Fulbright U.S. Student Program

Critical Language Enhancement Award

Overview

The Critical Language Enhancement Award (CLEA) is a feature of the U.S. Student Fulbright Program, which provides an opportunity for some Fulbright U.S. Student grantees to receive typically from three to six months of intensive language study as an enhancement to their Fulbright grants. Language instruction providers and duration of individual programs are subject to change and vary by eligible country. They must be approved by local Fulbright Commissions/Foundations or U.S. Embassies in the host countries. CLEA is offered to students once they have been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student grant which requires that they use one of the eligible languages for their Fulbright project and beyond.

The purpose of the Critical Language Enhancement Award is to cultivate higher levels of language proficiency prior to and during the Fulbright grant period and beyond. Ultimately, Critical Language Enhancement grantees will achieve a high level of proficiency in a targeted language and will go on to careers or further study which will incorporate the use of the language studied and/or related languages.

The Critical Language Enhancement Award helps promote the Fulbright Program's goals of cross-cultural exchange and dialogue. Fulbright grantees capable of communicating in the local language in their host countries are likely to form stronger bonds with their peers, conduct more meaningful research, and develop a greater understanding of a foreign culture. The experience grantees bring home after their Critical Language Enhancement Award and Fulbright grant will serve them in their chosen careers and throughout their lives.

Eligible Languages and Countries

Eligible Languages:
Arabic (all dialects), Bahasa Indonesia, Bangla/Bengali, Chinese (Mandarin only), Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi, Russian, and Urdu.

Eligible Countries:
China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Morocco, Russia

The number of eligible countries and languages supported by the CLEA is subject to change based on future budget allocations and U.S. Department of State priorities.

Eligibility and Requirements for Applicants

CLEA grantees must:

  • Be selected for a Fulbright Study/Research Grant (or ETA, in some cases) by the eligible country for which they applied.

  • Meet the minimum CLEA language requirement of the host country by the start of the Fulbright grant. See Fulbright country summary for minimum requirement.

  • Demonstrate an interest in continuing their language training in future professional activities.


Ineligibility:

  • Receipt of a Critical Language Scholarship also sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, and administered by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) and American Councils for International Education, in the same program year.

Application and Selection Process

Application for a Critical Language Enhancement Award is made in conjunction with the Fulbright U.S. Student application and reference to the language award application should be included in the Statement of Grant Purpose.

Application

As an adjunct to the Fulbright U.S. Student application, the following forms must be submitted with the Fulbright U.S. Student application to apply for the Critical Language Enhancement Award.

  • Form 7: Language Self Evaluation. If the applicant will be completing the prerequisite language study after submission of the Fulbright application the proposed study must be detailed in Form 7.

  • Form 7A: Critical Language Enhancement Award Supplementary Statement.

  • Form 8: Foreign Language Evaluation. Form 8 should be completed by a qualified language instructor or, for less commonly taught languages, a faculty member with knowledge of the language. The foreign language evaluator should comment on the desirability and need for additional language training in their report.

  • (Optional) Applicants may wish to address how their Fulbright project would be enhanced by additional language study under the CLEA in the Statement of Grant Purpose.

Note:

In the Statement of Grant Purpose applicants must show a clear connection between additional language study and their Fulbright project.

Any applicant whose project can be completed, without loss in quality, without language training, will not be considered a high priority.

Commitment to the Language

Applicants should demonstrate and detail their commitment to developing their language skills through current study, during their Fulbright grant tenure, and in their future career and/or educational plans, in their supplemental Critical Language Enhancement Award statement.


Selection

Language award recipients are selected by local Fulbright Commissions/Foundations or U.S. Embassies in the host countries and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). Award recipients should propose their own language training programs and duration of study based on the guidelines of the host country; however, final approval is the responsibility of the Fulbright Commission or U.S. Embassy in the host country. Changes to program assignment, schedule, or length may occur.

CLEA is a competitive grant program and applicants selected to receive a Fulbright grant will not automatically receive a CLEA. Please note that Fulbright applicants must demonstrate that they will be able to carry out the Fulbright project without receipt of the additional language study.

Additional Grant Requirements

To monitor and evaluate grantee and program achievements, language proficiency tests and grantee reporting are required. Failure to complete these stipulations could result in delayed Critical Language Enhancement Award or Fulbright grant payments until the requirements are fulfilled.

