides our students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world, encouraging them to be a contributor, rather than a spectator in the international community.Benjamin A. Gilman
Nearly 3,000 scholarships of up to $5,000 will be awarded this academic year for U.S. citizen undergraduates to study or intern abroad.
Award recipients are chosen by a competitive selection process and must use the award to defray eligible study or intern abroad costs. These costs include program tuition, room and board, books, local transportation, insurance, international airfare, passport and visa fees. For more information, please check Eligible & Non-Eligible Expenses.
noncompetitive eligibility (NCE) for Federal employment
Under Executive Order 13750, Gilman scholars are eligible for 12 months of noncompetitive eligibility (NCE) hiring status within the federal government, with the possibility of extensions if certain criteria are met. NCE allows U.S. federal government agencies to hire eligible exchange program alumni outside of the formal competitive job announcement process and to compete for certain federal employment jobs that are only open to federal employees. In other words, a Gilman alumna/us can receive a job offer with as little as an open position and a résumé that reflects the necessary experience and education for an agency.
Additional information is available through the following resources:
- Gilman Noncompetitive Eligibility document
- U.S. Department of State’s Exchange Alumni website
U.S. Department of State
For more than 50 years the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) has sought to cultivate mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries to promote friendly, and peaceful relations, as mandated by the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961.
ECA accomplishes its mission through a variety of exchange programs and other initiatives that support mutual understanding by protecting cultural heritage across the globe and providing educational resources for people interested in learning about American culture and the English language. ECA programs engage participants from a variety of backgrounds and specialties.