Program Overview

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program offers grants for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies or credit-bearing, career-oriented internships abroad. Such international exchange is intended to better prepare U.S. students to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world.

International experience is critically important in the educational and career development of American students, but it can also require a substantial financial investment. 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 choose non-traditional study and intern destinations, especially those outside of Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The Gilman Scholarship Program aims to support students who have been traditionally under-represented in education abroad, including but not limited to, students with high financial need, community college students, students in underrepresented fields such as the sciences and engineering, students with diverse ethnic backgrounds, and students with disabilities. The program seeks to assist students from a diverse range of public and private institutions from all 50 states, Washington, DC and Puerto Rico.

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 and international airfare.

This congressionally funded program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and is administered by the Institute of International Education through its office in Houston, TX. Named after retired congressman Benjamin A. Gilman from New York, the program was established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000. Congressman Gilman, who retired in 2002 after serving in the House of Representatives for 30 years and chairing the House Foreign Relations Committee, commented, “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.”

Award Benefits

Over 2,300 scholarships of up to $5,000 will be awarded this academic year for U.S. citizen undergraduates to study abroad. Award amounts will vary depending on the length of study and student need with the average award being approximately $4,000.

Students who apply for and receive the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad are then eligible to receive a Critical Need Language Award from the Gilman Scholarship Program of $8,000. Applicants who are studying a critical need language while abroad will automatically be considered for the Critical Need Language Award. During the 2011-2012 academic year, 50 Critical Need Language Awards were offered to Gilman Scholarship recipients.

Critical Need Languages Include:

  • Arabic (all dialects)
  • Chinese (all dialects)
  • Bahasa Indonesia
  • Japanese
  • Turkic (Azerbaijani, Kazakh, Kyrgz, Turkish, Turkmen, Uzbek)
  • Persian (Farsi, Dari, Kurdish, Pashto, Tajiki)
  • Indic (Hindi, Urdu, Nepali, Sinhala, Bengali, Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, Sindhi)
  • Korean
  • Russian
  • Swahili

Selection Criteria

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 undergraduates who might otherwise not participate due to financial constraints.

The Gilman Scholarship Program aims to support a diverse range of students who have been traditionally under-represented in education abroad, including but not limited to:

  • Students with high financial need
  • Students studying in non-traditional countries, especially those outside of Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand
  • Students with diverse ethnic backgrounds
  • Students from a diverse range of institutions including four-year, public, private, community colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges, Hispanic Serving Institutions and other Minority Serving Institutions.
  • Students with disabilities

The program strongly encourages students to choose non-traditional study and intern abroad destinations, especially those outside of Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The program strongly encourages students from community colleges to apply. The program encourages students to study or intern abroad for longer periods of time though short-term programs of at least four weeks in length are eligible. The program also seeks to serve students from all 50 states, Washington, DC and Puerto Rico. The program aims to encourage students in non-traditional fields of study such as the sciences and engineering, to study or intern abroad though all disciplines are eligible.

The program seeks to assist students from a diverse range of colleges and universities including, but not limited to: two and four-year public and private colleges, Tribal Colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions and other Minority-Serving Institutions from all 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. The program aims to open doors for students who have not previously studied or interned abroad for undergraduate academic credit.

All recipients are required to carry out a Follow-on Service Project that promotes international education and the Gilman Scholarship Program at the students’ home institution or in their home community. The Follow-on Service Project Proposal, Statement of Purpose essay and the applicant’s academic progress are criteria that are closely considered during the selection process.

Interning Abroad

If you have thought about studying abroad but not sure you want to be in a traditional classroom environment, you may wish to consider interning abroad, which is also eligible under the Gilman Scholarship. The U.S. Depamartment of State is placing an emphasis on interning abroad and has set aside funds dedicated to encourage more students to do so.

The Gilman Program seeks to prepare U.S. students to assume significant roles in the increasingly global economy and the skills students gain abroad during internships can enhance their career development in unique ways. Students going on credit-bearing, career-oriented internships are encouraged to apply for the Gilman Scholarship.

If you would like to consider interning abroad as you apply for the Gilman Scholarship, click here for additional resources.

Gilman Alumni who have participated in internships abroad have noted the following skills gained from their internship experience:

  • intercultural skills
  • foreign language proficiency
  • understanding of business culture abroad
  • direction and clarity of career goals

There are two components to the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Application:

  1. Online application which includes uploading official transcripts.
  2. Online certifications from the applicant’s study abroad and financial aid advisor.

Both components must be completed by the deadlines below in order for your application to be accepted. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered and extensions cannot be granted.

The Spring 2014 application cycle is for study abroad programs beginning between December 15, 2013 and April 15, 2014. This cycle encompasses spring semester, quarter, calendar year, winter inter-session and January term programs that are a minimum of four weeks in length. The application deadline for the Spring 2014 cycle is October 1, 2014.The Summer 2014 application cycle is for programs beginning between May 1, 2014 and August 1, 2014 that are a minimum of four weeks in length. The application deadline for the Summer 2014 cycle is March 4, 2014.

The Fall 2014/AY 2014-2015 application cycle is for programs beginning between July 15 and October 15, 2014. This cycle encompasses fall semester, quarter, academic year programs that are a minimum of four weeks in length. The application deadline for the Fall 2014/AY 2014-2015 cycle is March 4, 2014.

CUNY Baccalaureate students may apply for the Gilman Scholarship through their home college.

*Please note that if there is no Gilman option at your home college you may apply using CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies as your home institution.  If you choose to do this, a CUNY Baccalaureate advisor will be your certifying study abroad advisor but you will be responsible for obtaining a financial aid certification form from Gilman and having it certified by the financial aid office at your home college.  You will not be able to click submit in the online application so this is a process reserved for rare circumstances.  In order to ensure that your application is certified in a timely manner, we ask that you submit it no later than two weeks prior to the official deadline.  For questions, please contact Kate McPherson.

Please read all of the official information available on the Gilman website: http://www.iie.org/en/Programs/Gilman-Scholarship-Program