Language Proficiency Evaluations

To track grantee language ability, grantees are required to take pre- and post-grant language tests. Language tests should take place within two weeks or less of starting the CLEA and within two weeks after completion of the CLEA period. All costs of CLEA-related testing will be assumed by the CLEA program, except in the case of charges incurred for missed test appointments. Charges that are incurred from missed test appointments may be deducted from the grantee's stipend. Grantees may not begin their Critical Language Enhancement Award until they have completed the pre-testing component.


Grantee Reporting

All grantees are required to submit a Final Report detailing their experience, language growth, and feedback on program administration and general policies. An electronic report format will be made available to grantees as they near the end of their language grant. Language award recipients with grants for longer than four months will also be required to submit a Mid-term Report.

Language Award Funding

Monthly Maintenance Stipend
Critical Language Enhancement Award recipients receive the same monthly maintenance stipends as for other Fulbright grants in the host country.

Tuition Fees
The tuition allowance covers the total tuition for the approved language program and/or tutoring.

Book Allowance
All grantees receive approximately $100 to use toward the purchase of books and other related educational expenses. The book allowance is included in the first stipend payment. No further reimbursements for books are permitted.

Travel
Costs for round-trip airfare to the host country are provided through the Fulbright Study/Research or ETA grant. All air travel must comply with the Fly America Act/Open Skies Agreement. The Critical Language Enhancement Award does not provide for costs of passports, visas, immunizations or other costs incidental to travel abroad. The grant does not cover excess or overweight baggage fees.

Health and Accident Coverage
Health and accident coverage (ASPE) for the Critical Language Enhancement Award is the same as for the Fulbright grant. Grantees should be aware that any travel outside of the host country is not covered under ASPE. Click here for more information on this policy.

Expenses not included
The Critical Language Enhancement Award does not provide funding or reimbursement for school application or placement test fees, bank transfer/wire fees, or local transportation.

Language Instruction

Depending on the country to which a CLEA grantee applies, s/he may be eligible for formal classroom instruction, private tutoring, or a combination of the two. Language instruction and programs are selected by grantees prior to beginning their Critical Language Enhancement Award. All language instruction, including formal courses and/or private tutors, must be approved by the Fulbright Commission/Foundation or U.S. Embassy in the host country.

All private tutoring must be provided through an approved language institution that provides documentation for services provided (receipts).

For the purposes of educational continuity, changing programs during the course of the language award is discouraged. Any changes must be approved by the Critical Language Enhancement Award administrator, either IIE or the local Fulbright Commission/Foundation, in advance. Grantees to countries that have only one approved language program or that pay tuition directly to language institutes, cannot change their language program during the Critical Language Enhancement Award.


Classroom Instruction and Tutoring

It is preferred that grantees receive most of their language training through formal classroom instruction. Tutoring is an option available to supplement language program instruction, to fulfill the award period, if a language program falls short of the language award length; to fill gaps of more than three days between courses; or to provide instruction if there is no language course available at the award recipient’s proficiency level.

Grant Duration and Schedule

The Critical Language Enhancement Award grant period is typically 3-6 months in duration and varies by host country. CLEA grantees must plan their CLEA in coordination with the local Fulbright Commissions/Foundations or U.S. Embassies in the host countries. In some countries, the entire CLEA must be taken prior to starting the Fulbright grant. Intensive study is typically defined as 20 hours per week of classroom study or 10 hours per week of tutoring and must be approved by the local Fulbright Commission/Foundation or U.S. Embassy. In some cases, this option will require grantees to receive visas for more than one year. In some countries, CLEA may be set up to include intensive study before the Fulbright grant, followed by a period of time of tutoring or coursework concurrent with the Fulbright grant.

The Critical Language Enhancement Award does not alter the duration of the Fulbright Study/Research grant. For example: a 3-month language award plus a 10-month Fulbright means a commitment of 13 months. Recipients of an award must begin their Fulbright grants immediately following the language training. Grantees may not begin working on their Fulbright research projects until the Fulbright grant period begins.

Start Dates:

  • The Critical Language Enhancement Award start date depends on many factors including: the availability of a suitable language program on requested dates; conditions set by the Fulbright Commission or U.S. Embassy; academic affiliations requiring the Fulbright Study/Research or ETA grant to begin on a specific date; and completion of mandatory U.S.-based pre-departure orientations. Applicants should comment on their flexibility with respect to start dates when considering the entire length of time abroad.

