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 that is at least 3 weeks (21 days) in length. 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!
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 of at least three weeks (21 days)
- Your first official day in country is counted as day one. For example, if your program dates are from May 6-26th, your program is considered 21 days long.
- 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
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.
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, 2019 to April 30, 2020.
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, 2020 to April 30, 2021.
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.
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.
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.
Fall 2020 Dates Coming Soon!
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.