Fulbright Scholarship 2023: A Complete Guide With Q&A

Fulbright Scholarship 2023: A Complete Guide With Q&A

One of the best ways to enter the United States and study without spending a penny of your money is to apply and obtain the famous Fulbright Scholarship. A program of the U.S. Department of State, this scholarship is offered in 160 countries with Pakistan being the biggest beneficiary since 2005. The application date for a Fulbright Scholarship 2024 is now open with April 12, 2023 being the deadline. 

If you’re interested in studying for a postgraduate degree (Master’s or PhD degree) in the US, keep reading this blog for eligibility and application process. 

Fulbright Scholarship Pakistan: What Is Covered?

If you are awarded this scholarship, the following will be fully covered:

  • Tuition
  • Airfare
  • Health insurance
  • A living stipend
  • Textbooks
  • Settling-in allowance
  • A computer
  • Visa fees
  • In some cases GRE cost is also reimbursed 

Eligibility Criteria: Who Can Apply?

So, can you apply for this scholarship? Let’s find out.

You can apply for this scholarship if you fulfill the following:

  1. You are a Pakistani citizen and live in Pakistan
  2. You have strong academic background
  3. You possess a high level of fluency in written and spoken English
  4. You intend to return to Pakistan after completing your studies in the US (within 30 days of completion of your degree program)
  5. If you are applying for a master’s degree – You have completed four-year Bachelor’s degree or a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees (overall a total of 16 years of formal education)
  6. If you are applying for a PhD degree – You have completed a master’s degree or an M.Phil or an equivalent degree (overall a total of 18 years of formal education)
  7. You have degree(s) from an accredited institution

Who Is Strongly Encouraged to Apply?

People in the following disciplines are especially encouraged to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship:

  1. Climate Change
  2. Environment
  3. Education
  4. Health
  5. Agriculture
  6. Water
  7. Energy

However, this does not mean that you can’t apply if you aren’t pursuing further education in the fields listed above. 

Who Cannot Apply?

There are few Don’ts of a Fulbright Scholarship as well. For example, you can’t apply:

  1. If you are seeking further education in the field of clinical medicine
  2. If you are a dual U.S./Pakistan citizen or if your spouse, siblings, parent or child who is over 18 years of age is a U.S. national or permanent resident
  3. If you work for the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright Organization, or USAID. In which case, your spouse, children, dependents, siblings, parents and fiance will not be able to apply either
  4. If you have already been awarded this scholarship before 
  5. If you are already living in the US irrespective of your status

How To Apply for a Fulbright Scholarship?

Now, that you know that you can apply, all you need to do is:

  1. Fill in an application form.
  2. Submit three reference letters online.
  3. Submit your GRE score report. If you need help to prepare for the exam, you can browse through OLX Pakistan’s Tuitions & Academies listings. In any case, you must have taken the test before the application deadline. 
  4. You may also be asked to submit the TOEFL exam score.  
  5. Scan and upload your degree transcripts. HEC-attested transcripts are preferred. 

The entire process is online and paper-based application is not accepted. 

What Happens After You’ve Applied?

Fulbright Scholarships usually open each year in January/February with the deadline to apply falling in April/May. Once an application is submitted, it is reviewed and the candidate is interviewed (in-person or virtual) which could last till September. If you apply by April 12, 2023, you would know by mid-October 2023 whether you’ve been awarded this scholarship. You will be notified through e-mail and an official acceptance letter.  

If you are awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, you will have till February 2024 to apply to a university. Once admitted to a university, your visa interviews could take place in June 2024 or earlier. Once granted a visa, you would be able to fly to the US sometime in July 2024 and onwards. For the Fall semester, most US universities begin in August/September. 

What Happens When You Are Awarded A Fulbright Scholarship?

Once you are awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, if you have applied for a master’s degree, you’ll be asked to sign a contract with The United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP). This will bind you to return to Pakistan after completing your master’s degree. 

If you’ve applied for a PhD degree, you’ll be asked to sign a bond with USEFP, binding you to return to Pakistan immediately after completing your study. You will then be bound to live in Pakistan for the same number of years you had spent in the US. 

Anyone who breaks this contract may be asked to reimburse USEFP with the entire amount of scholarship money, etc. 

Questions & Answers 

We have tried to cover all the aspects of this prestigious scholarship in this blog. Here are a few Q&As commonly asked:

Q: How many Fulbright Scholarships are awarded each year?

It varies but in 2024, around 150 Fulbright Scholarships will be awarded. 

Q: What GRE score is required for a Fulbright Scholarship? 

A minimum score of 145 on each section of the examination and higher score on the section most applicable to your field of study in the US. 

Q: Do people with MBA and MBBS can apply?

Yes. However, for MBA graduates, 16 years of formal and accredited education is required, along with 2-years of work experience (recommended but not required). For MBBS graduates, pursuing further studies in clinical medicine is not allowed. They can apply for a research-focused degree like Public Health, etc. 

Q: Who decides the university?

The Institute of International Education (IIE) in New York will decide where you’ll be attending your university. You can list your preferences in the application but the final decision is of IIE’s.  

Q: Will you be able to take your spouse and children with you?

Yes. Given that you can financially afford them, which includes their medical insurance. Children who are 22 years old or older will not be allowed. 

Q:  How much does it cost to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship?

It’s free. 

If you need further assistance, you can contact one of Travel & Visa experts in Pakistan. 

You may also like to read:

How To Apply For a Passport in Pakistan

A Detailed Guide on Pakistani Passport Renewal

How to apply for an International Driving License in Pakistan?

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