Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program

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Grant amount: Up to US $5,000

Next deadline: Mar 3, 2020 9:59pm PST

Later deadlines: Oct 1, 2020 9:59pm PDT

Applicant type: Undergraduate Student

Funding uses: Scholarship

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: United States

Location of citizenship: United States, Puerto Rico

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Program Overview

The U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is a grant program that enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad, thereby gaining skills critical to our national security and economic prosperity. 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 Scholarship 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).

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, students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, ethnic minority students, students with disabilities, students attending HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) or other minority-serving institutions, students attending community colleges, and students coming from U.S. states with less study abroad participation.

Award Amounts

Award amounts will vary depending on the length of study and student need. Applicants who are studying a critical need language while abroad can apply for a supplemental award of up to $3,000, for a combined total of $8,000. This award is competitive and offered to a limited number of Gilman scholars each year. Not all students who are studying these languages will receive $8,000. In addition to receiving additional funds for language study, students who are awarded the Critical Need Language Award and complete their Gilman Scholarship requirements will be offered the opportunity to take the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI). This test and the results will serve as both an evaluation measure of the award and as a credential for the award recipient.

Critical need languages include:

  • Arabic- Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates
  • Azerbaijani- Azerbaijan
  • Bahasa- Indonesian Indonesia
  • Bangla- India
  • Chinese- (Mandarin) China, Taiwan
  • Hindi- India
  • Japanese- Japan
  • Korean- South Korea
  • Persian- Tajikistan
  • Portuguese- Angola, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Ecuatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Macau, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe
  • Punjabi- India
  • Russian- Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine
  • Swahili- Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda
  • Turkish- Azerbaijan, Cyprus
  • Urdu- India

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • An applicant must:
    • Be a citizen of the United States;
    • Be 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);
    • Be receiving a Federal Pell Grant or provide proof that he/she will be receiving a Pell Grant during the term of his/her study abroad program or internship;
    • Be in the process of applying to, or accepted for, a study abroad or internship 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 allowed.
      • Proof of program acceptance is required prior to award disbursement;
    • Be proposing to study in a country not currently under a Travel Warning issued by the United States Department of State.
      • Students applying to programs in Mexico may only apply for scholarships to support study in Mexican states where no advisory is in effect according to the U.S. Department of State Travel Warning list.
  • Gilman Scholarship recipients can only receive the scholarship once.
    • If a student previously declined the Gilman Scholarship, they are welcome to re-apply, as long as they still meet all eligibility requirements as listed above.
  • Veterans of military service are encouraged to apply.


  •  Veterans of military service are encouraged to apply, and preference is given to veterans when other factors are equivalent.
  • 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.


  • You are not eligible to apply for the scholarship if you will be studying in a country on the Travel Warning list.
    • No exceptions can be made as this restriction is for your safety.