Higher Education


David L. Boren Award Programs

Boren Scholarships and Fellowships provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduate and graduate students. These programs focus on geographic areas, languages, and fields of study that are critical to U.S. national security, and not emphasized in other U.S. study abroad programs. Through this competitive annual national program, successful applicants distinguish themselves as highly motivated in their academic and career goals and in their strong commitment to public service.  Award recipients of both programs demonstrate the highest intellectual and professional capacity, as determined through a competitive, national, merit-based process. Since 1994, NSEP has awarded nearly 5,200 Boren Scholarships and Fellowships.

David L. Boren Scholarships

Boren Scholarships are awarded to U.S. undergraduates for up to one academic year of overseas study of languages and cultures critical to national security. Awardees are outstanding students, as determined through a competitive national merit-based process. Boren Scholars agree to fulfill a one year (minimum) service commitment to the U.S. government.

David L. Boren Fellowships

Boren Fellowships are awarded for up to two years to motivated U.S. graduate students who develop independent projects that combine study of language and culture in areas critical to national security. Awardees demonstrate the highest intellectual and professional capacity, as determined through a competitive national merit-based process. Boren Fellows agree to fulfill a one year (minimum) service commitment to the U.S. government.

The Language Flagship

The Language Flagship is a partnership between the federal government and the higher education community. The goal of Flagship is to build domestic and overseas language programs that produce professionally proficient language speakers. The Flagship program strives to graduate students who will become future contributors to and employees of the Department of Defense and the broader national security community.  The Flagship Program focuses on undergraduate students enrolled at domestic universities learning Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, and Russian.  Upon completion of domestic studies, Flagship students participate in a year-long intensive study program that requires directed language instruction and  direct enrollment at an overseas partner institution, and an international internship/work experience. Flagship Programs use guided instruction and meaningful interventions to graduate students from a variety of majors with an Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) Level 3 proficiency in one of the six target languages. The Flagship program creates a pool of qualified individuals with a variety of professional skills who are linguistically and culturally competent in a language and area of the world critical to U.S. national security.

ROTC Project Global Officer (Project GO)

The Project GO is a grant program aimed at improving the language skills, regional expertise, and intercultural communication skills of future military officers. Project GO provides institutional grants to 25 U.S. universities, including five of the six Senior Military Colleges. Project GO works in support of Army, Air Force, and Navy/Marine ROTC accession strategies and personnel policies. Project GO facilitates collaborative efforts across universities, and also between universities and ROTC leadership. Grant funding has provided hundreds of domestic and overseas summer scholarships to ROTC students for critical language study. Grant funding also supports university infrastructure in the critical languages.

Regional Flagship Languages Initiatives

The Regional Flagship Languages Initiative (RFLI) is a joint initiative between the Boren Scholarships and Fellowships program and The Language Flagship designed to improve language proficiency in targeted critical languages. All award recipients of RFLI are funded through a Boren Scholarship or Boren Fellowship. Participants complete eight weeks of domestic, summer language study, followed by an intensive, semester-long overseas study program. Many awardees continue overseas study during their spring semester, conducting independent research or participating in internships. Through the RFLI model, NSEP equips and empowers students to achieve proficiency gains in their chosen language, as well as gain deep cultural and regional knowledge. As with all Boren Scholars and Fellows, these award recipients commit to working one year (miniumum) for the federal government after graduation.  

African Flagship Languages Initiative

The African Flagship Languages Initiative (AFLI) is a special initiative of the Boren Awards for International Study offering awardees the opportunity for intensive language study of the critical languages of Africa. The African languages targeted through this program are Akan/Twi, French (Francophone), Portuguese (Lusophone), Swahili, Wolof, and Zulu. AFLI consists of an intensive summer domestic program administered by the University of Florida, followed by an overseas semester program administered by the American Councils for International Education. Not all languages have both a domestic and overseas component. All AFLI Boren recipients complete all AFLI language requirements, and also all requirements for a standard Boren Scholarship or Fellowship.

Indonesian Flagship Language Initiative

The Indonesian Flagship Language Initiative (IFLI) is a special initiative of the Boren Awards for International Study offering awardees the opportunity for intensive language study of Indonesian and for cultural immersion by participating in domestic and overseas language programs. Participants in the program may start with no language proficiency through advanced proficiency in Indonesian. The program is administered through the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

South Asian Flagship Language Initiative

The South Asian Flagship Language Initiative (SAFLI) is a special program of the Boren Awards for International Study that provides students the opportunity to study intensive Hindi or Urdu  and for cultural immersion by participating in domestic and overseas language programs. The program application process is open to students at various universities. The program is administered through the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Turkish Flagship Language Initiative

The Turkish Flagship Language Initiative (TURFLI) is a special program of the Boren Awards for International Study that provides students the opportunity to study intensive Hindi or Urdu  and for cultural immersion by participating in domestic and overseas language programs. The program application process is open to students at various universities. The program is administered through the University of Wisconsin-Madison.