The Fulbright Program is the flagship international academic exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government in partnership with countries around the world. It is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Program provides participants, who represent the diversity of U.S. society and of societies abroad and are chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential, with the opportunity to study, teach, conduct research, pursue professional projects, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international challenges. Grants are available for U.S. citizens to travel abroad and for non-U.S. citizens to come to the U.S. The Fulbright Program is an important element of the United States' bilateral relationships with countries around the world. U.S. and foreign governments jointly set priorities for the exchanges.
The Fulbright Program was established by the U.S. Congress in 1946. The Program is named for Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, who proposed legislation for the international academic exchange fellowship which, would become known as the Fulbright Program. For more details about the creation of the Fulbright Program and Senator Fulbright, please visit the Fulbright Program overview on the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs website.
The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support.
The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs administers the Fulbright Program under policy guidelines established by the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board with the assistance of binational Fulbright Commissions in 49 countries, U.S. embassies in more than 100 other countries, and cooperating agencies in the United States.
The Fulbright Program awards approximately 9,000 grants annually. Approximately 2,000 U.S. students, 4,000 foreign students, over 800 U.S. scholars, and 900 visiting scholars receive awards, in addition to several hundred teachers and professionals.
More than 400,000 Fulbrighters from over 160 countries have participated in the program since its inception in 1946.
Currently, the Fulbright Program operates in over 160 countries worldwide. View a list of participating regions and countries.
The Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB), composed of 12 educational and public leaders appointed by the President of the United States, formulates policies for the administration of the Fulbright Program, establishes criteria for the selection of candidates, and selects candidates nominated for awards.
Binational Fulbright commissions and foundations, most of which are funded jointly by the U.S. and partner governments, develop priorities for the program, including the numbers and categories of grants. More specifically, they plan and implement educational exchanges, recruit and nominate candidates for fellowships, designate qualified local educational institutions to host Fulbrighters, fundraise, engage alumni, support incoming U.S. Fulbrighters, and, in many countries, operate an information service for the public on educational opportunities in the United States.
Currently, there are 49 Fulbright commissions. Each commission or foundation has a board, composed of Americans and citizens of the partner nation.
In a country without a commission or foundation, the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy develops and supervises the Fulbright Program.
Fulbright alumni are scholars, researchers, artists, public figures and leaders, and private citizens who continue to live the mission of the Fulbright Program. To learn about some of our thousands of outstanding alumni, read stories on this site and follow our Fulbright social media platforms:
Fulbright alumni have many opportunities to continue interacting with the Fulbright Program.
For all Fulbrighters, the Fulbrighter Network is the exclusive online community for current Fulbrighters and alumni worldwide. Approaching 30,000 users, this platform inspires Fulbrighters to connect, network, engage, and collaborate with their peers through discussions, interest groups, and virtual activities. Go to the Fulbrighter Network to join or learn more. Fulbright participants are invited to join the Fulbrighter Network once they have officially become Fulbrighters. Current Fulbrighters can ask others practical questions about finding housing, good places to eat, and other tips.
The Fulbright Association was established in 1977 as a private, nonprofit organization to serve as the leading organization for U.S. alumni. Its membership includes over 140,000 U.S. alumni and friends of the Program. Learn more and join your local chapter of the Fulbright Association.
For Fulbright alumni in the United States, the Fulbright Association has 54 volunteer-led chapters across the country. Chapters organize programs and events that provide Fulbright alumni and visiting Fulbrighters with diverse opportunities for networking, professional development, mentoring, cultural enrichment, and community service. Find your local Fulbright Association chapter to volunteer and learn about programs at fulbright.org.
For non-U.S. alumni, please contact the Fulbright Commission and/or U.S. Embassy in your country for information about local alumni groups.
For over 75 years, the Fulbright Program has engaged diverse students, scholars, artists, teachers, and professionals of all backgrounds. The Program believes that people from different countries and cultures living and learning together will foster mutual understanding among peoples and nations, helping to shape a more positive vision for all communities around the world. A hallmark of the Fulbright Program has been its longstanding commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA).
