The Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship is a nationally competitive grant program funded by the U.S. Department of State to support Pell Grant recipients who choose to study or intern abroad. Students can receive up to $5,000 if awarded the Gilman for a study abroad program. Students studying a critical need language while abroad can be awarded up to an additional $3,000 (total of up to $8,000). If you receive the Pell Grant, consider applying!
Tips for a Successful Application
To be eligible for the Gilman Scholarship, students must be:
- A U.S. citizen
- An undergraduate in good academic and judicial standing
- Receiving the Federal Pell Grant
- In the process of applying to, or accepted for, a credit-bearing study abroad or internship program, or a virtual international program. Virtual programs/internships will be eligible until Summer 2022.
- Studying abroad in a country or area with an overall Travel Advisory Level 1 or 2, according to the U.S. Department of State’s Travel Advisory System
This scholarship is intended for children or dependents of active duty military members who receive any type of Title IV federal financial aid. It provides students with a $5,000 award if selected for a credit-bearing study abroad program. The application is identical to the Gilman scholarship. So far, Gilman-McCain scholarships have been reviewed on a rolling basis.
The goal of this scholarship is to provide students who are traditionally underrepresented in study abroad the financial means to access education abroad opportunities. Typically one in four students (25%) who apply are awarded the Gilman scholarship. Scholarship applications are reviewed holistically considering the following elements:
- Academic preparedness and impact on student’s academic and career trajectory
- Diversity of background and experience
- Choice of program and destination
- Community impact
- Commitment to proficiency in critical need languages (if applying to the Critical Need Language Scholarship)
It is important for applicants to address these criteria in their essays to set themselves apart and ensure a competitive scholarship application.
Read more about the Gilman’s Selection Criteria on their website.
Timelines and Deadlines
There are two application cycles per year for the Gilman. These cycles allow students to apply to the Gilman Scholarship a year in advance of their study abroad program. Students who are not selected for the scholarship in the one cycle may apply again in the next cycle, as long as their study abroad term in still accommodated.
Cycle 1 will open in mid-August for applicants whose programs have a start date between December 1 (of that same year) to October 31 (of the next year). For example: December 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023.
If an applicant is not selected for Cycle 1, they may re-apply for the next cycle as long as they continue to meet the eligibility requirements and their program falls within the start dates.
Cycle 2 will open in mid-January for applicants whose programs have a start date between May 1 (of the same year) to April 30 (of the next year). For example: May 1, 2023 to April 30, 2024.
If an applicant is not selected for Cycle 2, they may re-apply for the next cycle as long as they continue to meet the eligibility requirements and their program falls within the start dates.
Starting Your Application
Before you apply for the Gilman Scholarship, we recommend you meet with a Programs Abroad Coordinator to discuss your program options, costs, or any identity-related accommodation concerns you may have.
Once you have selected your preferred study or intern abroad program, and want to move forward with applying to the Gilman Program, you should create an account on the Gilman website and begin the online application.
Steps to Complete the Gilman Program Application
1. Upload your transcript(s) – either official or unofficial:
- Current university transcript
- Previous institution transcript(s)
2. Write and submit the required essays:
The Statement of Purpose essay acts as a personal interview of sorts. You need to be specific in describing your reasons for studying abroad, keeping in mind that this is a scholarship for academic study abroad and credit-bearing internship experiences. Make sure you address all of the following questions, within the maximum 7,000 character limit:
- How will studying or interning abroad help you achieve your future academic or professional goals?
- Think short- and long-term
- Why did you select your specific program and host country?
- What factors played into your decision?
- What aspects of studying or interning abroad do you expect to be the most challenging?
- What knowledge, skills, and experience will you draw on to meet these challenges?
The Community Impact essay is an equally important factor in your scholarship application. All Gilman Scholars must complete a Follow-On Service Project to increase awareness of study abroad and the Gilman Scholarship Program among people in their home communities and campuses. In this essay, you will ned to make a case as to how you will serve as an effective citizen diplomat abroad and provide a detailed plan for your follow-on service project. In this essay you must answer the following within the 6,000 maximum character limit.
- When you are overseas, how will you contribute to the mission of building a mutual understanding between the people of your host and home communities?
- Summarize your Follow-On Service Project Proposal (in paragraph format) by addressing all of the following, in no particular order:
- What are your project goals?
- Who is your target population/audience and why did you select them?
- How will you integrate the impact of your experience abroad into your project?
- What, if any, campus departments, student organizations, or community organizations will you collaborate with in bringing awareness to study abroad and the Gilman Program?
Having trouble thinking of a project idea? Visit the Gilman website for examples.
3. Input your program details:
- Host institution/affiliate provider
- Costs, etc.
4. Select your certifying advisors (doesn’t matter whom):
- Study Abroad Advisor
- Financial Aid Advisor
5. Submit your application by the deadline!
Once you submit your application, whomever you selected as your certifying advisors will have an additional week (until the 2nd Tuesday of October/March) to certify your application. They will verify the following information:
- Your program details
- Your financial aid status as a Pell Grant recipient
- You financial aid package
Once you submit your application, there is no need for you to follow-up with your certifying advisors. They will make sure to complete their certification before their deadline.
Tips for a Successful Application
- Dedicate time to your scholarship application. Don’t wait until the last minute to start on your essays. A well-polished Gilman application takes time to draft, edit, review, and finalize.
- Work with your advisors. Your Programs Abroad Coordinator can help you understand your study abroad program to best talk about it in your essays. They also have helpful insight on what it takes for a successful Gilman application. Do not hesitate to take your questions to your Programs Abroad Coordinator.
- Hook the reader. Gilman Scholarship reviewers read many essays from students who are studying abroad. Highlight why you are unique in your essays. Catch the readers attention from the very beginning with an interesting brief anecdote, quote, or fact about you. Your essays should persuade the reader that you are deserving of the scholarship. Make sure that you are thoroughly answering the essay questions and emphasizing the right things in your writing. Be creative
- Revise your essays and have them proofread. Create multiple drafts of your essays and have someone look over them. Check for spelling and grammar and make sure all questions that are asked are addressed in your essays.
- Use your resources. Attend PAO info sessions or essay workshops. Take your essays to the Writing Center or the Undergraduate Research and Fellowships for essay review. Check out the tips on the Gilman website. You already have access to many resources that can help make your application more competitive.
Seeking help with your Gilman application? Join the UT Gilman Advisors in on a number of informational sessions and essay review sessions prior to submitting your application.
Gilman Application Advising Opportunities:
Annastasia Williams, CIEE Representative and partner of the Programs Abroad Office, will be hosting virtual Gilman Advising sessions. These sessions are a great opportunity to explore options to study abroad and the financial aid resources available to you.
For general information about the Gilman Scholarship, speak to one of our friendly Peer Advisors anytime Monday-Friday, 12-5pm in the Vols Abroad Lounge. Additional information will be provided at a later time about opportunities for Gilman walk-in advising.
This is your chance to meet one-on-one and receive feedback regarding your essays before submitting your application. It may take up to 3 days for a Gilman Advisor to review your essays so make sure you are planning accordingly. To submit your essays for review, and/or request an appointment with a Gilman Advisor, please fill out the form below.
Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Essay Review Submission
Please complete this form to submit your Gilman essays for review. Please allow up to 3 business days for feedback or follow-up. If you indicate that you would like to set up an appointment, a Gilman advisor will reach out to you via email to set up a time.
Please note that the advice provided on this page is offered as a resource and will not guarantee a Gilman scholarship. The acceptance rate for this award is about 1 in 4 students. See the official Gilman website for the most up-to-date information.Start An Application