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Grant Opportunities/FLAS

Indiana University Internal Grants

Indiana University provides an array of grants and fellowships for its faculty and students. In addition to departmental awards, graduate students in African Studies may apply for grants in support of study and/or research in an African country from the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs. Click here for a list of grants, guidelines, and applications.
The African Studies Program also offers a limited number of awards that are announced via its listserv.

IU GradGrants Center

Indiana University has a GradGrants Center that helps graduate students identify funding sources for travel, research, dissertation writing, and pre- and post-doctoral fellowships. The Center also assists students with the preparation of successful grant applications. It is located in the Herman B. Wells Library.

External Funding Opportunities

The West African Research Association offers pre- and post-doctoral fellowships. Major national foundations that support pre- and post-doctoral research in Africa include Fulbright IIE, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Social Science Research Council, and the National Science Foundation. The Office of the Vice President for International Affairs and the African Studies Program assist students with these grant applications.

Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships

The African Studies Program offers FLAS fellowships through its Title VI National Resource Center grant from the U.S. Department of Education. These fellowships support the study of approved foreign languages and related area studies course work in preparation for careers in teaching, research, government service, the non-profit and private sectors. Applicants are especially encouraged to consider careers in government service identified by the Secretary of Education as areas of national need, as well as in areas of need in the education, business and nonprofit sectors.

Indiana University graduate students wishing to learn an African language may apply for an academic year fellowship to study an African language relevant to their area of research at the intermediate* or advanced levels. Undergraduates demonstrating a commitment to African Studies through enrollment in one of the minors or the certificate are also eligible to apply. Currently approved African languages include Akan/Twi, Arabic, Bamana, Swahili, Wolof, Yoruba, and Zulu. For graduate students, the fellowship carries a stipend of $15,000 per year and a fee scholarship covering up to 12 credits of course work per semester (maximum total of 24 credits for the academic year). For undergraduates, the fellowship provides a stipend of up to $5,000 per academic year and a tuition award of up to $10,000; exact amounts may vary depending on other sources of funding. Award recipients must undertake full-time study during the award period. In addition to enrolling in the chosen language, they must take at least one Africa area course each semester, offered through or cross-listed with African Studies and approved by the African Studies Program.

Summer FLAS fellowships are available to graduate and undergraduate students. Summer awards are intended for intensive language study (140 hours at the elementary* or intermediate level; 120 hours at the advanced level) only and provide a subsistence allowance of $2,500 and up to $5,000 in tuition. Students wishing to take an African language at the intermediate level should plan to continue their study at the advanced level during the following academic year.

Undergraduates applying for summer fellowships and expecting to graduate prior to their projected summer program are only eligible for a FLAS award if they have been accepted into a graduate program by the time the award is offered. The graduate program must be in a FLAS-granting institution.

Summer awards may be used for study at Indiana University or at another approved institution in the United States or in Africa. Awards for Africa-based programs can made only for study at an institution of higher education or at a language institute. They are contingent on approval by the U.S. Department of Education following submission of the successful application and supporting materials by the African Studies Program. Students intending to apply for study in Africa are strongly encouraged to consult with the African Studies Program before submitting their application.

Graduate and undergraduate students who are enrolled in U.S. institutions other than Indiana University are eligible to apply for summer FLAS fellowships if they meet the citizenship / permanent resident requirement. In addition, their summer program must be in, or organized by a FLAS-granting institution.
*See the eligibility criteria below.

Students are eligible for a FLAS award if they meet the following criteria:

  • Are a US citizen or permanent resident
  • Are enrolled in, or admitted to, a program in the College of Arts and Sciences or one of its schools, or in a professional school at Indiana University-Bloomington, by the time they receive the academic year award
  • Have reached at least elementary level proficiency in the language they wish to study and are able to enroll at the intermediate or advanced level during the fellowship period. Graduate students may be eligible for an elementary level award in an African language if a) they have already reached advanced level proficiency in a language spoken in Africa and need the second language to conduct their research or complete their program of study; or b) demonstrate academic excellence and need for elementary level study. US Department of Education program officer approval is required in both instances.

FLAS applications should include:

  • A completed application submitted through the IU FLAS portal
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended**
  • Three letters of recommendation: at least one should address the applicant’s abilities in the chosen language or in another language of study; two should address the applicant’s general academic abilities, including area studies
  • Personal statement on the applicant’s program of study and the relevance of the proposed language

Applicants must also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for 2016 and request to have the results sent to Indiana University by the application deadline. Failure to complete the FAFSA may jeopardize the chances of receiving an award. For questions regarding the FAFSA, please consult Ms. Marilyn Estep (estepm at in the African Studies Program.

