USSP Scholarship Program
The United States-South Pacific Scholarship Program, authorized by the U.S. Congress and funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, is a competitive, merit-based scholarship program that provides opportunities for degree study at U.S. institutions of higher education. The scholarship program will include a summer internship in Washington, D.C. as well as a four- to five-week community service project in the student’s home country. Candidates from the following countries, who meet specific selection criteria, are eligible for the program: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. The U.S.-South Pacific (USSP) Scholarship Program is administered by the East-West Center on behalf of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The Program provides educational opportunities for academically talented individuals from South Pacific countries to pursue bachelor’s or master’s degree study at U.S. institutions in fields that are directly relevant to development needs in the Pacific islands region. The Program is also intended to allow participants opportunities to obtain a broader understanding of the United States.
- Applicants must have completed secondary school in their respective educational system at the time of the application to the undergraduate program. In some countries this means having completed “Form 6.” In other countries, this may mean having completed “Grade 12.” Note: “Form 6” is not an EWC form that you must complete and return to the Center.
- Individuals who have completed some undergraduate level courses, but have not obtained a bachelor’s degree, are also eligible for this program.
- Applicants must be citizens of one of the sovereign Pacific Island countries listed above. Individuals who have dual citizenship, one of which is from the United States, are not eligible.
- Individuals who have already received the equivalent of a four-year United States bachelor’s degree are not eligible to apply for bachelor’s degree study, but may apply for the bridging program leading to a master’s degree.
- Because an objective of the program is to provide an educational exchange experience to those not previously afforded such an opportunity, preference will usually be given to candidates who have not had recent extensive experience in the United States. Preference may also be given to candidates who have not had extensive opportunities for study at educational institutions outside the Pacific Islands region (i.e., outside the countries listed in paragraph one above.)
- Scholarship recipients must be able to meet the requirements of the Exchange Visitor (J-1) visa program.
- Participants are expected to return home following the conclusion of this scholarship award to complete the J-visa two-year home residency requirement and to share the knowledge and experience they have acquired during the program in their home country.
U.S. Baccalaureate Degree
Scholarships are available on a competitive basis to individuals who wish to pursue bachelor’s degree study in the United States. Awards are given initially for one year, but will be reviewed annually and may be extended up to a maximum of four years. During the first year students will usually be enrolled at the University of Hawai‘i. Subsequent support may be given for a National Student Exchange (NSE) year at selected universities in the continental United States. The program will assist with applications to other institutions based on the student’s academic record and degree interests.
Bridging Program Leading to a U.S. Master’s Degree (Students with 3-Yr. Bachelor’s Degree)
Scholarships are available on a competitive basis to individuals who have successfully completed a three-year or four-year bachelor’s degree and who are interested in pursuing a master’s degree at an accredited university in the United States. Awards are given initially for one year of course work at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa campus. During this period, scholarship recipients are given the opportunity to qualify for application to U.S. master’s degree programs. Some master’s programs may not require a bridging year, depending on prior study and academic performance during the first year. Applicants accepted into a master’s degree program at an accredited university in the United States may receive additional scholarship support contingent upon admission as a classified graduate student. Applicants who have completed both an undergraduate degree and a post-graduate diploma or honors degree may not require a full bridging year, depending on departmental program application deadlines.
Cultural and Educational Enrichment Component
In addition to degree study, USSP students participate in educational enrichment and leadership training activities at the East-West Center and in other parts of the United States or Pacific islands region. The enrichment programs may include lectures, group discussion, seminars, and projects designed to help participants develop a broader understanding of the United States and shared concerns facing the United States, the Pacific and Asia. At the East-West Center, a weekly Wednesday Evening Seminar brings in renowned experts on a variety of themes relevant to the needs of the South Pacific. Opportunities to be involved in community service locally, as well as a short home stay experience with an American family will provide an opportunity to enhance cross-cultural awareness. Scholarship recipients are required to participate in summer school sessions, except for the internship and community service project dates.
Internship and Community Service Component
The scholarship program will include a summer internship in Washington, D.C. as well as a four- to five-week community service project in the student’s home country. Graduate students usually do their internship in their first summer and community service during the second summer. Undergraduate students typically do their internship in their second summer and community service during their third summer.
Eligible Fields of Study
Eligible fields of study are drawn from the standard liberal arts curriculum and other selected fields, with priority given to agriculture, business*, computer science, education, environmental studies, journalism, political science, public administration, and related fields. If a proposed field of study is not among the priority fields, the applicant should give special attention to explaining how this course of study would support the goals of the program. Support is not available for professional degree programs such as medicine (M.D.), masters in business administration (MBA)*, or law (J.D.).
