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Gilman Scholarship

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Gilman Scholarship WinnersScholarship Overview

Do you receive a federal Pell Grant? Are you interested in studying abroad? 

If you answered yes to both of these questions, we strongly encourage you to apply for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program!   

The U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad, providing them with skills critical to our national security and economic prosperity. To be eligible for the Gilman scholarship, applicants must be undergraduate students receiving a Federal Pell Grant during the time of application or provide proof that they will be receiving a Pell Grant during the term of their study abroad program or internship.  The Gilman scholarship awards up to $5,000 for a semester abroad, plus up to an additional $3,000 for students studying critically needed languages.  

The Gilman-McCain Scholarship also provides awards of $5,000 for child dependents of active duty service members to study or intern abroad on credit-bearing programs. 

The Gilman scholarship encourages applicants to study in non-traditional locations, i.e. locations outside Western Europe. Gilman also encourages applications from students with diverse ethnic backgrounds, students with disabilities and students who are enrolled in fields of study that are under-represented in study abroad programs.

Application Tip: Be sure to mention in your essays that VCU has MSI (minority status institution) designation; applicants from MSI institutions will get preference!

View other eligibility requirements.

Application and Essay Writing Support

Interested students can review an overview of the scholarship application. There are three essays required as part of the scholarship application: the Statement of Purpose Essay and the two Community Impact Essays, which are the Building Mutual Understanding Essay and the Follow-on Service Project Proposal. For those applying for a Critical Need Language Award, an additional essay is required.

The Gilman Scholarship has two award cycles every year. View the application deadlines.

Daunted by the process of applying for a national scholarship? This scholarship does not require letters of recommendation, and does not have a minimum GPA requirement. Plus, the advisers in the Education Abroad and the National Scholarship offices are available to support you through the application process. VCU students have had a roughly 40% success rate in receiving the Gilman scholarship. We have all served as readers for the Gilman scholarship and have good knowledge of what a competitive application looks like. 

We are here to help you, so please make good use of our services.

You are welcome to make an appointment to meet with an Education Abroad adviser or staff in the National Scholarship Office to discuss your application or review your essays.

Writing Workshops

Every semester the Education Abroad Office hosts a Gilman Writing Workshop about a month prior to the Gilman application deadline. We hope you will join us for the workshop but if you are not able to attend, please watch the video of a past workshop below.