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Fulbright U.S. Student Program FAQ

About the Program

Who Can Apply?

Program Guidelines

The Application Process


About the Program

Q: What is the Fulbright U.S. Student Program?
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers fellowships for graduating college seniors, graduate students, young professionals, artists, writers, and musicians to study, conduct research, and/or teach English abroad. The purpose of the program is to increase mutual understanding between people of the US and people of other countries.

Q: How can I afford a Fulbright?
If you receive a Fulbright Fellowship, all of your travel and living expenses (room, board, and incidental costs) for one academic year will be paid by the Fulbright program. Some of the awards may also include book and research allowances, full or partial tuition, language study, and orientation costs. Please contact the Cornell Fulbright office for more details. Student loans can be deferred for the duration of the grant, and the fellowship entails no repayment obligation.

Q: Why a Fulbright?
The Fulbright program is unique in its focus on mutual understanding; while the program supports academic research, its purpose is to support your engagement with people from other parts and cultures. The program, because it is not dedicated to any particular discipline, offers each applicant extraordinary freedom to shape his or her own experience. The fellowship is also prestigious, and will bolster any application to graduate or professional school. Most graduate schools allow admission to be deferred during the Fulbright year.

Q: Is it appropriate for Fulbright Student Program participants to refer to themselves as “Fulbright scholars?” Do you have preferred terminology when referring to Fulbright participants?
Because the Fulbright Program is a scholarship program, any participant may refer to himself or herself as a "Fulbright scholar," even if that participant did not receive a Fulbright Scholar Program grant. "Fulbrighter," or a more specific grant category (e.g., "Fulbright U.S. Student," "Fulbright Visiting Scholar," "Fulbright U.S. teacher," etc.), is the preferred terminology. Fulbright Program participants may also be referred to as "Fulbright grantees" or "Fulbright fellows" regardless of program affiliation.

Q: What is it like being a Fulbrighter?
Each Fulbrighter's experience is unique! But that said, Fulbrighters describe their experiences as life changing. To learn more, visit the Fulbright Program YouTube channel and hear from past award winners.

Q: What is expected from me if I win a Fulbright?
In addition to carrying out your proposed project, you are expected to engage with the host community. Engagement can take many forms: participating in a sport club, teaching dance classes, participating in colleagial academic research, etc. Please contact your Fulbright Administrator for more details and examples. We encourage you to share your experiences when you return home, but there are no formal post-fellowship requirements.

Q: How many Fulbright grants are awarded annually?
Approximately 2000 U.S. Student awards are given each year.

Q: How can I learn more about Fulbright here at Cornell?
The Cornell Fulbright Office, located in the Einaudi Center, offers application guidance and assistance. If you have more questions, please contact us.


Who Can Apply?

Q: Do I need to be a U.S. Citizen?
You must be a U.S. citizen to apply. 

Q: I have already graduated. Am I still eligible?
Yes, you are eligible to apply for up to five years after graduation.

Q: Is there an age limit for applicants?
There is no age limit.

Q: What is the minimum GPA requirement for a Fulbright applicant?
A GPA of 3.0 or higher is required. However, some countries are more competitive than others. In general, GPA is not the deciding factor. Reviewers look for cogent and feasible projects, well-written proposals, and candidates who demonstrate in their proposals that they understand the purpose of Fulbright.

Q: Can alumni and study abroad students apply through Cornell?
Yes. Full support is offered. Please be in touch with the Cornell Fulbright Office for details.


Program Guidelines

Q: Are Fulbright grants only intended for the humanities and social sciences?
No. Applicants from all disciplines are encouraged to apply. Fulbright also offers focused grant programs as a subset of the U.S. Student Program. To learn more about these programs, read the individual country profiles on the Fulbright website

Q: Can I defer my Fulbright award?

Q: Which academic disciplines are applicable?
Applications in all fields of study are welcome, although individual country programs may give priority to particular disciplines. To learn more, explore the country profiles on the Fulbright website.

Q: Is there a language requirement?
Sometimes. Applicants must have sufficient proficiency in the written and spoken language of the host country to complete their projects. Refer to the country profile for more details concerning language requirements.


The Application Process

Q: Can I apply to more than one country in the same year?
No. You may apply to only one country each year. If you do not win, you may reapply and are competitive for up to five years after graduation.

Q: How do I get on a mailing list for this year’s application?
Write to  and request to be added to the mailing list. We recommend that you get on our mailing list even if you are not sure you want to apply for a Fulbright.

Q: I am a sophomore, can I get on a mailing list for the following application period?
Yes, we welcome you! Please email us and request to be added to the following years mailing list for Fulbright application. The BEST way to approach the Fulbright is to start thinking about it EARLY!

Q: How much time does it take to prepare a Fulbright application?
The application essays are not long (a maximum of three pages TOTAL), but they demand your best work. We recommend that you allow a minimum of 4-6 month’s preparation. Start early! The best way to begin is to contact the Cornell Fulbright Office!

Q: When should I begin the application process if I want to start the Fulbright program upon graduation?
If you plan to start your Fulbright program immediately following graduation, prepare your application in your junior year and submit at the beginning of your senior year.  

Q: Are there helpful websites and tutorials available?
Yes! Please explore the Fulbright website. Excellent tutorials can be there as well. 

Q: How should I begin my application?
Contact the Cornell Fulbright Program Office or visit the Fullbright website for applicantion information. The application cycle opens the first week of April each year.