Boren Scholarships provide up to $20,000 to U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad in areas of the world considered critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Boren Scholars represent a variety of academic backgrounds, but all are interested in studying less commonly taught languages, including but not limited to Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Swahili.
Boren Scholarships are funded by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), which focuses on geographic areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security. Applicants should identify how their study abroad program, as well as their future academic and career goals, will contribute to U.S. national security–broad defined to include the traditional concerns of protecting and promoting American well-being, as well as the challenges of global society, including sustainable development, environmental degradation, global disease and hunger, population growth and migration, and economic competitiveness.
Study abroad proposals for two or more semesters are strongly encouraged, and preference will be given to undergraduate applicants proposing a full year of academic study. Summer-only programs must last eight weeks or more and are limited to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics students. Boren-funded programs can begin no earlier than June 1.
Maximum scholarship awards are $20,000 for a full academic year, $10,000 for a semester, and $8,000 for a summer. In exchange for scholarship funding, all Boren Scholars must agree to the NSEP service requirement.
To be eligible, an applicant must be a U.S. citizen at the time of application, a high school graduate, enrolled in an accredited undergraduate degree program in the U.S. through the duration of the scholarship period, and applying to a study abroad program that meets home institution standards in a country outside of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.
Applying for the Boren Scholarship requires campus certification, and Columbia undergraduates must submit their online application materials and their supplementary application materials by an internal deadline usually one or two weeks before the national deadline.