Description and Scholarships


Scholarships for the EHLS program are awarded as part of the National Security Education Program (NSEP).

For 2013, each applicant who is admitted to the program will receive a scholarship. Scholarships cover all tuition and fees for the eight months of the program, and also include a modest living stipend and health insurance during the intensive portion (first six months).

Mailing Address and Due Date
Relocation Reimbursement
Criteria for Selection
Service Requirement
The Federal Job Market


To be eligible for an EHLS scholarship, an applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a United States citizen.
  • Be a native speaker of one of the 2013 EHLS languages (TBA). The 2012 EHLS languages were Arabic, Dari, Hausa, Hindi, Igbo, Mandarin Chinese, Pashto, Persian Farsi, Punjabi, Somali, Swahili, or Urdu.
  • Agree to fulfill a one-year service commitment with the U.S. government. Note that all award recipients must agree to fulfill this commitment. See the section on the service requirement below. NSEP will assist award recipients with job placement, but does not guarantee employment. Award recipients must seek out appropriate job openings and follow the regular application process for federal employment.
  • Meet the eligibility criteria for admission to the EHLS program. Review criteria >

Application and Due Date

The scholarship application is part of the program application. All applications are managed by the Institute of International Education (IIE), which also disburses scholarship funds. Submit completed scholarship applications to IIE via the Online Application or mail to the following address:

Institute of International Education
English for Heritage Language Speakers Program
1400 K Street NW, Suite 650
Washington, DC 20005-2403
Tel: (866) 831 - 3012

Please do not send your application to CAL or to Georgetown University. If you do not send your application directly to IIE, it will not be processed.

Note that you must also complete a brief telephone interview as part of the application process. Read more >

Application Due Date: Applications for the 2013 program will be available in January 2012, and will be due Summer 2012.

Applications must be received by IIE by 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the application due date. Please complete your application online or use a mailing method that will allow tracking and will ensure that your application arrives promptly.

Relocation Reimbursement

Each program participant from outside the metropolitan Washington, DC area is eligible for reimbursement of up to $1,000 in relocation costs. Reimbursement is only available for costs that are documented with receipts or other proof of payment. After admission to the program, participants will receive detailed instructions on how to apply for relocation reimbursement.

Criteria for Selection

One of the goals of the EHLS scholarship program is to broaden the pool of individuals with language and cultural expertise who are interested in long-term employment with departments and agencies of the U.S. government that are involved in national security affairs. NSEP, which funds the scholarship program, strongly emphasizes the importance of award recipients seeking and gaining employment in federal agencies whose missions and functions are most directly related to national security. Applicants demonstrate their commitment to long-term federal service in the narrative statement that they provide in part V of this application.

Applicants will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • English and native language ability
  • Academic merit
  • Professional experience and skills
  • Long-term commitment to federal service beyond the length of the service requirement
  • Overall compatibility with program goals and objectives.

Service Requirement

Scholarship recipients must agree to pursue employment with the U.S. government for one year in a job that meets their interests and background. Federal employment is initiated no later than two years after program completion.

NSEP is committed to working with each EHLS participant during and after the program to help identify federal job opportunities. To assist in and facilitate the federal job search process, NSEP has developed NSEPnet, an interactive website. NSEPnet maintains an online collection of federal job notices, job search tips and helps participants to simplify and organize their job search efforts. Online resumes can be posted to the site and made available to hiring officials in federal agencies where relevant employment opportunities exist.

All scholarship recipients must make a full and good faith effort to identify and secure positions in the federal government. Some federal jobs require a security clearance.

A full and good faith effort is defined as the following:

  • Create and routinely update an online resume on NSEPnet.
  • Maintain an NSEPnet Job History Log that documents efforts to identify and pursue opportunities in the federal government.
  • Use other employment resources such as USAJobs and the Partnership for Public Service.
  • Identify and apply for employment with the Department of State, Homeland Security, or Defense, or the Intelligence Community.
  • Pursue employment in other federal agencies if not successful securing a position in one of the three priority departments or in the Intelligence Community.

The federal government is not obligated to hire any individual who has received funding through this program. Therefore, if a scholarship recipient has made a full and good faith effort to secure employment during the two years following his or her completion of the EHLS program, he or she is free from any and all obligations associated with the service requirement.

Scholarship recipients who fail to demonstrate a full and good faith effort to fulfill the service requirement are required to reimburse the U.S. government for the full amount of assistance provided from the scholarship.

The Federal Job Market

In general, participants who complete the EHLS program will pursue federal jobs in administration, management, or professional fields. Most professional and administrative work in the federal government is paid under the General Schedule (GS) pay system. The GS system is divided into 15 grades, each of which has 10 salary steps. The entry level of professional and administrative positions is normally at GS-7, although for some occupations it may be GS-9.

Typically, the grade level at which you are selected is commensurate with your work experience, your academic background, or both. Having a bachelor's degree will normally qualify you for GS-7. Generally, for jobs at GS-7 and higher, your background must demonstrate some experience closely related to the work to be performed (specialized experience). Vacancy announcements describe the specific requirements for different grade levels. If you have a Master's degree, you may qualify for some jobs at GS-9, and a doctorate could qualify you for GS-11. At these levels, the advanced degree must be directly related to the work of the job to be filled.
[Source: U.S. Department of Labor Web site, from material published by the Office of Personnel Management ]

For more information on the General Schedule system, see the Qualification Standards for General Schedule Positions and visit the General Schedule Documents page on the Office of Personnel Management’s Web site.

For information on the GS system pay scales that apply in different parts of the United States, see the 2007 tables on the Office of Personnel Management Web site.

For information on types of jobs and the ways in which the federal government classifies them into occupational groups, see the alphabetical listing on the OPM Web site.

To assess your skills and interests in relation to the federal job market, visit USAJobs.

Note: Participation in the EHLS program is not a guarantee of employment with the federal government.