May 18, 2017, 11:00pm
Extended Deadline for Academic Year 2017-2018 Graduate Foreign Language & Area Studies Fellowships
Presenter: Apply by May 18, 2017

Middle East Center is accepting applications for academic year Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships (FLAS) from graduate students with an extended deadline of May 18, 2017.

Graduate students receive $18,000 toward tuition and fees. A stipend is also provided: $15,000 for graduate students.

If you are a graduate student interested in this opportunity please submit an application through our Interfolio application page by clicking HERE.

Awards are made on the basis of academic merit and other criteria set by each Center and the U.S. Department of Education. 

Additionally, 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.

Although graduate students don't normally complete the FAFSA, 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.

To be considered under the priority for financial need, the deadline to submit the FAFSA to Penn's Office of Financial Services is May 18, 2017.

Please note that all FLAS-funded overseas programs and study/research abroad during the fellowship period must be approved beforehand by the U.S. Department of Education prior to the enrollment of any student in such programs. A FLAS award does not indicate automatic approval of study/research abroad during the fellowship period. Students awarded FLAS fellowships will have to notify the Middle East Center about their study/research abroad plans at least 45 days in advance of their prospective departure dates.

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. 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.

Who is eligible to receive a graduate FLAS fellowship? 

(1) Graduate students who are US citizens or permanent residents AND who are enrolled (or accepted for enrollment) in a program that combines modern foreign language training with international or area studies or with the international aspects of professional or other fields of study.

As per Department of Education guidelines and recommendations, the Middle East Center will consider FLAS applications for graduate students at the beginner level only if "a graduate has achieved advanced proficiency in another language of the world area of specialization—e.g. "Middle East"—and if learning a second language of that world area (Middle East) is required for the student’s overall training and expertise.” Receiving FLAS at the beginner level, however, is an exception that is subject to the approval of the Department of Education. If you are planning to apply for FLAS at the beginner level as a graduate student, please indicate in which language you achieved advanced proficiency, and why studying another language from the same region at the beginner level will contribute to your expertise and training in your application. Feel free to contact the Middle East Center FLAS coordinator, if you have questions on this issue. 

May I apply for a FLAS if I am not a Penn student?

Yes, as long as you are enrolled, or accepted for enrollment, at another institution receiving an allocation of FLAS fellowships for either the summer or the academic year. To find out whether your home institution is a FLAS-granting institution, click here to view the list.  Contact the FLAS Coordinator for your language for more information. 

Is there a limit on the number of FLAS fellowships I can receive?

There is no limit on the number of FLAS awards you can receive over your academic career, but no more than one fellowship can be awarded for the same period.

What information is required for the application?

Please refer to the application instructions. Note that there are separate competitions, for the Academic Year FLAS and for the Summer FLAS, for which two separate and complete applications are required.  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: your personal statement regarding your planned use of the FLAS fellowship, your curriculum vitae, unofficial higher education transcript(s), and two letters of recommendation (you can request them through the system). Your application is not complete until all have been submitted.

In addition, 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.  Please read the full statement on demonstrating financial need above.  

How are the competitions for the FLAS awards decided?

Each Center has a review and selection committee that evaluates and ranks its applicants. Undergraduate and graduate student applications for the Academic Year FLAS are ranked separately and not in competition with each other. The Summer FLAS competition draws from both undergraduate and graduate students in the same pool.  In addition, financial need is considered, according to new guidelines set by the US Department of Education. Please read the full statement regarding financial need in the eligibility section above under "How are awards made?".

Questions about FLAS usage   

Is a FLAS fellow allowed to work during the award period?

FLAS fellows are required to be engaged in full-time foreign language and area or international studies course work or dissertation research during the academic year, or in intensive language study during the summer award period. Students are permitted to undertake additional work, however, with permission from their departments, where required.

Can I take a semester off and finish the award during a subsequent period, or delay acceptance of the FLAS Fellowship for the academic year or summer?

No. FLAS Fellowships must be completed during the year for which they are awarded.

Can I request a Pass/Fail grade for my FLAS-qualifying area studies or language course?

No. FLAS-qualifying courses must be graded. 

Beyond coursework, is anything required of FLAS Fellows?

All FLAS Fellows are required to make pre- and post-award reports online to the U.S. Department of Education and will be surveyed every two years following their award for a period of up to eight years. In addition, all FLAS Fellows must take pre- and post-award language proficiency assessments.

About Academic Year awards: 

What does an academic year FLAS Fellow receive? 

Graduate students receive $18,000 toward tuition and fees. A stipend of $15,000 is also provided for graduate students.

What is the Academic Year FLAS used for?

Academic Year FLAS Fellowships are awarded to students engaged in:

(1) Formal, full-time modern language and area studies coursework at Penn, including the international aspects of professional or other fields of study. 

(2) Formal, full-time modern language and area studies coursework, including the international aspects of professional or other fields of study, as part of an approved official undergraduate overseas program

(3) Full-time dissertation research abroad. Only students at the advanced level of the language can propose to use an academic year FLAS fellowship to conduct dissertation research. The use of the foreign language in the dissertation research must be sufficiently extensive that the language improvement facilitated by the research equal to the improvement that would be obtained from a full academic year’s worth of formal classroom instruction. FLAS awards for dissertation research are subject to the prior approval of the Department of Education. The approval process is initiated by the center prior to awarding a fellowship; no approval is needed at time of application.

Do I have to take specific classes?

AY FLAS Fellows must take at least one language course and one area studies course focused on that region each semester of the FLAS year. 

AY FLAS Fellows must take at least one language course and one area studies course focused on that region each semester of the FLAS year. They should also maintain their fulltime enrollment status.

Can I receive an Academic Year FLAS for a single semester?

No. AY FLAS Fellowships are awarded for the entire academic year only.

I am a graduate student currently receiving a fellowship.  If I am awarded an Academic Year FLAS, how will it affect my fellowship? 

The different Penn schools and departments have different policies.  We recommend that you speak with your graduate chair or graduate dean to see how the FLAS fellowship would affect your fellowship package.