Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I apply for a Fulbright Scholarship?
Follow the instructions in the PDF which will open in a new window after clicking the “APPLY NOW” button for the relevant category. This link will be made available only on 1 May 2016 when applications open. IMPORTANT: Please ensure you use this PDF each time you access the application portal as different categories have different online application forms.
How does my application for a Fulbright Scholarship have to be submitted?
All applications must be submitted online through the Embark online application system, per the instructions above. Applications sent directly to the Commission will not be considered.
Can you return my original supporting documentation contained in my application?
No. Original documents should not be included in the application, only certified copies which have been scanned and uploaded into the Embark system will be accepted.
What are the opening and closing dates for applications?
Applications for all scholarship categories should be submitted between 1 May and 1 August, 2016 (11:59pm AEST). Under no circumstances will any late applications be accepted. Please note that even though you may still be able to access the Embark system to upload documents, these will not be accepted after the closing date.
Will copies of the required documentation supporting my application be sufficient?
Only certified copies will be accepted. Academic transcripts, birth certificates etc. must be certified by a Justice of the Peace. Please refer to the application PDF located on this website.
Who should I ask to provide a Referee Report?
Three referee reports are required. You should ask people who will best support your application and who can objectively assess your ability to successfully undertake a program of research or study in the U.S. and your potential to make a contribution to the U.S. and Australia. Where possible your referees should include your academic supervisor/s, colleagues and key contacts who can provide relevant information on your personal and professional attributes. You are encouraged to use a mix of referees and not all from the same school or faculty.
What is the closing date for Referee Reports?
- All Referees’ Reports MUST be submitted between 1 May and 1 August 2016 (11:59pm AEST). It is the applicant’s responsibility to see that Referee Reports are submitted to the appropriate address before the closing date.
- Applicants are at a distinct disadvantage if all three referee reports are not submitted.
- If only one, or no referee reports are submitted then your application will be considered ineligible and will be removed from assessment.
- Referee reports will NOT be accepted after the closing date.
- You are asked to nominate your referee and provide an email address on the application form. The referee will be sent an online form to complete and the reference will be attached to your application.
How do Referees submit their reports?
- You will be given specific instructions on how to obtain the report template and submit referee reports in the application pdf document under “APPLY NOW.”
- You will not be able to view your references as Referee Reports are strictly confidential.
Can I defer my scholarship until next year?
No. Scholarships must be taken up during the year for which the scholarship is awarded, commencing July at the earliest.
How can I make my application more successful?
There is no “formula” for a successful application. Each individual’s application should be about the candidate, how the program time will be spent, and what outcomes can be reasonably expected. What is successful for one applicant may not be effective for another applicant.
Will the Fulbright Commission staff review my application before submitting?
Please do not ask Fulbright Staff, or Fulbright Selection Committee Members, or Fulbright State Secretaries to review your actual written application. This is in keeping with Fulbright Policy of not providing feedback, and furthermore it ensures equity to all applicants.
Can you tell me why I was not selected?
No. As with all Fulbright awards, applications under this initiative are evaluated by panels in accordance with normal Fulbright standards that are competitive, merit-based, open and transparent, including by the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as sponsoring agency of the worldwide Fulbright Program, and by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FSB) for final approval and selection of candidates. This program is administered in accordance with all relevant FSB Policies.
The policy on selection and non-selection stipulates, “It is the policy of the Board not to give to individual applicants, to others inquiring on their behalf, or to the public generally, the specific reasons for selection or non-selection of applicants for awards under the program.” (From the “Policy Statements of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board,” Sec. 145.)”.
The Australian-American Fulbright Commission follows the policy of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Reasons for non-recommendation of candidates will not be provided, including feedback on individual applications.
Additionally, each year the number of well qualified applicants greatly outnumbers the scholarships available. Practically speaking, it is impossible to explain specifically why a candidate is not selected, since each applicant is judged by the members of the Selection Committees in relation to all the other candidates who have applied in a given year’s competition, and relative judgments must be made given the facts at hand.
I don’t have a first class honours degree, is it worth while applying?
Generally, to be competitive for a Fulbright Postgraduate scholarship you will need to have a first class honours degree or high second class honours degree, however, applicants who have gone on to excel in their chosen field will be considered. In some academic disciplines honours is not a typical pathway. In these circumstances you will need to show an equivalent level of professional attainment.
Do I have to attend an interview?
Yes. All candidates who are applying for Fulbright Scholarships must be available for an interview. More details on dates / locations (including whether you will need to undertake your interview via skype) will be available on the timeline closer to the close of applications.