  • Depending on the country, July is the earliest that one can begin the Critical Language Enhancement Award. Most grantees begin in September. The last day the Fulbright Study/Research grant can begin is March 31, 2015 for the 2014-15 program year.

  • The purpose of the Critical Language Enhancement Award is to provide supplemental language instruction with the goal of better preparing grantees for the successful completion of their regular Fulbright grant. Therefore, grantees cannot shorten the duration of their Fulbright grants in order to increase language study afforded by the Critical Language Enhancement Award for any reason.

  • Absolutely no departure will be allowed for the Critical Language Enhancement Award before Fulbright and Critical Language Enhancement Award grant documents are signed and received by IIE or the Fulbright Commission; all medical documents are submitted and medical clearance has been issued; and, research clearance and visas, as required by some countries, have been received.


Holidays, Recesses, and Break Periods

International travel is permitted during holiday/recess periods. However, grantees will not be covered under the U.S. Department of State Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE) when traveling outside of the host country.

For Intensive Study Periods (completed prior to the Fulbright Study/Research or ETA grant) of less than 3 months: No vacation will be authorized.

For Intensive Study Periods (completed prior to the Fulbright Study/Research or ETA grant) of 3-4 months: The grantee may take up to one week (7 days including weekends) of vacation without deduction in grant benefits if such absence is approved by either the local Fulbright Commission/Foundation or the Cultural Affairs Officer or other appropriate officer of the U.S. Embassy, and by the host institution. Insofar as possible, any vacation period should correspond with a local holiday period or recess at your language and/or teaching institution.

For Intensive Study Periods (completed prior to the Fulbright Study/Research or ETA grant) of over 4 months: The grantee may take up to two weeks (14 days including weekends) of vacation without deduction in grant benefits if such absence is approved by either the local Fulbright Commission/Foundation or the Cultural Affairs Officer or other appropriate officer of the U.S. Embassy, and by the host institution. Insofar as possible, any vacation period should correspond with a local holiday period or recess at your language and/or teaching institution.

Tuition Payment and Reimbursement
CLEA grantees should check with the Fulbright Commission/Foundation or U.S. Embassy in their host country about the protocols associated with paying for tuition. Tuition fees for language courses and private tutoring provided by the Critical Language Enhancement Award are paid through reimbursement. In special cases of financial need on the part of the recipient, language award recipients may request that IIE pay the institutions directly. In such cases, grantees must submit invoices produced by the language institution which include the necessary bank transfer information. Additional costs incurred by wire transfers are not covered by the grant. N.B.: Should the CLEA grantee decline to take up the Fulbright Study/Research or ETA grant for any reason not approved by ECA subsequent to CLEA activities, he/she will be obliged to refund to IIE or the Fulbright Commission/Foundation all funds expended to or on behalf of him/her for CLEA and costs of pre-departure and in-country orientations.

 

Questions

Contact the regional Program Manager

I am a....

Current U.S. Student

United States citizens who are currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs are eligible to apply.  All applicants enrolled in U.S institutions must apply through their home campuses.  Find the Fulbright Program Adviser on your campus.

If you are an undergraduate student you would be eligible to apply in your senior year.  If you are a graduate student you are eligible to apply to most countries as long as you will not have a PhD degree on the application deadline.

Non-U.S. Student

If you are a non-U.S. citizen looking to applying for a Fulbright grant to study in the United States you will apply to the Fulbright Program for Foreign Students in your home country.

U.S. Citizen but not a Student

If you are a U.S. citizen, hold a bachelor’s degree, and do not have a PhD degree then you could be eligible for certain awards within the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.  Please review the program summary for the country where you would like to apply.

Artist

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program welcomes applications in the creative and performing arts.  Arts candidates for the U.S. Student Program should have relatively limited professional experience in the fields (typically 5 years or less) in which they are applying.  Artists with more experience should consider applying for Fulbright Scholar Program.

FPA

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U.S. Professor

If you are a U.S. citizen and a professor at a U.S. institution and are interested in applying for a Fulbright Scholar Award you will need to apply through CIES.

Non U.S. Professor

If you are a non-U.S. citizen and a professor interested in applying for a Fulbright Scholar Award to the United States you would need to apply through the Fulbright Commission or U.S. Embassy in your home country.  Find out more information on the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program.