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Scholarships available for studying underrepresented languages

Students who study other languages reap cognitive benefits and gain a competitive advantage in the job market.

The Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) scholarship, a program of the U.S. Department of Education, provides financial support toward tuition and fees to eligible undergraduate students interested in studying Arabic, Cambodian, Chinese, Ecuadorian Quechua, Hindu-Urdu, Japanese, Korean, Nahuatl, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Samoan or Vietnamese.

  • Undergraduate awards provide up to $10,000 in tuition and a $5,000 stipend for the academic year.
  • Graduate awards provide up to $18,000 in tuition and a $15,000 stipend for the academic year.
  • Summer awards provide up to $5,000 in tuition and a $2,500 stipend.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Undergraduate applicants must demonstrate at least second-year proficiency of their selected language at the beginning of the award period. Both undergraduate and graduate students in any major are encouraged to apply.

To learn more by visiting the department of International & Area Studies, click hereApplications are due Jan. 28, 2022.

While a student’s reasons for studying a foreign language may vary—preparing for research and graduate study, connecting to their heritage, sheer curiosity and love of learning—the benefits are the same and far-ranging. Students who take time to study another language reap cognitive benefits, deepen their connection to world cultures and obtain a competitive advantage in the job market.

“As a Brazilian-American, this FLAS scholarship has helped me improve my Portuguese as a heritage speaker,” said Giselle Fagundes-Draper, majoring in Accounting and Latin American Studies with a Minor in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies. “It has helped me better communicate with my family members and understand more about my own culture. FLAS has changed my life and opened a new part of me that has always been there, but I didn’t know how to connect with. Because of FLAS, I feel more like myself and have become more in tune with my culture, something I will cherish forever.

FLAS Scholarships are part of a four-year U.S. Department of Education program that in 2018 awarded the University of Utah and Brigham Young University $6.8 million in support of language study and international education. Sixty University of Utah students received FLAS fellowships during Summer 2020 and Academic Year 2020-21. The Asia Center and the Center for Latin American Studies administer the scholarships and have awarded up to $648,000 in combined scholarship support to undergraduate and graduate students each year the program has been available at the U.

“I hope to use Portuguese in my future career and to one day work in Brazil. I encourage anyone who is considering applying to just do it. Start the application process early and get to know the faculty and staff in your department, it will go a long way,” said Fagundes-Draper.