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Office of International Studies and Programs


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Phone: +1-509-963-3612
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Central Washington University
Office of International Studies and Programs
Hebeler Hall 102
400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7408

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Financial Aid and Scholarships

A number of financial aid sources exist to assist students in managing the costs of education abroad. Below is a list of some of those, as well as other funding ideas and search resources. Please keep in mind that information is subject to change without notice, and information published by the aid sponsor will supersede the information below.

Budgeting and Reasonable Expenses
VA Education Benefits (GI Bill, etc.)
CWU Scholarships
Dionysia and James Pappas Study Abroad Scholarship
CWU History Department Study Abroad Scholarship
Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship
Awards for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA)
National Security Education Program/Boren Awards for International Study
Other Outside Scholarships
Third-Party Provider Scholarships
Online Scholarship Databases
529 College Savings Plan (Parents/Guardians)
Crowd-Source Funding
More Resources
Funded International Degree and Research Programs



Eligibility requirements and applicability to education abroad vary according to the aid source. Generally speaking, financial aid obtained through Central Washington University will apply to the costs of education abroad, with the exception of Work Study and any aid awards processed as tuition waiver. Students should always have a current Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file and consult with CWU’s Financial Aid Office (FAO) and Scholarship Office to determine eligibility for and the applicability of federal, state and campus-based aid.

Even if students have never received federal or state financial aid grants or loans prior, they are strongly encouraged to consult with the FAO and file a FAFSA. The costs of education abroad may change students’ need or eligibility status.

For scholarship eligibility requirements, students should consult the scholarship provider or, if available, the designated campus contact directly.

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Budgeting and Reasonable Expenses

In determining award amounts, some aid types will factor in “reasonable expenses” of the student’s chosen program. These include tuition and related fees, housing and meals, books, supplies, and transportation.

As part of the application and acceptance process, Study Abroad & Exchange Programs (SAEP) will create a document called a Certificate of Participation (COP), which will include a budget of estimated expenses based on information from the sponsor of the student’s program and is a prerequisite to using financial aid for education abroad. Students participating in a program through a non-affiliated partner, must supply SAEP with the necessary information. Once complete, SAEP will send an electronic copy of the COP to both the student and FAO.

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For the most up-to-date information on grants, please consult the Financial Aid Office.

Federal Pell Grant

Available almost exclusively to undergraduates and all eligible students will receive the award amount for which they qualify based on financial need. Estimated annual awards vary and these grants are prorated based on the number of enrolled credit hours.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

Only awarded to students who meet the strict need guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Education, and submit the FAFSA by March 15. Students must be Pell-eligible to receive this grant.

Washington State Need Grant (SNG)

The State Need Grant (SNG) program helps the state’s lowest-income undergraduate students pursue degrees. Limited to a total of 15 quarters or 225 attempted credits, whichever comes first. Must meet priority deadline. Subject to change depending on state funding.

Passport to College

A scholarship program that encourages foster youth to prepare for and succeed in college.

College Bound Scholarship

The College Bound program was created to assist low-income youth and raise educational attainment in Washington.

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For the most up-to-date information on loans, please consult the Financial Aid Office.

Federal Direct Subsidized Loan

Awarded based on need as determined from information on the FAFSA. The U.S. Department of Education pays interest while the borrower is in school and during any grace and deferment periods. The student must be at least a half-time student and have financial need. The annual loan limit varies based on class standing.

Perkins Loan

The Perkins Loan is another need-based loan program. Students must have filed their FAFSA by March 15 to be considered for this program.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan

Non need-based loan. Students must complete the FAFSA to be eligible for this loan program. This loan is given in lieu of, or in combination with, Direct Subsidized Loans. Terms are the same as the Stafford Subsidized Loan, except the borrower is responsible for the interest from the date of disbursement.

Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)

Non need-based loan. The applicant is the student's parent, who is responsible to begin repayment almost immediately upon disbursement. If a parent is denied for this loan, the student may be eligible for a Stafford Unsubsidized Loan. To receive the PLUS loan, no FAFSA is required; contact the FAO for an application.

Alternative Loans

Non need-based loan. These are private loans that are generally in the name of the student; a FAFSA is not generally required for these loans. Often the student is the borrower, and may need to have a creditworthy co-borrower. Interest rates, repayment plans, and deferment options vary widely among lenders. Be sure to "shop" for the option that is right for your situation since these are loans that are designed to bridge the funding gap when savings, scholarships, grants, federal loans, and other resources are not sufficient.

