Instructions for Applying for Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships

SPECIAL NOTICE: According to guidelines set in 2014 by the U.S. Department of Education, Centers will give priority when awarding fellowships to undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate financial need as indicated by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  To be considered under the priority category of demonstrated financial need, students are required to complete and submit the FAFSA form to Penn's Office of Student Financial Services by the FLAS deadline in order to determine their level of need. 

      NOTE: we are prioritizing those with need, not excluding those without need.  In other words, all applicants will be considered for FLAS, but if you have financial need and wish to be considered under this priority category, you MUST complete the FAFSA by the same FLAS deadline and submit it to Penn's Office of Student Financial Aid.

      ATTENTION GRADUATE STUDENTS: Although graduate students don't normally complete the FAFSA as part of the Penn admissions process, the University requires them to do so in order to be considered under the category of financial need for FLAS fellowships.  This is to ensure that all candidates are assessed for need with uniform and fair consideration by the Office of Student Financial Services. 


Have further questions about the new financial need priority?  Contact the FLAS Coordinator for your intended language.


FLAS Application Instructions

Each fellowship application requires creation of a free online Interfolio account and completion of the application in that system. In addition to entering information into the account, you will need to upload:

  1. A personal statement regarding your planned use of the FLAS fellowship. This is a one-page, single-spaced, essay describing why this language study is essential to realizing your study and career goals.
  2. Your curriculum vitae.
  3. Unofficial higher education transcript(s) of your most recent academic work, whether at the University of Pennsylvania or another university or college, in digital format.  Transcripts may be verified during the review process.
  4. Two letters of recommendation (you will request them through the system). When you ask the faculty members for a recommendation, tell them that all letters of recommendation must specifically address how a FLAS would contribute to your current program of study or would be integrated with it.

NOTE: If you are applying for both summer and academic-year FLAS awards, you need to submit two separate applications, including separate letters of recommendation and a one-page essay for each competition.


If you have your application materials gathered, click on the appropriate link below to start your Interfolio FLAS application:

Apply for a summer 2024 FLAS

Apply for an academic year 2024-25 FLAS


There are separate competitions, for the Academic Year FLAS and for the Summer FLAS, for which two separate and complete applications are required by the following deadlines:


Middle East Language Fellowship: FEBRUARY 7, 2022.

South Asia Language Fellowship: FEBRUARY 9, 2024.

Africa Language Fellowship: FEBRUARY 7, 2022.

East Asia Language Fellowship: FEBRUARY 9, 2024.

To be considered under the priority for financial need, the deadline to submit the FAFSA to Penn's Office of Financial Services is January 18, 2024.


For More Information

To learn more about FLAS, contact the appropriate FLAS Coordinator, or visit the FLAS Frequently Asked Questions page.