Overview

  • The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers research, study and teaching opportunities in over 140 countries to recent graduates and graduate students.
  • A network of over 1,650 volunteer Fulbright Program Advisers on campuses nationwide assist in the recruitment and advisement of applicants.
  • IIE convenes National Screening Committees in the subsections of academics, arts, and English Teaching Assistantships to review applications by world region or discipline. These committees recommended applications for final consideration in the host country. 
  • Final award selection will be made by the supervising agency in the host country and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. 

 

History

In 1945, Senator J. William Fulbright introduced a bill in the United States Congress that called for the use of surplus war property to fund the 'promotion of international good will through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture, and science.'

On August 1, 1946, President Harry S. Truman signed the bill into law, and Congress created the Fulbright Program, the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Government.

From its inception, the Fulbright Program has fostered bilateral relationships in which citizens and governments of other countries work with the U.S. to set joint priorities and shape the program to meet shared needs. The world has been transformed in ensuing decades, but the fundamental principle of international partnership remains at the core of the Fulbright mission.

The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB) was created by Congress to supervise the Fulbright Program. This 12-member Board, appointed by the President of the United States, works in cooperation with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, the bi-national Fulbright Commissions and Foundations, and the Public Affairs Sections of U.S. embassies abroad, to administer the Program. The FFSB sets policies and procedures for administration of the Fulbright Program, has final authority for selection of all grantees, and supervises the conduct of the program both in the United States and abroad. Click here for a complete list of current FFSB members.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. The program currently awards approximately 2,000 grants annually in all fields of study, and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide. Fulbright U.S. Student alumni populate a range of professions and include ambassadors, members of Congress, judges, heads of corporations, university presidents, journalists, artists, professors, and teachers. Bose Corporation founder Amar Bose, actor John Lithgow, composer Philip Glass, opera singer Renee Fleming and economist Joseph Stiglitz are among notable former grantees. 

More than 380,000 Fulbrighters from the United States and other countries have participated in the Program since its inception in 1946. The Fulbright Program awards approximately 8,000 grants annually. Currently, the Fulbright Program operates in over 160 countries worldwide.

The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. ECA administers the Fulbright Program under policy guidelines established by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB) and in cooperation with bi-national Fulbright Commissions and the Public Affairs Sections of U.S. embassies abroad.

As the administrative and executive arm of the Fulbright Program, ECA has fiscal responsibility for the preparation of an annual budget request to Congress and makes decisions on funding allocations to participating countries. Under policies established by the FFSB, ECA also holds primary responsibility for the administration of the program, together with the assistance of cooperating non-profit organizations. Within a U.S. embassy abroad, exchange-program activities are the responsibility of the Public Affairs Section. In many countries, at least one of the Foreign Service Officers from this section is a member of the local bi-national Fulbright Commission and maintains liaison with the Commission on policy and program matters on behalf of the ECA. In countries without a Fulbright Commission, the Public Affairs Officer or Cultural Affairs Officer administers the educational exchange programs.