The Fulbright Program actively engages and supports individuals from all backgrounds and identities throughout their experience with the program. Fulbright takes concerted steps to ensure that the Program’s diverse participants have successful and rewarding experiences by incorporating DEIA principles and practices before, during, and after their exchange, including into general programming and administration, outreach and recruitment, selection, placement, post-selection and orientation efforts, on-grant activities (including enrichment and reentry activities) and alumni engagement.
Visit the DEIA page of this website to learn more about how Fulbright supports DEIA.
The Fulbright Program offers approximately 9,000 grants each year to U.S. and foreign students, scholars, teachers, artists, scientists and professionals. View a full list of Fulbright grant categories and programs.
There is no one single profile of a typical Fulbrighter. For the Fulbright Program to be successful in its goal to promote mutual understanding, Fulbrighters come from all backgrounds and represent the diversity of their home countries. Fulbrighters come from small villages and large cities. They range from recent university graduates to established professionals who are experts in their fields. They are students, researchers, and teachers at all types of public and private educational institutions, including primary and secondary schools, community colleges, small liberal arts colleges, and large research universities. They are also visual and performing artists, journalists, scientists, engineers, and other professionals. Fulbrighters come from a wide range of socioeconomic, ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds. Some have traveled outside of their home country, but for some, the Fulbright grant will be their first experience abroad.
All Fulbrighters share a strong academic background and intellectual curiosity, are leaders or show leadership potential, have a passion for increasing mutual understanding among nations and cultures, and demonstrate the adaptability and flexibility to pursue their proposed Fulbright project successfully.
The Fulbright Program offers opportunities to U.S. Citizens to study, teach, conduct research, and carry out projects in more than 160 countries worldwide, and for non-U.S. Citizens to study, teach, and conduct research in the United States.
The application process is different for each type of program, with the major categories as follows: Students, Scholars, Educators, Professionals, and Institutions. Application procedures and eligibility are based on an applicant's country of citizenship or country of permanent residency and the type of program.
Programs are administered through a number of different implementing partners, with different timetables and application deadlines. For details on each program and links to the program websites, visit the Apply section of this website.
The competition for awards through the Fulbright Program is merit-based. Eligibility criteria will vary by program and by country. Candidates are selected based on a variety of factors that may include academic qualifications, project feasibility, personal leadership qualities, and potential for lasting impact.
The Fulbright Program's application process is rigorous, and prospective applicants are encouraged to consider carefully their intentions, goals, future plans, and potential projects when applying for a Fulbright grant.
For the Fulbright U.S. Student and Fulbright U.S. Scholar programs, Fulbright operates on a yearly application cycle, which generally (but not in all cases) opens approximately 15 months before the anticipated start of the grant with a deadline approximately 11 or 12 months before the grant's start date. For example, the U.S. Student Program application generally opens in late March/early April with an October deadline for grants beginning the summer or autumn of the following year. For many of the U.S. Scholar Awards, applications generally open in February and close in September.
Specific exceptions to this are the Fulbright Specialist Program for U.S. academics and professionals, and the Distinguished Fulbright Awards in Teaching Program for U.S. and international teachers.
Applicants for the Scholar and Teacher Exchange programs may also need to consider additional work-related issues (for instance, campus leave policies) before applying.
Please note that non-U.S. citizens with legal permanent residency status in the United States are not eligible for Fulbright grants.
No. Fulbright grants are available for a variety of disciplines and fields, including the performing and visual arts, the natural sciences, mathematics, engineering, and technology. Fulbright encourages applications from all fields, including interdisciplinary ones.
Yes, but only in the fields of public health and global health. The Fulbright Program will not fund applicants seeking to enroll in a medical degree program nor does it offer grants to those who wish to conduct clinical medical research or training involving patient care, and/or contact.