Can I apply in more than one Fulbright Scholarship category?
Yes. Applicants should follow the instructions in the relevant application instructions pdf document to apply for multiple scholarship opportunities.
Are those with dual Australian/US citizenship eligible for a scholarship?
No. The United States Government recognises U.S. citizenship first and foremost and as such the applicant would not be a foreign exchange visitor.
If I’m not an Australian citizen but I am a permanent resident, am I eligible for a scholarship?
No. Applicants for Australian Fulbright Scholarships must be Australian citizens by birth or naturalisation. Other nationals may be able to apply for Fulbright scholarships from their home country. See the U.S. Department of State’s Home Page for further information.
I am a Green Card holder. Am I eligible to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship?
No. The Fulbright program is, at its heart, an exchange program. As such, those who already have the opportunity to experience living and studying in the U.S. by other means are not eligible.
If I am an Australian citizen but I’m living abroad, am I eligible for an Australian Fulbright scholarship?
- No. It is a requirement of Australian Fulbright scholarships that applicants be resident in Australia at the time of application and that they be available for an interview. The only exceptions to this rule are for men and women serving overseas in the Armed Forces, or for Australian diplomats posted overseas.
- All Scholars must be available to attend Fulbright functions in Australia including the Fulbright Presentation Dinner and Orientation Program held annually in March and State Receptions in April and May prior to their departure to the U.S.
I have extensive experience of the U.S. already – will that make a difference in selection of applicants?
If two candidates are of equal standing then preference should be given to applicants who have not had recent extensive U.S. experience.
I have never lived or studied abroad. Will that disadvantage me?
No. Preference may be given to those who have not had recent extensive experience abroad i.e. undertaken study, teaching, research or employment for a period aggregating more than one academic year during the past five years.
Is there an age limit to people applying for Fulbright Scholarships?
No – As long as the medical can be passed for your J-1 Visa.
Are applicants who are unsuccessful in their application for a Fulbright Scholarship precluded from applying in the future?
No. Previously unsuccessful applicants are not precluded from applying, indeed they are strongly encouraged to re-apply the following year.
Does affiliation with a U.S. institution have to be confirmed at the time of application?
No. Affiliation with a U.S. institution does not have to be confirmed at the time of application but there should be a clear indication of which institution(s) you would prefer to attend/visit and why. Any communication you have had with the institution(s) should be attached to your application. This can include copies of email communication and/or a host letter of support, which is highly valued during the application review process.
Can I commence my Fulbright program prior to 1 July of the year the scholarship is awarded?
No. This is because of the visa type on which scholars must travel and the time required to obtain it.
Can I arrange for the Fulbright Scholarship to fund the second year of my U.S. program?
No. Funding is for the first year of your studies/research only.
I have already started my program of study. Can I apply for a Fulbright scholarship?
No. Applicants who have already commenced studies/research in the U.S. are ineligible for a scholarship.
I have been awarded another grant(s) to undertake study/research in the United States, am I eligible for a Fulbright scholarship?
Recipients of other grants cannot hold a Fulbright Scholarship and another scholarship at the same time. Secondary scholarships that are for tuition fees only may be considered by the Commission on a case by case basis. It should be noted that current recipients of the General Sir John Monash Awards, Endeavour Award, and other similar scholarships are ineligible to receive a Fulbright Scholarship.
I have an APA (Australian Postgraduate Award) – am I eligible to apply?
Yes, however you will need to temporarily suspend your APA whilst in the U.S. as you cannot receive both at the same time. Talk to your university about how to go about this.
Can I do a full degree program in the U.S.?
Yes – at the postgraduate level you can apply to do either a full degree program (usually a Master’s) or research at an institution as a visiting student researcher. In either case funds will only cover an 8-10 month program. If you are looking to pursue a 2 or more year degree you will need to be able to demonstrate sufficient funds to cover your studies after the Fulbright funding finishes, in order to secure a visa.
I already have a Master’s degree. Does this prevent me from applying to undertake a second Master’s degree on a Fulbright scholarship?
No – if you already have a Master’s degree you are welcome to apply for a Fulbright to undertake another Master’s degree in the U.S., however you will need to demonstrate the ‘value-add’ in undertaking a second degree program at the same level, and your application may not be as competitive as a candidate who has not already had the opportunity to undertake study at this level.
Does the Fulbright Scholarship cover tuition fees?
