NSEP Boren Undergraduate Scholarship


The National Security Education Program (NSEP) Boren Undergraduate Scholarship was designed to provide U.S. undergraduates with the resources and encouragement they need to acquire skills and experience in countries and areas of the world critical to the future security of our nation. As a student of another culture and language, you will begin to acquire the international competence you need to communicate effectively across borders, understand other perspectives and analyze increasingly fluid economic and political realities.

The Boren Scholarship is especially designed to support students who will make a commitment to federal service. NSEP was established by the National Security Education Act of 1991, which created the National Security Education Board, the National Security Education Program, and a trust fund in the U.S. Treasury to provide resources for scholarships, fellowships and grants.

It is guided by a mission that seeks to lead in development of the national capacity to educate U.S. citizens, understand foreign cultures, strengthen U.S. economic competitiveness, and enhance international cooperation and security. The National Security Education Act of 1991 was authored by Senator David L. Boren from Oklahoma. Senator Boren is a strong supporter of international education, and is now President of the University of Oklahoma.


As a U.S. undergraduate student, you are eligible to apply for an NSEP Boren scholarship if you are:

  • A U.S. citizen at the time of application.
  • A high school graduate, or have earned a GED, and are matriculated as a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior in a U.S. post-secondary institution, including universities, colleges, and community colleges accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Applying to engage in a study abroad experience that meets home institution standards.
  • Planning to use the scholarship for study abroad and the study abroad program ends before you graduate. NSEP undergraduate scholarships are not for study in the United States.

Periods of Study

The 2017-2018 NSEP academic year covers study abroad during summer 2017, fall 2017, and/or spring 2018.

Special Exception

Students majoring in science, technology, engineering, and mathematical fields may apply for NSEP funding for summer study abroad.

Seniors may apply for NSEP assistance, provided they will not graduate from their home institution before or during the period of study abroad. For specific questions regarding periods of study, please call the IIE/NSEP office.


The amount of an NSEP scholarship award is merit-based, but financial need is often taken into consideration as well. The amount will vary from covering the full cost of participation in a proposed study abroad program to partial support. The maximum scholarship award for any one academic term in a study abroad program is about $10,000. For students participating in individually arranged programs, the amount of the award will be based on host country cost of living, tuition (if any), travel, books, settling-in, and appropriate insurance.

These costs will be determined by IIE/NSEP. At a maximum, a Boren undergraduate award is $8,000 for the summer, $10,000 for one semester, or $20,000 for an academic year. When you select your study abroad program, you should be realistic about your ability to fund part of your costs should you receive an award which does not cover full program expenses.

Federal Internship Awards: NSEP scholarship recipients are eligible to apply for a Federal Internship Award. This award provides support for recipients who wish to seek an unpaid federal internship. You will be eligible to apply for an internship award once you have completed your NSEP supported study abroad program.


Students should set up a meeting to discuss the program in more detail as early as possible.  Prospective applicants should also discuss their study abroad plans with their academic advisors and with the advisor in the Office of Study Abroad corresponding to their college or school.

Note: The mandatory GW deadline for applying to the NSEP Boren Scholarship Program was Monday, January 16, 2017. The national deadline was Thursday, February 9, 2017. We will post the deadlines for the 2017-2018 academic year as soon as they are released.

For more information, please visit the NSEP Boren Program website linked above and contact the Center for Undergraduate Fellowships and Research at fellcent@gwu.edu.