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 ranking process.
Applications are reviewed holistically, with consideration of the following:
Academic performance, particularly in the applicant’s major is important, though there is no minimum grade point average for this scholarship. Study abroad advisors at applicants’ home institutions deem students eligible to participate in a study abroad program based on their academic standing at their home institutions. Applicants must demonstrate the maturity needed to benefit from their experience abroad, and they should be able to describe the expected outcome of their program participation towards their future academic and career objectives. Students’ transcripts are reviewed to certify the academic information provided in their applications. Students should disclose academic challenges and choices for consideration of their application evaluation.
The program seeks participation by the broadest group of American undergraduate students with financial need who will benefit from the knowledge and skills 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, 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 with less study abroad participation. This information is considered in the context of the overall impact the proposed study abroad experience will have on the student and the student’s ability to be a strong representative of the Gilman Program during the study abroad program. Preference is 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.
A successful applicant will demonstrate a coherent link between their proposed program abroad activities and their future academic and/or career plans, as well as personal development goals. Students should detail the different aspects of their program and articulate how their participation and receipt of the Gilman Scholarship would support the achievement of their goals. The program encourages students to study and intern in a diverse array of countries and world regions. Candidates who are studying in underrepresented countries will be given preference, provided their qualifications are approximately equivalent to those of other candidates. Underrepresented countries are in the following regions:
- Eastern Europe
- Middle East & North Africa
- Sub-Saharan Africa
- East Asia and the Pacific (with the exception of Australia, China, Japan, and South Korea)
- South and Central Asia
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. Gilman Scholars are expected to contribute 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 Scholarship among their peers in their home communities and campuses. A successful Follow-on Service Project proposal will be feasible, utilize one’s experience abroad, and connect to diverse groups of Americans.
The supplemental essay completed by students applying for the Critical Need Language Award will be considered using the following additional criteria:
The U.S. Department of State is dedicated to supporting students who are studying a critical need language (those deemed important to national security). 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, in a country or area that predominantly speaks the language. 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 academic and career goals.