No – The Fulbright Scholarship is a stipend based scholarship providing a travel allowance and a stipend (with the exception of the Fulbright-Anne Wexler Scholarship in Public Policy, which does provide some funding for tuition.)
Must I have an undergraduate degree to be eligible for a Fulbright scholarship?
Yes – or a tertiary equivalent qualification.
I have submitted my PhD thesis and it has been accepted but not yet conferred, am I eligible for the Postdoctoral Scholarship?
Yes, however please note the results of your thesis examination will be required prior to the Postdoctoral Selection Committee meeting in September. Evidence of thesis having been accepted with no major changes required should be sent through prior to interview (at the very latest) if not available at time of submisson. This can be a formal signed letter from your Dean or Head of School notifying us that your thesis has passed. Please note that a Postdoctoral Scholarship cannot be awarded where evidence of successful completion of a PhD is not forthcoming.
Is preference given to applicants from specific academic fields?
No. Fulbright Scholarships are open to applicants from any academic field.
How do I apply for admission to a U.S. university to undertake a master’s degree?
Please see the links at: http://usembassy-australia.state.gov/education for details about how to apply for admission to an American university. Also the link www.educationusa.info/Australia may be useful. Please note, you do not need to be enrolled in a U.S. degree program before applying for a Fulbright scholarship – indeed successful applicants are eligible for assistance through placement services at the Postgraduate level.
Can you have more than one host institution?
You need to identify a single host institution. It is preferable to have one main centre for your project, however, you can visit other institutions while in the U.S.
Are medical graduates eligible for a Fulbright Scholarship?
Medical graduates are eligible for a Fulbright scholarship if, and only if, they can assure authorities in the United States that there will be no clinical contact or undertaking of clinical practice, or invasive procedures with patients. Medical graduates must be able to travel on a J-1 research visa to qualify for a Fulbright Scholarship. Please see http://www.ecfmg.org/ for more information. Graduates of all health sciences are considered medical graduates.
Do I need to pass a medical examination to qualify for a Fulbright Scholarship?
Yes. You will need to pass a medical examination and you may be asked to provide information about your medical history, certification of good health, and vaccinations. You may also be asked to undertake a chest x-ray if required
Does the Fulbright Scholarship have health insurance that will cover me if I become ill or injured while in the U.S.?
The United States Department of State provides Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE) coverage during your grant period at no cost to you.
This plan should not be construed as an insurance policy. The ASPE is a self-funded health benefits plan designed to pay covered medical expenses for eligible Exchange Participants. Covered medical expenses are subject to limitations as defined in the health benefits plan program guide book.
Will this health benefits plan cover me for existing medical complaints?
No. It is important to note that pre-existing conditions are not covered. You are advised to have any treatments completed before leaving home and it is strongly recommended that you take out additional cover.
I notice that some scholarships have a dependent allowance. I am in a defacto relationship. Does my partner qualify for the dependent allowance?
Yes. Your partner will be able to claim the dependent allowance if you live in a defacto relationship. In order to claim this allowance you must execute an affidavit attesting to the relationship, and your partner must accompany you for 80% of your program. In order to claim this allowance you must execute an affidavit attesting to the relationship. Please note that de-facto partners are statutorily ineligible for the J-2 Visa and will need to consult the U.S. Embassy for visa advice.
I am in a same-sex relationship. Does my partner qualify for the dependent allowance?
- Yes. Your partner does qualify for the dependent allowance. In order to claim this allowance you must execute an affidavit attesting to the relationship, and your partner must accompany you for 80% of your program.You will need to consult the U.S. Embassy in order to determine which is the best visa for your partner.
I completed my PhD more than 5 years ago – am I eligible for the postdoctoral scholarship?
No – recipients must have successfully completed their PhD within the last 2-3 years (5 under extenuating circumstances, such as hiatus due to medical reasons, or family duties)
Must I return to Australia at the completion of my Fulbright program?
Yes. Fulbright Scholars must travel on a J-1 visa sponsored specifically by the Fulbright Commission. You and your dependents are subject to Code of Federal Regulations rule 212(e), the two-year, home country residence requirement associated with the J visa. This is intended to ensure that Scholars fulfil the exchange nature of the program. During the two-year, home country residence requirement, you and your dependents are ineligible to apply for status in the United States as:
- Permanent residents,
- Temporary workers or trainees (visa status H),
- Fiancé(e)s (visa status K), or
- Intracompany transferees (visa status L).
The two years commences from the date of return to Australia. No waivers will be forthcoming.