Student Grants

John Lithgow, actor. Linus Pauling, doctor. Sylvia Plath, poet. Henry Kissinger, diplomat. Dolph Lundgren, actor. John Steinbeck, author. James D. Watson, co-discoverer of DNA structure. Joseph Stiglitz, economist. Milton Glaser, graphic designer. Joseph Heller, author.

What, you might ask, does this very diverse list of very interesting people have in common?

They’re all alumni of the prestigious Fulbright Program, all recipients of student grants that took them on academic journeys to foreign countries. The multinational program was established after World War II as an effort to promote peace and understanding between nations. The program is based on the value of foreign exchange of students, teachers, and professionals.

According to the words of Senator Fulbright, the program is intended to bring a little more knowledge, reason, and compassion into world affairs so that all nations can learn to live in friendship and peace. It seems to be working.

The program of student grants and teaching opportunities was founded by US Senator J. William Fulbright as a treaty that was endorsed on September 22, 1948, and includes the Fulbright-Hays Program. Developed to encourage international exchange in the field of education, the program is considered a major success.

To date, 37 Fulbright alumni have won Nobel Prizes, more than any other student grants program in the world. Most of the Nobel Prizes have been awarded in the sciences, medicine, and economics but three of them have been for peace. Those recipients of both student grants and Nobel Prizes for Peace are Muhammad Yunus (2006), Henry Kissinger (1973), and Linus Pauling (1962). John Steinbeck was honored with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.

The program for Fulbright student grants is funded by the US Department of State. The Fulbright Commission funds the scholarships abroad. The commission funds program grants for schoolteachers and administrators in the K through 12th grade range plus programs for higher education, summer seminars, and group projects. Other federal agencies, including the US Departments of Agriculture and Education, also help fund some of the activities associated with the Fulbright student grants programs.

To date, there are 51 Fulbright commissions providing foreign exchange studies by way of student grants to citizens of 144 countries.. Since its inception, there have been about 12,000 United Kingdom students and 9,600 US students studying abroad although students come to and from many other countries as well. All total, more than 200,000 students have enjoyed the foreign exchange studies offered by student grants awarded via the Fulbright Program.