Boren Undergraduate Scholarships

UI Deadline for undergraduate students: January 24, 2018

All currently-enrolled UI undergraduates applying for a Boren Scholarship must apply through Boren Campus Representative Karen Wachsmuth in International Programs. 

Please contact her for an initial appointment:  In addition, all applicants need to make an appointment to submit their final application materials in person and will be interviewed by the campus committee. 

Electronic and hard copy application materials must be submitted to Karen Wachsmuth, International Programs, 1111 University Capitol Centre (please see checklist below).

If you would like your essay drafts reviewed by Karen Wachsmuth, you must submit them to her on or before: Tuesday, January 10. Essays will be read on a first-come, first-served basis.

Upcoming Webinars

To access the webinars and for more upcoming sessions please visit:

About the Program

Boren Scholarships provide American undergraduate students with the resources and encouragement they need to acquire skills and experiences in areas of the world critical to the future security of our nation, in exchange for their commitment to seek work in the federal government. The Boren Scholarship Program provides up to $20,000 in funding for a full academic year and $10,000 for a semester. 

The program focuses on geographic areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security. It draws on a broad definition of national security, recognizing that the scope of national security has expanded to include not only the traditional concerns of protecting and promoting American well-being, but also the challenges of global society, including: sustainable development, environmental degradation, global disease and hunger, population growth and migration, and economic competitiveness. All applicants must demonstrate how their study programs and future goals are connected to this broad understanding of national security. 

Boren Scholarships promote long term linguistic and cultural immersion, and therefore study abroad proposals for two or more semesters are strongly encouraged. Preference will be given to undergraduate applicants proposing a full-year academic study.

For additional information, visit the Boren website or view the program's slideshow.


  • Applicants must be a citizen of the United States
  • Students must be a high school graduate or have earned a GED
  • Students must be enrolled in a college degree program
  • Applicants must apply to a study abroad program in a country outside of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.

Review Criteria

The selection committee is seeking well-written, complete proposals that:

  • propose study of less commonly taught languages in countries that are critical to our national security
  • propose a longer period of study - a full academic year rather than a semester
  • include serious language study
  • tie in your current academic plan, your study abroad program, and future career goals into one strong narrative
  • promote national security with the consideration of committing one year to the federal government
  • provide strong letters of reference

Application Component Checklist: Please see the Boren application instructions online for updated information. 

NEW 2017: All components of the application are to be submitted online by the UI campus deadline (at least 2 weeks prior to the national deadline).

  • Personal information
  • Foreign language experience
  • Study abroad experience
  • Proposed study abroad program
  • Estimated costs
  • 2 essays
  • 2-3 letters of reference
  • Official transcripts
  • Language self-assessment
  • Language proficiency form (optional)
  • Study abroad program description with cost information OR 2 letters of support for an individually-arranged study abroad program

Application Instructions

1. Contact your Boren campus representative, Karen Wachsmuth (

2. Meet with Study Abroad staff to determine which program(s) you will select.

3. Submit the Boren Scholarship application online, which includes the items listed below. Before starting the online application, remember to read the application instructions

4. You must submit electronic copies of the following supplementary materials and notify Karen Wachsmuth in International Programs that you have completed them:

  • Completed letters of reference.  Two letters are required, and you may include a third optional letter. Click here for advice about getting strong letters of reference
  • Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. Freshmen must also include high school transcripts. Transcripts are acceptable if they are official transcripts, student copies of official transcripts, or photocopies of official transcripts. If you are recommended for a Boren Scholarship, IIE will require original, sealed, and official transcripts at that time.
    Degree progress reports and web-based transcripts printed directly from your online student account are not acceptable.
  • Language self-assessment - Complete this form using the Language self-assessment guide
  • Language proficiency form (optional) - Complete this form using the Language Evaluation Guidelines
  • Choose one of the following:

    a. A one-page study abroad program description with cost information. (This may be a page from the program’s website or a photocopy of part of the program brochure.)

    b. If you set up direct enrollment or individually arranged study abroad program, please provide two letters of support. The first letter should be from your home institution and the second letter should be from your overseas host institution. 

​5. All components of the application should be submitted by the campus deadline: Wednesday, January 25, 4:30 p.m.

If you would like your essays reviewed by Karen Wachsmuth, you must submit them for review by: Tuesday, January 13. Essays will be read on a first-come, first-served basis.

For additional information please view our Boren application process Power Point.

Contact Information

Karen Wachsmuth
Associate Director, International Fellowships
International Programs
1111 University Capitol Centre