For non-U.S. citizens who wish to study clinical medicine in the United States, the U.S. Department of State has designated the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) as the sole agency authorized to sponsor alien physicians for internship, residency, and specialized clinical training in the United States. Fulbright grantees cannot simultaneously be sponsored by ECFMG; therefore, proposals for medical research involving clinical training, patient care or patient contact cannot be approved under the Fulbright Program.
No. For instance, if you are a Nigerian citizen wishing to study in Norway, the Fulbright Program cannot fund your studies in Norway. As a U.S. Government-sponsored program that operates on a binational basis with other countries, the Fulbright Program only funds non-U.S. citizens for study, research, and teaching in the United States and U.S. citizens for study, research, and teaching outside the United States.
Generally, if you are eligible to hold a passport of your country of permanent residence, then you are eligible to apply for a Fulbright grant from that country. Countries with Fulbright Commissions may require applicants to be resident citizens according to the policies jointly set by the U.S. and host country governments. Please contact the Fulbright Commission or the U.S. Embassy in your country of permanent residence for complete eligibility information.
Non-U.S. citizens who have legal permanent residency status in the United States are not eligible for any Fulbright grants.
U.S. citizens who are applying for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and currently reside abroad are eligible unless they are residents of and applying to one of the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Chile, China, European Union member states for European Union grants, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Israel, Jordan, Korea, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam. This follows the policy of the relevant binational Fulbright Commission or the U.S. Embassy in the host country.
U.S. citizens who also hold citizenship in another country are eligible to apply for a Fulbright grant from the United States. U.S. applicants to certain countries may not be eligible to apply to the other country if they possess citizenship of that country. The visa application process may also be slowed if selected grantees are dual citizens of the U.S. and the country to which they applied. Please check the grant information and country information pages for the U.S. Student Program or the U.S. Scholar Program for more information about citizenship issues that may affect eligibility.
Any dual U.S. citizen, regardless of the other citizenship, cannot apply from another country for a Fulbright grant to the United States because all U.S. citizens are ineligible for Fulbright grants to the U.S.
No, you are not eligible for a Fulbright grant to study in the United States if you are a non-U.S. citizen already resident in the United States. The Fulbright Program funds U.S. citizens for study and research abroad and non-U.S. citizens who are not already in the United States for study and research in the United States. Non-U.S. citizens must apply to the program from their home countries and are generally required to be a resident there at the time of application.
Yes. The Fulbright-Hays--Group Projects Abroad Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, provides grants to support overseas projects in training, research, and curriculum development in modern foreign languages and area studies for teachers, students, and faculty engaged in a common endeavor. Projects may include short-term seminars, curriculum development, group research or study, or advanced intensive language programs. All other Fulbright grants are for individual grantees.
No, the Fulbright Program does not have age limits for participation.
Although Fulbright encourages citizens worldwide to participate in international educational and cultural exchanges, the Fulbright Program cannot officially recommend or endorse specific programs outside Fulbright's purview.
The State Department also sponsors other exchange opportunities for U.S. citizens.
The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural maintains a study abroad website for U.S. students.
The U.S. Department of State sponsors a worldwide network of advising centers for foreign students wishing to study in the United States. To locate the center nearest you and for general information about studying in the United States, please visit the EducationUSA website.
The State Department also sponsors other exchange opportunities for non-U.S. citizens to come to the United States.
A directory of funding opportunities for study in the U.S. is available, courtesy of the Institute of International Education, which administers parts of the Fulbright Program on behalf of the U.S. State Department.
In addition, many U.S. colleges and universities have international offices that advise prospective international students. For more information, please contact directly any colleges and universities that interest you.
The U.S. Congress appropriates funding to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) each year. This Congressional appropriation makes up the majority of the Fulbright Program's funding. Part of this appropriation goes to the U.S. Department of Education for the administration of the separate Fulbright-Hays Program.
In addition, partner governments also contribute funding to the Program through the binational Fulbright Commissions and other organizations. Private donors, including organizations, corporations, and individuals worldwide, also contribute to Fulbright's funding. Furthermore, in-kind donations from both the private and public sectors globally support the Fulbright Program. Host universities contribute significantly to the program by offering partial or full tuition waivers to participants. On occasion, ECA may receive funds through an interagency transfer from another government agency, such as USAID, to fund Fulbright grants.