**See also items 7-9 in the FAQs below.

Application deadlines:
Academic Year Fellowship:  Monday, February 1, 2017
                                                  (11:59pm U.S. Eastern Standard Time)

Summer Fellowship:              Monday, February 1, 2017
                                                  (11:59pm U.S. Eastern Standard Time)

FLAS Application Tips
FLAS fellowships are highly competitive. Prepare your application with care regardless of whether you have been funded previously or not. Funding in one year does not guarantee funding in a subsequent year. Although we seek to make awards across departments and professional schools and in all of the languages we offer, the fundamental criterion is merit. Here are a few tips to make your FLAS application more competitive:

  • FLAS evaluation committee members look for applicants who express a strong commitment to doing work or research in (or related to) Africa, not only while they are at IU but also in their prospective careers. In crafting your personal statement, outline your background and area of interest carefully and demonstrate a sense of direction. You are not expected to have mapped out your courses for the next two or three years, but you should have a focus. Undergraduates can show their commitment through Africa-related course work culminating in one of the undergraduate degree options.
  • Inform yourself about the language you wish to study and its availability at IU, or elsewhere in the case of a summer program. Articulate why it is important to study your language of choice and how it relates to your interests. Proposing to study more than one language in a given application gives reviewers the impression that you are not sure what you want to do.
  • If you are submitting a summer FLAS application for study outside the United States, indicate not only what language you want to study and where but also in what program or, in the case of individualized instruction, with whom. Inform yourself of the supporting materials you need and the time line before you submit your application. Any research you may wish to conduct in the summer will have to be carried out after your language program and has no bearing on your application.
  • Should you have an Incomplete grade on your transcript, address it briefly in your statement and note the steps you have taken to complete the work for the course.
  • Don’t approach faculty members about recommendations at the last minute. Give them enough information to write an informed recommendation unless they already know you well.

For questions about these or other issues concerning the content of your application, contact ASP Associate Director Tavy Aherne (taherne at or FLAS Coordinator Marilyn Estep (estepm at
Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I would like to apply for both a Summer and an Academic Year fellowship. Do I need to submit two separate applications?
    Yes. Summer and Academic Year applications are reviewed separately, and you will need to describe your proposed program of study in slightly different ways for each of these fellowships.
  2. May I apply for different languages in the Summer and Academic Year?
    Yes, if knowledge of more than one language is essential to your program of study. Be sure to demonstrate in your personal statement why you need the second language. Your case for a second language will be stronger if you have already reached an advanced level in one language, or if the second language you need is not offered at IU during the academic year.
  3. Are there restrictions on doing summer intensive language study in Africa?
    Yes. An overseas program cannot be approved for elementary level study unless the student meets the eligibility criteria stipulated above and the language is a least commonly taught language that is not offered in the United States. Before applying for intermediate level overseas study, you should first check on the availability of appropriate programs in the United States.
  4. I am not an Indiana University student. Are there any restrictions on the summer intensive language programs for which I can receive a FLAS fellowship?
    Yes. According to U.S. Department of Education guidelines, students enrolled at institutions that do not have an allocation of FLAS fellowships may only apply for programs offered by FLAS granting institutions. This rule pertains to U.S. based and overseas programs.
  5. 5. The online application drop-down menu lists “Arabic - Africa” rather than merely “Arabic”. What does this mean?
    It means that your world area focus should be the African continent, not any other world area or program of study where knowledge of Arabic is important.
  6. Can materials from my Academic Year application be copied into my Summer file?
    Yes, upon request. If you are applying for both Academic Year and Summer awards this year, you may ask FLAS Coordinator Marilyn Estep to copy the transcripts and letters of recommendation submitted in support of your Academic Year application for the Summer application file. We encourage you to request a second set of recommendations if the language you wish to study in the summer is different from the one you are seeking to study during the academic year.
  7. Can application materials from a previous year be copied into the current application?
    Yes. If you have applied for a FLAS award from the ASP in a previous year, please contact Marilyn Estep with a detailed list of the documents that you would like us to use for your current application. This list may include academic transcripts and letters of recommendation from other institutions. If you enrolled at IU since you submitted your previous application, you should also submit the most recent IU transcript and at least one recommendation from an IU professor. We encourage you not to use more than one old recommendation.
  8. If I am an IU student, does the copy of my IU transcript need to be official?
    No. In the case of IU transcripts only, we will accept a print-out generated by you through One.IU that includes your past record and courses in which you are currently enrolled.
  9. Can I ask my home department to send you copies of my official transcripts from other universities?
    Yes, we will accept copies of your official transcripts if they come to us directly from another IU department. However, it is your responsibility to ask the departmental graduate secretary to send these via campus mail to Marilyn Estep,  School of Global and International Studies, GA 3072.

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