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VA Education Benefits (GI Bill, etc.)

Eligible veterans are often able to apply VA Education Benefits, such as the GI Bill, to at least a portion of the costs associated with education abroad. Typically, this is limited to those costs associated with tuition. For specific details, limits, and requirements, students should contact the CWU Veterans Center.

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CWU Scholarships

The CWU Scholarship Office maintains a searchable database of CWU-sponsored scholarships for a variety of purposes. Some CWU scholarships are available specifically for education abroad, and others are more general. Students are encouraged to investigate these options and, just as with the FAFSA, complete the General Scholarship Application (GSA) each year.

Students who receive general CWU scholarships—those that are not education abroad-specific—may also be able to use those scholarships toward education abroad program costs. However, it may depend on the terms of the scholarship and how they are structured. Some scholarships are structured as tuition waivers, and these may not be used for education abroad programs.

Students who are interested in and/or receive CWU scholarships should consult the Scholarship Office for specific eligibility details and application procedures.


Dionysia and James Pappas Study Abroad Scholarship

The CWU Foundation and the Office of International Studies and Programs have received a generous gift to honor Dionysia and James Pappas, both active members in the Central Washington University and Ellensburg Communities. The purpose of their scholarship is to enhance study abroad opportunities for CWU students.

Awards Available: 1 for long-term programs (e.g., exchanges and third-party sponsored programs); 2 for short-term programs (e.g., faculty-directed and internships)
Award Amount: $1,000 to $1,200 for long-term programs; $400 to $500 for short-term programs

Application Deadlines

March 1 | CWU exchange programs, third-party study abroad programs, and other long-term programs.


  • Summer
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring

March 1 | Faculty-directed programs, internships, service-learning/volunteer programs, and other short-term programs.


  • Summer
  • Fall

November 1 | Faculty-directed programs, internships, service-learning/volunteer programs, and other short-term programs.


  • Winter
  • Spring Break
  • Spring

Eligibility Criteria

  • Student must be a matriculated sophomore, junior, or senior at CWU. For seniors, study abroad travel or exchange should be completed one or two quarters before graduation.
  • Student must submit a statement letter for the planned study abroad program and how it will benefit their future studies and career.
  • Students are required to share their study abroad experience when they return to campus as arranged through the Office of Study Abroad and Exchange Programs.

How to Apply

  • Go to CWU Scholarship Central (, sign in, and search for keywords: “Study Abroad” or “Department: International Studies”.
  • Complete the online application, being sure to complete all fields, questions, and the statement.
  • Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

CWU History Department Study Abroad Scholarship

Awards Available: 2
Award Amount: $500

Application Deadlines:
All Terms: March 1

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Undergraduate history major or History Department graduate student

Application Requirements and Procedures: See CWU Scholarship Office.

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Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program

Sponsored by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the Institute of International Education, the prestigious and competitive Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program “offers grants for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies abroad”, with the stated goal of “better [preparing] U.S. students to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world”.

Award Amounts:
Average: $4,000
Maximum: $5,000
Maximum with Critical Need Language Award: $8,000

Critical Need Languages include:

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

Application Deadlines:
Summer: First Tuesday of March
Fall Quarter/Academic Year: First Tuesday of March
Winter & Spring Quarters: First Tuesday of October

Eligibility Criteria:

  • U.S. citizen
  • Undergraduate
  • Good academic standing
  • Pell Grant recipient
  • Applying to or accepted into a study abroad or internship eligible program for credit at CWU
  • Program duration of a minimum of four (4) weeks in one country. Multi-country programs are eligible if the student studies in one country for four (4) consecutive weeks.
  • Not proposing study in Cuba or a country currently under a U.S. Department State Travel Warning
  • Have not previously received the Gilman Scholarship

The Gilman Scholarship Program also seeks to diversify the profile of U.S. students participating in education abroad, whether in terms of gender, ethnicity, major, or proposed destination. The profile of the typical U.S. education abroad participant is a white female majoring in the humanities or business and studying in Western Europe. Students not fitting that profile in any way are given some preference in selection.

Video tutorials and guides may be found here.

CWU Contacts:
SAEP: Steven Cook,
Financial Aid: Inti Valverde,

Students should consult with an SAEP advisor prior to completing the Gilman application.

