- Northeastern: 11/01/2021
- Fellowship: 11/01/2021
The USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship Program seeks to attract outstanding individuals who are interested in pursuing careers in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). If you want to work on the front lines of some of the most pressing global challenges of our times — poverty, hunger, injustice, disease, environmental degradation, climate change, conflict and violent extremism – the Foreign Service of the U.S. Agency for International Development provides an opportunity to advance U.S. foreign policy interests and reflect the American people's compassion and support of human dignity. The Payne Fellowship, which provides up to $96,000 in benefits over two years for graduate school, internships, and professional development activities, is a unique pathway to the USAID Foreign Service.
Term Length: 2 years
US Citizenship Required
Minimum GPA: 3.2
- Applicants must be U.S. citizens.
- Applicants must be seeking admission to enter graduate school in the fall for a two-year program at a U.S. university. They can be in the senior year of their undergraduate studies, graduating by June, or they can be college graduates.
- Applicants must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or higher on a 4.0 scale at the time of application.
A panel of individuals with experience in the USAID Foreign Service and academia makes selections for the Payne Fellowship. The selection panel will consider candidates’ academic work, statements of interest, letters of recommendation, and honors and awards, as well as their community, extracurricular, and leadership activities. Consideration will be given to qualified applicants who, in addition to outstanding leadership skills and academic achievement, demonstrate financial need.
The Payne Fellowship Program awards up to ten fellowships valued at up to $48,000 annually for a two-year program. The award includes up to $22,000 per year toward tuition and mandatory fees for completion of a two-year master’s degree at a U.S. institution; a $16,000 stipend for each academic year for room, board, books and other education-related expenses; and up to $10,000 per year in stipend, housing, transportation, and related expenses for summer internships.
Payne Fellows will participate in two internships. The first, an internship working on international issues in Washington, DC, will occur in the summer after being selected and before the first year of graduate study. The second will be an overseas internship in a USAID Mission that takes place during the summer between the first and second years of graduate study. The program will provide stipends, housing, and transportation.
At the conclusion of two years of study, the Payne Fellow is expected to obtain a degree in international development or another area of relevance to the work of the USAID Foreign Service at a U.S. graduate or professional school approved by the Payne Program. Fellows who successfully complete the Payne Program and USAID Foreign Service entry requirements will receive appointments as Foreign Service Officers with the U.S. Agency for International Development. Each Payne Fellow who obtains a master’s degree is committed to a minimum of five years of service as a USAID Foreign Service Officer.
A completed online application includes the following:
- Background Information (e.g., name, contact information, international travel).
- A personal statement (in 600 words or less) that discusses the applicant’s reasons for applying, interest in foreign affairs, commitment to pursue a USAID Foreign Service career and any relevant experience or information.
- A statement (in 400 words or less) from the applicant that discusses his/her need for financial assistance to attend graduate school, including an explanation of:
- The financial assistance received during undergraduate studies
- Overall education-related debt
- Ability/plans to pay for graduate school independently
Two letters of recommendation:
- One from a faculty member who is well acquainted with the individual
- One from a community leader or other individual who can comment on the applicant’s non-academic accomplishments and his/her potential to serve as a USAID Foreign Service Officer.
- Note: In the online application, applicants will identify recommenders, who will be contacted by the program and asked to submit letters electronically. Below is a copy of the recommendation letter for your reference only.
Proof of U.S. citizenship with a copy of: (choose one)
- Birth certificate
- Certificate of U.S. citizenship
- U.S. passport
(Note: This should be uploaded in easy to read PDF format. Applicants are required to bring originals to the interview, if selected as a finalist.)
Student Aid Report (SAR) generated from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. If an applicant received financial aid during the most recent academic year, she/he is required to submit the SAR form. If an applicant did not receive financial aid during the most recent academic year, she/he must complete the FAFSA to generate a SAR for the 2019-2020 academic year.
- Note: Applicants will upload this into the application using PDF format.
Official Financial Aid Statement from your senior year, if you received financial aid.
- Note: Applicants will upload this into the application using PDF format. If you did not receive financial aid, you do not have to submit this.
Official Transcripts from ALL colleges and universities the applicant has attended for credit. Please use a school-generated transcript. An official transcript is best; a student copy is acceptable if it is in the format of an official transcript. (If selected for an interview, you will have to bring an official transcript, in a sealed envelope, to the interview.)