NOTE: *Business study is supported at the undergraduate level only, NOT at the master’s degree level. Please consult the University of Hawai‘i website for available degrees and programs: www.hawaii.edu.
Selection will be made by a U.S.-based academic review committee that may include Pacific Islands and other specialists from the East-West Center, the University of Hawai‘i, a representative of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and a Pacific Islands student representative. In selecting scholarship awardees, the review committee will consider academic merit as well as evidence of leadership potential and experience; community service; cross-cultural knowledge, experience and sensitivity; capacity for change; adaptability; ability to pursue independent study; career potential and employment history; English language proficiency; creativity; initiative; self-expression; anticipated kinds of post-graduation contributions to home country and region; with preference given to those with little or no previous U.S. or other international study experience.
Award Provisions and Conditions
Scholarship recipients will receive the following:
- Tuition and fees payable to the U.S. college or university at which the student is studying.
- Monthly maintenance allowance for residence hall room costs, food, and incidental expenses.
The exact amount will vary and depend on the location of the recipient’s program.
- Health insurance in accordance with the Exchange Visitor regulations.
- Settling-in and book allowance.
- Initial and terminal air transportation to all official activity sites.
This scholarship is subject to U.S. Government and State of Hawai‘i taxes. Payment of taxes is the responsibility of the student.
Note: The USSP scholarship covers the costs of the scholarship recipients’ study, travel, and living expenses. The USSP scholarship does not cover any dependent (spouse or children) costs. Applicants with dependents should inquire about scholarship restrictions on bringing dependents to the United States by writing USSP@EastWestCenter.org
Scholarship recipients are required to come to the United States on the Exchange Visitor (J-1) visa and are subject to all provisions of the Exchange Visitor Program. The intent of the Exchange Visitor Program is to have participants return to their home countries upon program completion to share and apply the knowledge and experience gained during their program at the Center. Exchange visitors on U.S. Department of State sponsorship are required to return to their home country for an aggregate period of two years after completing their exchange visitor program per Section 212 (e). Subjectivity to 212(e) should not affect the procurement of any other visa types. For further information see http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/info/info_1288.html
Downloadable application materials are at: www.eastwestcenter.org/studentprograms
Application packets may also be obtained from U.S. embassies or consulates located in Suva, Fiji; Auckland or Wellington, New Zealand; Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; Apia, Samoa; or from the Award Services Office at the East-West Center, 1601 East-West Road, Honolulu, Hawaii 96848-1601. Further inquiries: Telephone +1 (808) 944-7735; Fax: +1 (808) 944-7730, Email: USSP@EastWestCenter.org. All inquiries should reference 2010 United States-South Pacific (USSP) Scholarship Program competition.
A complete application must include:
- The completed application form, typed (preferred) or printed very carefully.
- A legible copy of the biodata page of the applicant’s passport from one of the eligible countries.
- Three East-West Center references from faculty or others familiar with the applicant’s academic and leadership potential. The references, completed on the attached official East-West Center’s USSP Scholarship Program Letter of Reference Form, should be sent separately to the Award Services Office, East-West Center by the individuals providing the references. These letters must meet the deadline requirements stated below. Please see the “Tips” section below.
- A certified original or certified photocopy of academic records (transcripts) from high school and any previous university work, Sixth Form (and Seventh Form, if available) examination results, and bursary examination results. An official record bears the actual signature of the registrar and the embossed seal or official stamp of the issuing institution and has been sent directly by the issuing institution to the East-West Center.
- TOEFL scores if available.
Tips for a Successful USSP Application
- Use a word-processor or a typewriter to complete your USSP application if at all possible. Remember to include whether you are seeking a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree program in the USSP scholarship and be sure to include your preferred major field of study.
- If you do not have access to a word processor or a typewriter, please be sure to print your information very clearly in black ink on the forms. Remember, hand writing is different from culture to culture, and your hand writing could be difficult to understand in a different country. Black ink shows up better than lighter colored inks on scanned or faxed copies. Take special care if you are hand-writing telephone numbers or email addresses; if we cannot read these, we will not be able to contact you.
- If your preferred major field of study does not match the fields listed in the USSP scholarship announcement, you must provide a brief but convincing reason for the selection panel that explains how your major would contribute to the development needs of your country.