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Freeman Awards for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA)

Funded by the Freeman Foundation and administered by the Institute of International Education, the Freeman-ASIA program is “designed to support U.S.-based undergraduates with demonstrated financial need who are planning to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia” with the stated goal “increase the number of U.S. citizens and permanent residents with first-hand exposure to and understanding of Asia and its peoples and cultures.”

Award Amounts:
Summer (min. 8 weeks): up to $3,000
Quarter (min. 10 weeks): up to $5,000
Semester (min. 12 weeks): up to $5,000
Academic Year: up to $7,000

Application Windows:
Summer: Mid-January through late February or early March
Fall or Academic Year: Mid-February through early April
Spring: Mid-September through Mid- to late October

Eligible Destinations:

  • Cambodia
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Laos
  • Macao
  • Malaysia
  • Mongolia
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • Multi-Country (Provided a minimum of 8 weeks take place in one of the above & intensive language study is included during that phase.)

Eligibility Criteria:

  • US citizen or permanent resident
  • Currently receives need-based financial aid or demonstrate a verifiable need for financial assistance to participate in the proposed study abroad program. Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) figure, calculated through FAFSA, will be required.
  • Undergraduate pursuing first associate’s or bachelor’s degree at a US two- or four-year institution of higher education
  • Minimum  2.8 GPA
  • Must not be a previous Freeman-ASIA recipient
  • Must have at least one term of enrollment remaining at home institution upon return
  • Must have applied to or be accepted into a credit-bearing program in an eligible country
  • Must have little or no previous experience in the destination country. (Summer applicant: no more than 4 weeks in proposed country within last 5 years. Quarter/Semester/Academic Year: no more than 6 weeks in proposed country within last 5 years.)
  • Must complete Student Impact Survey and service project upon return
  • Must submit Final Service Report on service project at the end of the term following return to the United States

CWU Contacts:
SAEP: Steven Cook,
Financial Aid: Inti Valverde,
Students should consult with an SAEP advisor prior to completing the Freeman application.

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National Security Education Program/Boren Awards for International Study

Comprised of the Boren Scholarships and the Boren Fellowships, the Boren Awards for International Study offer significant grants to undergraduate and graduate students studying in destinations that are less common and deemed critical to U.S. interests, with preference given to certain emphasized countries. Language study is a mandatory component of a Boren-funded program, with preference given to less-commonly taught languages. Boren Scholars and Fellows are subject to a government service requirement after graduation.

Boren Scholarships


  • U.S. citizen at the time of application
  • A high school graduate, or have earned a GED
  • Matriculated in an undergraduate degree program located within the United States accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Applying to a study abroad program that meets home institution standards in a country outside of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.

Award Amounts (Maximum):
Summer: $8,000 (STEM students only; minimum 8 weeks)
Semester: $10,000
Full Academic Year: $20,000

Campus Application Deadline:
November 1


Boren Fellowships


  • U.S. citizen at the time of application
  • Either matriculated in or applying to a graduate degree program at a U.S. college or university located within the United States and accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Planning an overseas program that meets home institution standards in a country outside of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.

Award Amounts (Maximum):
12-24 Weeks:  $12,000
25-36 Weeks:  $20,000
37-52 Weeks:  $24,000

Award for Supplement Domestic Language Study (Maximum): $12,000
Award for Combined International & Domestic Program (Maximum): $30,000

Campus Application Deadline:
November 1

Video tutorials and guides may be found here.

CWU Boren Campus Representative:
Steven Cook
Assistant Director for Study Abroad & Exchange Programs
Office of International Studies and Programs

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Other Outside Scholarships

Fund for Education Abroad (FEA)

Application Open: November
Application Deadline: January
FEA has multiple scholarships available, including a general scholarship and several dedicated scholarships with specific eligibility requirements. The single application deadline is set well in advance of eligible terms, falling in the January prior to the given academic year (May to May).

General Scholarship Award Amount: Up to $10,000
General Scholarships Available: Varies

Dedicated Scholarship Award Amounts: Varies
Dedicated Scholarships Available: Varies

Dedicated Scholarships:

  • Athletes Abroad Scholarship

For student-athletes (club, intramural, or varsity) participating in any program or subject that confers credits toward degree completion.

  • Hiliary Echo Douglas Memorial Scholarship

Awarded to one student each year planning to study abroad in Vietnam or within other Southeast Asian cultures.

