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Grant Opportunities/FLAS

Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships

The African Studies Program is accepting applications for Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships for the 2018-19 Academic Year (AY) through August 3, 2018.

The availability of FLAS funds for AY 18-19 is not guaranteed and is contingent upon confirmation of federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education (DoE) for all FLAS Centers. The competition results for AY 18-19 thus will remain strictly confidential until the DoE announces the availability of institutional FLAS funding. This announcement of funding is expected in mid-August, but could be delayed. FLAS awards for Fall 2018 may be cancelled if announcement of funding is sufficiently delayed.

In the event that institutional FLAS funds are not awarded to the respective center, the AY 18-19 FLAS competition will be cancelled and no FLAS awards will be made by that center. Because the centers have not received confirmation of funding, center staff and faculty will not be allowed to communicate with applicants about the status or rank of their application by any means, including but not limited to email, phone, or in-person communication. We thus ask you to not contact the centers about the competition results and status of your application.

FLAS fellowships are funded by the United States Department of Education in support of graduate and undergraduate students studying less commonly taught languages and cultures and are intended to promote the training of students who plan to make their careers in college or university teaching, government service, or other employment where knowledge of foreign languages and cultures is a prerequisite for success. Applicants are especially encouraged to consider careers identified by the Secretary of Education as areas of national need, such as government service as well as in education, business and nonprofit sectors.

FLAS awards will consist of:

Undergraduate $5,000 academic year stipend, plus maximum tuition award of $10,000

Graduate $15,000 academic year stipend, tuition award of at least $18,000 (max 12 credit hours per semester), plus enrollment in the graduate student health insurance plan

In order to apply for the AY 18-19 FLAS, the following application materials are required:

  1. GRE Scores (Graduate Students Only)
  2. Federal Student Aid Application (FAFSA)
  3. Three letters of recommendation
  4. Official transcripts for ALL colleges and universities attended

See below for eligibility, FAQs, FLAS application tips, and other information.

FLAS fellowships in African languages and area studies Indiana University graduate students wishing to learn an African language may apply for an AY FLAS 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 (focus is Arabic-speaking regions of Africa; at IU, taught by NELC), Bamana, Swahili, Wolof, Yoruba, and Zulu. 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 focused area studies course each semester, offered through or cross-listed with African Studies and approved by the African Studies Program.

Eligibility FLAS awards are open to all eligible undergraduate and graduate students, who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Undergraduate Eligibility

  • Eligible for intermediate- or advanced-level study of the African languages approved by IU’s African Studies Program FLAS Center
  • Ineligible for Level 1 language study
Graduate Eligibility
  • Eligible for intermediate- or advanced-level study of the African languages approved by IU’s African Studies Program FLAS Center
  • Eligible for Level 1 language study only if a student has 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 can demonstrate academic excellence and a need for elementary level study (US Department of Education program officer approval is required in both instances)

Statement of Purpose The FLAS application requires a Statement of Purpose, which should address the following questions:

  • How will this FLAS award enrich your academic and career goals?
  • How will the proposed language of training advance your research and proposed program of study?
  • How will this language and area study training fit in to your long-term career goals?
Format requirements:
  • up to 2 pages in length
  • 1-inch margins
  • 12 font size
  • Times New Roman or Arial fonts

Before you Apply: Students are required to complete the following steps before submitting their FLAS Application. These documents should be requested BEFORE the deadline to allow time for the requests to be processed.

  • GRE scores (Graduate Students Only)

    If you are a graduate student, a copy of your most recent GRE test score must be sent to Indiana University by ETS.
    When taking the computerized version of the GRE you can request the scores be sent directly to IU on the day of testing. For paper versions of the test you will need to request your scores be sent to IU when you register for the test. If you previously had your GRE scores sent to Indiana University, you will need to contact your selected FLAS Center so that they can obtain those scores.
    The IU GRE Test Code: 1324 After taking the test there is usually a fee for sending scores at later dates. Click here to start the application process.

  • Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Application (Academic Year Only)

    Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application for 2018-19 and request to have the results sent to Indiana University.

  • Online FLAS Fellowship Recommender Request Form

    The FLAS fellowship application requires three letters of recommendation. Please complete the Recommender Request Form to have an e-mail message automatically sent to the recommenders at the e-mail addresses you provide. The e-mail will include a link to the FLAS Online Recommendation Form, which the recommender is required to complete in order to upload a letter of recommendation.
    Your recommenders should be three current or past instructors who can support your application for FLAS funding. At least one recommender should have knowledge of your language skills to speak to your current scholarly activity working with a foreign language.

    The deadline for recommenders to submit letters of recommendation is August 3, 2018. It is your personal responsibility to make sure that all three letters of recommendation have been received by the deadline. Please note that, given the application window, reference letters used for other purposes, such as admission to IU, can be used, if you cannot find three current referees to submit by the deadline. You will need to contact the IU unit where the letter was submitted to have it sent to the African Studies Program.
    PLEASE NOTE: Letters of recommendation must be uploaded as PDFs; all other file types will not be accepted.

  • Official transcripts

    You must provide official transcripts for ALL colleges and universities you have attended. It is your responsibility to ask the registrar(s) to send your transcripts(s) to the center(s) to which you are applying. You are responsible for all fees incurred with transcript requests.
    For African Studies Program FLAS: Tavy Aherne African Studies Program Global and International Studies Building 355 N. Jordan Avenue GA 3080 Bloomington, IN 47405-1105 (taherne at

Application deadlines: The deadline for applications for the 2018-19 AY is August 3, 2018. As noted at the outset, availability is contingent upon confirmation of federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education for all FLAS Centers.

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.
  • 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 FLAS Coordinator Marilyn Estep (estepm at

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 (estepm at 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Can I use a reference letter for admission to Indiana University for the FLAS application? Yes, if you cannot find three referees to write by August 3, 2018. At least one, if not more, current references are encouraged so that the referee can speak to your current interests, activities, and performances. If you are using such a past letter of reference, it is your responsibility to have the relevant IU department or school send a copy to the African Studies Program for use in the FLAS application.
You may begin the FLAS application process here.

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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.

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