ECA works with binational Fulbright Commissions, the Public Affairs Sections of U.S. Embassies worldwide, and partner organizations to administer the Fulbright Program.
U.S. applicants (U.S. citizens) apply either through their university or college or directly to the cooperating agency responsible for administering the program in which they are interested.
The cooperating agencies then recommend U.S. applicants who have passed initial screening to the binational Fulbright Commissions or to the U.S. Embassies (in countries without a Commission) in the application country for their recommendation.
Non-U.S. applicants (non-U.S. citizens) apply to either the Fulbright Commission in their country of citizenship or the U.S. Embassy in their country of citizenship (in countries where there is not a Fulbright Commission).
The binational Fulbright Commissions and U.S. Embassies recommend both U.S. and non-U.S. candidates to the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB). The FFSB makes the final selections for candidates.
Placement of selected applicants varies by the type of grant. Generally, Fulbright Student and Scholar Program participants propose their own institutional affiliation when applying. Participants in the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant and English Teaching Assistant programs are assigned their host institutions. The Fulbright Scholar and the Fulbright Teacher Exchange programs generally match participants with host institutions wanting their particular expertise or area of specialization.
Fulbrighters carry out a variety of roles, both during and after their Fulbright experiences. These roles include being students, scholars, teachers, lecturers, researchers, mentors, artists, philanthropists, cultural ambassadors, and social entrepreneurs.
Each Fulbrighter's experience is unique and depends on a variety of factors, including project details, location, and language abilities. Despite the variety of experiences, Fulbrighters all describe their experiences as life changing and having a profound influence on their professional and personal endeavors.
Read stories from individual Fulbright alumni to learn more about what it is like to be a Fulbrighter.
Fulbright is the most widely recognized and prestigious international academic exchange program in the world, supported for over 75 years by the American people through an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress and by the people of partner nations. The program — working with universities, schools, binational Fulbright commissions and foundations, government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector — actively seeks out individuals of achievement and potential who represent the full diversity of their respective societies and selects nominees through open, merit-based competitions. From its inception, the Fulbright Program has fostered bilateral relationships in which other countries and governments work with the U.S. to set joint priorities and shape the program to meet shared needs.
In addition to carrying out their proposed projects, Fulbrighters are expected to become involved in their host community, sharing their culture. After their grant periods, Fulbrighters are encouraged to use what they have learned through this cultural exchange and teach others about their projects, their collaborations with people from their host country, and the cultural practices they experienced. Fulbrighters are also encouraged to continue the Fulbright experience by participating in Fulbright alumni activities and networking with other Fulbrighters.
If you are a current Fulbrighter and have a question regarding your Fulbright grant, please contact your Fulbright advisor/administrating agency or go to your specific Fulbright Program website. Please see the program websites at the links above.
You can also seek information about your Fulbright host country and location by posting questions in the Fulbrighter Network community. Visit the Fulbrighter Network for information on how to join.
If you would like to host a Fulbrighter on your campus, please visit the Apply page to learn about the different opportunities for U.S. higher education institutions.
If you have questions regarding a Fulbrighter and their Fulbright grant, please contact your Fulbright Advisor/administrating agency or go to your specific Fulbright program website. Please see the program websites at the links above.
For quick verification that an individual had a Fulbright grant, and to confirm country and year, a good place to start is the searchable online directories maintained by Fulbright partner organizations for the specific programs. Scholar online directories go back to 1948. The U.S. Student Program online directory goes back to 1949. The Foreign Student Program directory goes back to 1942. (Please note that for security and privacy reasons, these directories are not comprehensive.)
If you have a question about a grantee from a year not in the online directories, or you cannot find them in the directories and would like to conduct a more exhaustive search, please email us with your inquiry.
Members of the media should contact our press office at [email protected].
For all questions about application and program administration, please see the program websites at the links above.