  • Jane Gluckmann & Carol Rausch Go Global Scholarship

Awarded to one student each year planning to study abroad in Mexico, Central America, South America, France, or Germany.

  • Rainbow Scholarship

Awarded to a deserving LGBTQI student who aims to participate in a high-quality, rigorous education abroad program.

  • STA Travel Start the Adventure Scholarship

Two FEA/STA Travel Start the Adventure Scholarships ($2,500 each) will be awarded to applicants studying during the summer term.

Global Studies Foundation Grant for Student Travel and Study Abroad

Application Deadline: July 1

Eligibility Criteria:

  • U.S. citizen
  • Full-time enrollment in accredited secondary or post-secondary institution
  • Selectees expected to share experience upon return and acknowledge GSF support

Selection Criteria:

  • Academic performance
  • Program merit
  • Outreach potential


LIVFund Scholarship

Award Amount: $500
Awards Available: Two (2) awarded per month
Application Deadline: Rolling, minimum six (6) months prior to travel

Recipients must study, intern, and/or volunteer in any one of 21 Latin American countries: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Recipients must commit to posting three (3) entries to the LIVFund blog.

American Association of Teachers of Japanese (AATJ) Bridging Scholarships for Study Abroad in Japan

Awards Available: 100
Award Amounts:
Semester: $2,500
Academic Year: $4,000

Application Deadlines:
Fall or Academic Year: April 8
Spring: October 8

Eligibility Criteria:

  • U.S. citizen
  • Undergraduate enrolled in U.S. college/university
  • Minimum one (1) semester program duration
  • No language prerequisite


Japanese Government Scholarships

Since 1954, the Government of Japan has been offering scholarships to foreign nationals from various countries around the world to study in Japan. The Japanese Government offers the following scholarships annually to U.S. citizens living in Washington, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Alaska through the Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle.

Undergraduate Student Scholarship
Four to seven year scholarship is available to high school graduates for attending a Japanese university as an undergraduate student. Includes a one-year Japanese language program at a Japanese language school prior to attending a Japanese university as an undergraduate student. Recipients will receive bachelor’s degree in Japan. Applicants must be between 17 to 21 years of age.

Specialized Training College Student Scholarship
This scholarship covers a three-year period of vocational study program in the following areas: civil engineering, architecture, electrical engineering, electronics, telecommunication, nutrition, infant education, secretarial studies, hotel management, tourism, fashion, dress making, design, photography and other fields of study. Includes a one-year Japanese language program at a Japanese language school prior to attending Professional Training College. Available to high school graduates who are between 17 to 21 years of age.

Japanese Studies Student Scholarship
This program offers students a one-year intensive course of the Japanese language and introduction to Japanese studies. Available to undergraduate students who are currently majoring or minoring in Japan-related studies at a 4-year university. Applicants need to be 18 to 29 years of age.

Research Student Scholarship
Covers a one-and-a-half year to two-year period of graduate research at Japanese universities. The study area must be in the same field as the applicant studied or is now studying, or a related one. Recipients may enter Master's or Ph.D. program after passing the entrance examination given by the university concerned. Includes a half-year of Japanese language training for those who need Japanese language training. Applicants need to be less than 35 years of age and must be university graduates.


Morgan Stanley Scholarships for Study in Japan

Morgan Stanley Scholarships are awarded as supplements to the AATJ Bridging Scholarship, and students must meet that scholarship’s eligibility criteria and follow its application processes. An additional step may be required for students applying for the Morgan Stanley Scholarship.

Awards Available: Two (2)
Award Amounts: $7,500
Application Deadlines: See Bridging Scholarship (above)


Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst/German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

DAAD offers a number of scholarship and program options for undergraduate and graduate students interested in study, internships, and/or research in Germany.


Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Grants

Award Amount: $1,000
Awards Available per Year: 50
Application Deadline:

  • Session A (May 1 – November 30): February 15
  • Session B (December 1 – May 31): September 15

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Individual membership not required
  • Attend an institution with an active Phi Kappa Phi scholarship
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.75
  • Applied to and/or accepted into an education abroad program


British Universities Transatlantic Exchange Association (BUTEX) Scholarship

Award Amount: £500
Application Deadline: June 15

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Undergraduate
  • U.S. or Canadian citizen
  • Studying at a BUTEX-affiliated university
    • BUTEX-affiliated CWU partners:
      • Edinburgh Napier University
      • The University of Hull
  • Studying for a minimum of one (1) semester
  • Summer programs are ineligible


Foundation for Global Scholars (FGS)

FGS offers seven (7) different types of scholarships with varying award amounts and eligibility criteria. In addition to the General Scholarship, targeted scholarships include the STA Travel Scholarship, Financial Need Scholarship, STEM Scholarship, Ethnically Diverse Student Scholarship, and the Veterans Scholarship. Consult the FGS website for specific criteria and application procedures.

Application Windows:
Spring or Summer (April 1 – August 15): Late February through early April
Fall (August 16 – December 31): Early June through mid-July
Winter (January 1 – June 30): Early October through mid-November

General Eligibility Criteria:

  • U.S. citizen
  • Enrolled in U.S. undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree program
  • Minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA
  • Studying abroad for a minimum of four (4) weeks/28 days


Seattle-Nantes Sister City Association

Seattle-Nantes Sister City Association offers three of scholarships to Washington State residents who plan to study in Washington or in Nantes. There is a limit of one scholarship per person, so please only apply to the scholarship that best represents your qualifications.


The deadline for submitting the application is April 15, 2018.


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Third-Party Provider Scholarships

Many third-party providers, including those with which CWU has concluded affiliation agreements, offer various scholarships for students participating in their programs.

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Online Scholarship Databases

The following websites have searchable databases of scholarships and other funding sources for education abroad programs.

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529 College Savings Plan (Parents/Guardians)

A 529 College Savings Plan allows for tax-free accumulation of assets and federal tax-free withdrawals for qualified higher education expenses, including approved study abroad programs and for over 480 international institutions (should direct-enrollment be considered). For more information, consult a financial advisor and/or the Department of Education's Federal Student Aid Information Center [1-800-4-FEDAID (1-800-433-3243)].

The Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) is Washington State’s 529 Plan. SAEP can work with students and program providers to facilitate the use of these funds.

See also:

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Crowd-Source Funding

Crowd sourcing very quickly has become a popular way of funding a variety of projects and ideas, and many websites have sprung up to facilitate this. Below is a list of several such websites that students might use to raise funds for education abroad. Always be careful to read the terms and conditions. Some sites may take a flat fee; others may take a percentage of donations. Some sites may be “all-or-nothing”, meaning the project only receives money if the stated goal is met and receives nothing if donations fall short.

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More Resources

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Funded International Degree and Research Programs

Cecil J. Rhodes Scholarships

The oldest and most celebrated international fellowship awards in the world. Each year, 32 Americans are selected as Rhodes Scholars to study up to two (2) years at and earn a graduate degree from Oxford University in England.


Fulbright U.S. Student Program

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants for individually designed study/research projects or for English Teaching Assistantships. A candidate will submit a Statement of Grant Purpose defining activities to take place during one (1) academic year in a participating country outside the U.S. Applicants must be U.S. citizens at the time of application and have a conferred bachelor's degree or the equivalent before the start of the grant. In the creative and performing arts, four (4) years of professional training and/or experience meets the basic eligibility requirement. Grant lengths and dates vary by country. Please consult the specific country summary for details.

Fulbright Program Adviser:


IREX Short-Term Travel Grants Program
The Short-Term Travel Grants Program (STG) supports postdoctoral scholars and professionals to conduct independent or collaborative research in Eastern Europe and Eurasia.


IREX Individual Advanced Research Opportunities Program

The Individual Advanced Research Opportunities Program (IARO) provides scholars and professionals with long-term support to perform policy-relevant field research in the countries of Eastern Europe and Eurasia.


Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung/Foundation

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation offers several programs for funding postdoctoral scientific and scholarly research in Germany.


Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission Scholarships

Marshall Scholarships finance young Americans of high ability to study for a degree in the United Kingdom. Up to 40 Scholars are selected each year to study at graduate level at an UK institution in any field of study.


Marshall Sherfield Fellowship

Fellowships enable U.S. scientists or engineers to undertake post-doctoral research for a period of one (1) to two (2) academic years at a British university or research institute.


Mitchell Scholarship Program

Up to 12 Mitchell Scholars between the ages of 18 and 30 are chosen annually for one (1) year of postgraduate study in any discipline offered by institutions of higher learning in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

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