Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – US Applicants

How do I apply for a Fulbright Scholarship?

Follow the “APPLY NOW” button for the relevant category to the IIE (Postgraduates) or CIES (Postdoctoral, Senior and Distinguished Chair) websites.

How does my application for a Fulbright Scholarship have to be submitted?

All applications must be submitted online through the online application system, per the instructions above. Applications sent directly to the Commission will not be considered.

What are the opening and closing dates for applications?

Applications for Postdoctoral, Senior and Distinguished Chair scholarship categories should be submitted between February 1st and 1 August (5pm EST). Applications for Postgraduate Scholarships should be submitted between 31 March and 6 October (5pm ET). Under no circumstances can 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.

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 Australia and your potential to make a contribution to the binational relationship. 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.

When can I commence my Fulbright program in Australia?

Scholars must take up their scholarship starting February of the year following announcement of their selection, i.e. scholars generally find out they have been selected in March / April of a given year, however commence their program in February of the following year. Exceptions may be made for postgraduate students on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Australian-American Fulbright Commission.

All scholars must be available to attend Fulbright functions in Australia, including the Fulbright Presentation Dinner and Orientation Program held annually in February/March.

Can I defer my scholarship?

No. You must take up your scholarship within the specified time frame.

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 and the pool changes every year.

Will the Fulbright Commission staff review my application before submitting?

No. 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 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.” (“Policy Statements of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board,” Sec. 145.)”.

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.

Do I have to attend an interview?

Yes. All candidates who are applying for Fulbright Scholarships must be available to undertake an interview with the Australian-American Fulbright Commission via Skype. Interview dates vary and applicants will be contacted directly if shortlisted for interview.

Are those with dual Australian/US citizenship eligible for a scholarship?

No. Fulbright Scholarships are intended to provide U.S. citizens an opportunity for an educational and cultural exchange that would otherwise not be possible. Dual citizens are therefore ineligible.

If I’m not a U.S. citizen, am I eligible for a scholarship to Australia?

No. Applicants for Australian Fulbright Scholarships must be U.S. citizens by birth or naturalisation. The Fulbright Scholarship program is characterised by its bi-lateral exchange nature, in line with Senator Fulbright’s vision of knowledge transfer between the U.S. and other countries. Citizens of other countries should visit the U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs website to find out whether their country currently has a Fulbright agreement with the U.S. Government, however citizens of other countries cannot undertake a Fulbright program in Australia.

If I am a U.S. 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 the U.S. 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 U.S. diplomats posted overseas.

I have extensive experience of Australia 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 Australian experience.

I have never lived or studied abroad. Will that disadvantage me?

No. Preference will 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. Fulbright does not discriminate on the basis of age.

Are applicants who are unsuccessful in their application for a Fulbright Scholarship precluded from making applications in the future?

No. Previously unsuccessful applicants are not precluded from applying, indeed they are strongly encouraged to re-apply.

Can I arrange for the Fulbright Scholarship to fund the second year of my Australian program?

No. Funding is only provided for the stipulated length of time.

I have already started my program of study. Can I apply for a Fulbright scholarship?

No. Applicants who have already commenced studies/research in Australia are ineligible for a scholarship.

Can I continue to receive my salary whilst on a Fulbright Scholarship?

Yes, you may continue to receive a salary from your home institution whilst on a Fulbright.

Can I undertake any paid work whilst on a Fulbright Scholarship, such as teaching?

No. Whilst the Australian-American Fulbright Commission encourages engagement and collaboration with your host institution and you can give workshops or short seminars, you should not teach intensive seminars or coursework, and it is a condition of the Fulbright Scholarship as well as visa regulations that you must not undertake paid employment.

I have been awarded another grant(s) to undertake study/research in Australia, am I eligible for a Fulbright scholarship?

Recipients of other grants cannot hold a Fulbright Scholarship and another scholarship at the same time. Secondary (smaller) scholarships that are for tuition fees only may be considered by the Commission on a case by case basis.

Does the Fulbright Scholarship cover tuition fees?

No. with the exception of the Fulbright-Anne Wexler Scholarship in Public Policy. The Fulbright Scholarship is a stipend based scholarship providing a travel allowance and a stipend. It is important to identify and negotiate a host institution that will best support your learning and research needs. It is also important to have a host letter to support your application detailing what support will be provided while you are a Fulbright Scholar at their institution (with the exception of postgraduate students).

Must I have an undergraduate degree to be eligible for a Fulbright scholarship?

Yes. Or a tertiary equivalent qualification.

Is preference given to applicants from specific academic fields?

No. Fulbright Scholarships are open to applicants from any academic field.

Does affiliation with an Australian institution have to be confirmed at the time of application?

No. Affiliation with an Australian 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 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 Australia.

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 Australia that there will be no clinical contact or undertaking of clinical practice, or invasive procedures with patients.

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 Australia?

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. ASPE is a self-funded health benefits plan designed to pay covered medical expenses for eligible exchange participants.

The Australian Government will also provide you access to Medicare (scholar only).

Will this health insurance cover me for existing medical conditions?

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 de-facto 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 de-facto 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.

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.

Must I return to the U.S. at the completion of my Fulbright program?

Yes. It is a condition of accepting funding from the Australian-American Fulbright Commission that you return to the U.S. to share your knowledge at the completion of your Fulbright Scholarship.

The J-1 visa that is used to bring foreign Fulbrighters to the U.S. for study/research has a two-year home residence requirement. Although the reciprocal Australian 403 visa does not have the same regulatory requirement, there is an over-arching Fulbright “return home” policy that affects all Fulbright grantees worldwide. The Fulbright Program is an exchange program between the U.S. and our partner countries abroad. The most important component of the Fulbright Program is the impact of the experience on the participant, on the host institution and community abroad, and on the participant’s home institution and community back here in the U.S. When Fulbright grantees do not return home to share their experiences, the benefit/impact of the exchange are not as strong. Additionally, those reviewing applications consider the impact of the exchange as a review criteria, and successful applicants generally do a sincere job of addressing the “follow on” impact of the Fulbright experience.