- Follow all of the instructions very carefully:
When the instructions say “Minimum length 500 (or 250) words,” take your time to write a first draft using separate sheets of paper. Organize your essays and write them clearly so that the reader will find them easy to understand. Correct any spelling or grammatical mistakes, and make sure the final draft is exactly as you would like the selection committee to see it. Do not try to fit 500 words in the space provided on the application form itself: attach separate sheets of paper to the application form, clearly labeled with your name, and “Essay 1, 2, or 3,” as appropriate.
- Please do not exceed the maximum length for the essays.
- Three (3) references are requested: be sure to provide three official USSP/EWC reference forms duly signed and completed by your referees. Any generic letters “To Whom It May Concern” or more than 1 year old should only be used as supplemental to the three required EWC form letters. Two of these should be academic references from referees able to judge your academic ability. No more than one should be a personal reference.
- Reference letters from family members should not be submitted. Generic letters of recommendation (“To Whom It May Concern”) older than 3 years should not be submitted.
- Please instruct your referees who intend to send electronic versions of the EWC reference letters as attachments to name the file using the applicant’s name as a part of the file name—not the EWC or the professor’s name.
- Please do not submit primary school or middle (junior high school) certificates or awards. Please do not submit lengthy articles, research papers, or other extraneous information; such material will not be considered by the committee.
- Please make every attempt to scan your completed application and supporting documents and email the entire application to USSP@EastWestCenter.org. Please try to combine the scanned documents to make a single .PDF file, which is much easier to process than receiving each page as an individual file. Include your name on every page of your application.
- If you do not have access to email, please fax the application to East-West Center’s Award Services Office at +1-808-944-7730.
Note: After emailing or faxing your application you MUST also send the application in hard copy to the East-West Center by fast post or express mail courier, post-marked no later than February 1.
- Before asking questions about the USSP application process, please read all of the application instructions thoroughly.
- If you have any remaining questions about the application process, please send a message to USSP@EastWestCenter.org. Please use this address to verify receipt of your application; when asking for verification, be sure to inquire well in advance of the deadline. Please note your full name and country of citizenship when making any inquiries.
- If you have a question, but do not have Internet or email access, you can call the East-West Center’s Award Services Office at +1-800-944-7735, or fax the office at +1-808-944-7730.
- A complete application must be received by the Award Services Office at the East-West Center no later than February 1, 2011.
Due to difficulties in estimating the timing for mailing an application to meet the deadline, you may email or fax a copy of your original application to ensure it arrives no later than February 1, 2011, in time for consideration.
Note: If an application is submitted via email attachment or by fax, the original application and documents must still be sent immediately in hard copy by mail to the Award Services Office at the East-West Center.
- Emailed applications are preferred to faxes. Please complete the full application packet and gather all necessary supplemental material (academic records, degree certificates, passport biodata page scan) and scan all the documents as .PDF or .JPEG files. Applications may be sent by email to this address: USSP@EastWestCenter.org; copies of the application forms and academic records will be accepted provided they are received no later than February 1, 2011 (Hawaiian Standard Time).
- Faxed copies of the application forms and academic records will also be accepted provided they are received no later than February 1, 2011. The Award Services Office fax number is +1 (808) 944-7730. Please be advised that up to a week prior to the application deadline, attempts to send materials by fax may result in a busy signal due to the high volume of incoming transmissions. Note: Calling the EWC Award Services Office will not facilitate fax transmissions. Do not wait until February 1, 2011 to fax the application. Faxed documents must include a cover sheet indicating the total number of pages to be expected; the applicant’s name must appear on all pages of every document faxed.
- Applicants who are re-applying for the USSP scholarship may request that their academic records, letters of recommendation, and transcripts previously submitted (within the past two years only) be used for the current round of USSP selection. A new 2010 USSP application form and updated answers to the essay questions will be required for consideration for the new USSP competition round.
Award Decision and Start Dates
Award decisions are expected to be announced on East-West Center’s website www.eastwestcenter.org/studentprograms (scroll down to USSP) by April 1, 2011. Awards will begin in early August 2011.
Written and E-mail Inquiries
Written inquiries should be directed to:
United States – South Pacific Scholarship Program
Award Services Office
1601 East-West Road
Honolulu, Hawaii 96848-1601
Email inquiries may be addressed to: USSP@EastWestCenter.org
Individuals should note their country of citizenship and permanent residence when inquiring in order to facilitate a quick response.