Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships

Summer 2017 and Academic Year 2017-18

The International and Foreign Language Education Office of the U.S. Department of Education (USED) has authorized the South Asia Institute as a National Resource Center and to award undergraduate and graduate Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships.  FLAS fellowships support undergraduate and graduate students who will study a modern South Asia language as an integral part of an academic program focusing on South Asia.  FLAS awards can be for Academic Year graduate student study at Columbia, or for intensive summer language study in the U.S. or abroad by undergraduate or graduate students.  All Academic Year fellows must enroll in one language and one South Asia area studies class per term in a given academic year.  Summer FLAS is for intensive language study only - applications for research or non-language programs will be rejected as ineligible.

Languages of Award:  SAI is authorized to award FLAS for Academic Year study at Columbia for the following languages: Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, Persian, Sinhala, Tamil and Urdu.  Summer study at Columbia or at approved programs in the US and abroad may include the above approved languages or other modern South Asia languages (Malayalam, Marathi, Telegu, etc., pending approval by USED).  For a list of Summer South Asia language programs, see the attached PDF file.  Students at the Elementary level must study at domestic summer programs unless there are no U.S. programs that meet FLAS standards.  Students studying Intermediate and Advanced languages may be eligible to study at programs outside the U.S.  Undergraduates are not allowed to apply for FLAS to study at the Elementary level in any language.

Language Levels:  Students may only apply to study Intermediate or Advanced level languages.  There is one exception for study at the Elementary level:  students who have acheived fluency or high advanced proficiency in one South Asia language may apply to learn a second South Asian language.  Evidence of high proficiency must be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Education before FLAS can be awarded to study at the Elementary level.  Such documentation might include on  the following:  a proficiency exam; transcript showing  Advanced language courses; or having earned a degree in which the language is the primary language of instruction.

Eligibility:  All applicants to FLAS must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.  Academic Year applicants must be enrolled or plan to enroll full-time in a graduate degree program at Columbia University. (Full-time equivalency may be applicable in a limited number of cases.)   Summer applicants must be enrolled in a undergraduate or graduate degree program, but do not have to be studying full-time during the academic year.

Graduate Academic Year FLAS:  Academic Year awards consist of $18,000 tuition and a stipend of $15,000.  The annual Academic Year (AY) FLAS competition at Columbia is open to students in GSAS, SIPA, and Teacher's College, and the Schools of Business, Journalism, Law, and Public Health.  All AY fellows must enroll in one language class and one South Asia area studies class per term. The annual Summer FLAS competiton is open to all graduate students in all Columbia schools.

Undergraduate and Graduate Summer FLAS: Summer awards cover tuition up to $5,000 and a stipend of $2,500.  Summer fellows must study at language programs that meet the standards of the US Department of Education for intensive study.  Summer programs must be intensive and equal to one year of academic year study.  Programs must be at least 140 hours of classroom instruction, and at least six weeks long.  Each individual program of study must be approved by USED in advance of any payment for tuition and fees. (Requests for approval should be submitted no later than one month before the begin date of the program).  Elementary level study must be within the U.S. with the exception that there are no programs for the target language located within the U.S.

Undergraduate Summer FLAS:  Undergraduate applicants for Summer may apply to study Intermediate or Advanced level languages.  Applications from undergraduates to study at the Elementary level will be rejected.   Summer awards consist of up to $5,000 in tuition costs, and a summer stipend of $2,500,   The annual Summer FLAS competition at Columbia is open to all Columbia College, General Studies, Engineering, and Barnard College undergraduates.  Incoming first year students are not eligible to apply for FLAS until the summer following their first enrollment at Columbia.

Study Abroad and Research Abroad FLAS:  Graduate students may apply to study abroad during the Academic Year.  All courses in a FLAS study abroad program must be taught in the target language (i.e. no English language instruction is allowed) and individual study programs must be reviewed and approved by USED.  All overseas programs require language and area studies components.  Study abroad FLAS will include tuition for the cost of the program, which is capped at the amount of the tuition award of $18,000.  There is no travel allotment for a study abroad award.   Doctoral students who have completed all coursework for the Ph.D. may apply for dissertation research abroad fellowships if the research project will be performed in the target language during the academic year.  Research abroad fellowships offer a stipend of $15,000 (no tuition or travel).  FLAS is not awarded for  dissertation write-up.  Students planning to submit an application for study abroad or research abroad FLAS must consult the Institute to review their proposed submission and applicable conditions well in advance of the FLAS application deadline.  AY FLAS funding is considered an "internal fellowship" and will impact the level of funding for Columbia doctoral students receiving multi-year fellowship funding through their departments.

Application and deadlines:  The next competition will be for Summer 2017 and Academic Year 2017-2018. The deadline for both will be announced in November 2016 but is expected to be in late February or early March 2017.  All applicants must apply on-line at   The application requires an information form, statement of purpose, two recommendations, and transcripts.   Students applying for Intermediate and Advanced language study must submit an evaluation by a language instructor as one of the recommendations.  Competitive priorities include 1) applicants who submit a FAFSA form demonstrating financial need; and 2) students who will plan to achieve Advanced or Superior levels of proficiency by the time of graduation.  Students at all levels of proficiency, except those who have acheived fluency, are encouraged to apply.

Downloadable Announcement Flyers:  These PDF flyers contain general information about the previous competition.  The information is generaly applicable to other competition cycles.  The details of subsequent competititons including the amounts of award, languages of award, etc. may vary from year to year.

Graduate FLAS Academic Year 2017-18

Summer 2017

Summer Language Programs in the U.S. and Abroad

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at <>