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Scholarships for Foreign Language Majors

Grants, Student Loans, & Fellowships

Whether it is Spanish, French, or German, obtaining a foreign language degree is an exciting experience, and costs a decent amount of money. Since this is becoming a popular major, and oftentimes involves studying abroad, educational institutions are offering a number of scholarships to help pay for college expenses. With a little research and perseverance, foreign language majors can add a variety of scholarships to their financial aid package.

Types of Scholarships for Foreign Language Majors

One of the most exciting aspects of majoring in a foreign language is the opportunity to broaden one’s understanding of other cultures and develop one’s language skills by studying abroad. In addition to the many departmental scholarships offered at colleges and universities nationwide, foreign language majors can also seek scholarships to help pay for studying abroad. Here are examples of a variety of scholarships offered:

College Scholarships

The Department of Foreign Languages at Eastern Illinois University offers several scholarships for foreign language majors. The Ruth Carman Scholarship and the Bobbie King Memorial Scholarship—these scholarships are awarded to foreign language majors in their junior or senior with an excellent academic record. Awards vary each year depending on funding availability. Awards typically range from $250 to $1,000. Dr. Luis F. Clay-Mendez Scholarship—this scholarship is awarded to Spanish majors pursuing a teaching certification. Applicants must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 and submit a written statement.

Western Michigan University offers a variety of scholarships for foreign language majors, including awards to study abroad as well as a number of departmental scholarships geared toward specific languages, including German, Spanish, French, and Russian.

  • The Mathilde Steckelberg Scholarship awards $600 to three foreign language students; one majoring in Classics, one majoring in French, and one studying in German.
  • Russian Club Award for Excellence in Russian awards $100 to a qualifying foreign language student majoring in Russian.
  • President’s Scholarship for Study Abroad—twelve foreign language students majoring in French, German, Japanese, Chinese, or Arabic, or declaring a minor in Russian are awarded this scholarship in the amount of $1,000 each.

San Jose State University offers a few scholarships for foreign language majors through the Department of Foreign Languages. The Esther Pereyra-Suarez Scholarship is awarded to French or Spanish majors in the amount of $1,000 for one year. Funds are disbursed in $500 increments over two semesters. Preference is given to students going for a graduate degree. The Carla and Mario Federici Scholarship are given to foreign language students majoring in Italian, French, and Spanish. Amount awarded is $1,000. Preference is given to students demonstrating financial need.

Other Scholarships

Besides scholarships offered through colleges and universities, foreign language students can seek outside scholarships. Here are a few examples:

The National Security Education Program offers the Language Flagship Fellowships program. This fellowship is designed for graduate students interested in studying foreign languages such as Arabic, Mandarin, Korean, and Persian. It is a two-tier fellowship which includes a domestic fellowship and an overseas fellowship. The fellowship supports all academic expenses for up to two years, including tuition, living expenses, health insurance, and travel expenses.

The National Security Education Program also offers the Boren Scholarships which are awarded to undergraduate students interested in studying abroad in areas that are critical to the United States’ interests. Some countries include Africa, Latin America, Australia, and Canada. These scholarships offer up to $20,000 to qualifying undergraduate students.

The Critical Language Scholarship Program is part of the United States government’s efforts to increase the amount of Americans studying critical need foreign languages. Some include Arabic, Persian, Korean, Turkish, Japanese, Chinese, and Russian. This is a fully-funded seven to ten week program designed for groups of American undergraduate students, as well as master and Ph.D.-seeking students.

Tips for Getting Foreign Language Scholarships

  • Start your search early. When seeking scholarships, it is wise to start early to ensure all opportunities, requirements and deadlines are met in a timely fashion.
  • Since foreign language encompasses a variety of languages such as German, French, and Spanish, students should determine their preferred language prior to seeking scholarships.
  • Speak with departmental staff to determine what foreign language scholarships are available.
  • Don’t rule out the campus financial aid office. Here general scholarships are available to all students, typically based on merit and/or financial need.

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