Fulbright Foreign Student Program

Fulbright letter of reference [PDF, 46 KB]

The Fulbright Foreign Student Program is designed primarily to strengthen African universities by providing grantees with a U.S. higher education degree.  Recent graduates, women, and those from under-served communities will be considered when recruiting.  Grantees selected for degree study will be funded for a maximum of 2 years.  All awards are contingent upon approval by the J. William Fulbright Scholarship Board (FSB), availability of funds, and successful academic placement.

The application deadline for Benin is June 30th, 2021.

Please note that Fulbright is a long process and finalists, or selected applicants will not begin their studies in the US until January 2022.

Candidates pre-selected will go through interview at the US embassy in Cotonou between July and August 2021. Applicants living abroad have the possibility of doing their interview via skype.

To be eligible, candidates must fulfill the following criteria:

1. Applicants must be citizens or nationals of Benin, or permanent residents holding a valid passport issued by the Government of Benin.
2- Applicants must have at least the equivalent of four (4) years of university study and the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree. Applicants that have three (3) years of tertiary study should have the equivalent of thirteen (13) years of primary and secondary school and their undergraduate degree should allow them to be eligible to pursue higher education in their home country. Please note that final equivalency decisions will be determined by each U.S. university and not all institutions will accept three (3) year undergraduate degrees.

3. Applicants should have a sufficient level of English proficiency to enable them to engage in full-time graduate level study in the U.S., as demonstrated in interviews and via standardized tests.

4. Applicants must meet the minimum scores on required standardized tests; these test scores should be submitted to Mr. Laurent Akpo at akpol@state.gov by June 30.

5. Applicants should have a high motivation and a serious commitment to completing the program as scheduled and to returning home.

6. Applicants with no extensive or recent U.S. experience will be given preference.

7.No applicant may receive more than one Fulbright Student grant, including Humphrey Scholar alumni. This does not apply to the Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Program alumni.

8.Local employees staff (LES) abroad employed by the State Department/United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are ineligible for grants during the period of their employment and for one year following the termination of employment.

9.Applicants must be candidates for a Master’s degree in their current field. Individuals seeking Ph.D., MBA, Law, or non-degree programs are not eligible for the LTE component.

10.Applicants in the fields or sub-fields of English, TEFL, and Linguistics must have a minimum TOEFL score of 65 to apply for LTE.

11.Nominees must be available to begin their LTE training in January 2022. TOEFL is required of all applicants (if TOEFL is unavailable, then the IELTS exam is acceptable); scores must be available by the application deadline. A score of 70 on the Paper-delivered Test and 90 on the IBT (Internet-based Test) is desirable; however, scores of 80/100 are preferable. Candidates should take their first TOEFL by May/June 2021; candidates scoring less than 80/100 should re-take the TOEFL as soon as possible. Consideration will be given for a limited number of nominees with a TOEFL score in the range of 49-65 (paper-based) / 60-79 (internet-based) to be placed in Long Term English/LTE language

Degree Objective and Grant Duration

Awards are granted as follows:

  • Degree program: One (1) to two (2) years of funding (depending on the degree length) towards one degree only – Master’s or Ph.D. (Eligible grantees may apply for one renewal grant); or
  • Non-degree research (Visiting Researcher): Participation in an academic year (9-10 months) non-degree research program. (Grants are not renewable).



ECA provides a maximum of TWO years of funding for a master’s degree or doctoral program. Students accepted to degree programs less than two years are eligible to receive funding through the designated period of degree completion – as stipulated by the host institution. Master’s applicants are given placement priority.  Ph.D. candidates who secure funding from outside sources will remain under Fulbright visa sponsorship rather than have sponsorship transferred to the host institution. Ph.D. candidates unable to secure funding for the additional years will return home without completing their degree.

The Foreign Student Program is extremely competitive and high-test scores are crucial.

TOEFL is required of all nominees (if TOEFL is unavailable in your country, then the IELTS exam is acceptable but IIE cannot provide IELTS vouchers); scores must be available when the application is submitted to IIE. A score of 70 on the Paper-delivered Test and 90 on the IBT (Internet-based Test) is desirable; however, 80/100 is preferable.  Candidates scoring less than 80/100 should re-take the TOEFL as soon as possible. Consideration will be given for a limited number of nominees with a TOEFL score in the range of 49-65 / 58-76 to be placed in LTE language training. LTE grantees must re-take the TOEFL exam again and score adequately to qualify for Master’s degree placement. For a score lower than those mentioned above, DO NOT wait before retaking the test. Take the TOEFL before the application deadline by clicking http://www.ets.org/. Please note that the US embassy in Cotonou does not administer standardized tests.

  1. GRE is required for candidates in all fields except law and business. Candidates should re-take the GRE if they are below the fiftieth percentile in any section.
  2. GMAT is required in the field of business in lieu of the GRE.  A minimum 550 GMAT score is required for master’s candidates; a minimum score of 600 is required for Ph.D. candidates.  An applicant must submit a sufficient GMAT score for submission to universities. For a score lower than those mentioned above, DO NOT wait before retaking the test. If your country does not offer GMAT testing, nominees should take the GRE.
  3. Applicants must list IIE as a recipient of the test scores.  For TOEFL (both PDT and IBT) and GRE, the IIE code is 2326. For GMAT, the IIE code is F0F-4J-28. (F zero F-4J-28). The applicant’s name on the Panel of Nomination Form, application, test registration form, and medical form MUST be the same as the name listed on the passport.

To apply, click on the following link https://apply.iie.org/ffsp2022 

Please make sure you have the following documents ready as they will be needed in the application process.

  1. Certified copies of your university transcripts and diplomas both in French and English. The embassy only accepts translation done by Benin Ministry of Foreign Affairs or a public office in your country of residence. Your transcripts/diplomas may be in a language different than French, but they must be ultimately translated in English.
  2. Three (3) letters of reference. The letters should be from professors or employers, not from friends or family members. A template of the recommendation letter is available here.


Fulbright application deadline for Benin is by June 30th, 2021.

If you have any questions, please write to Mr. Laurent Akpo, the Cultural Affairs Assistant of the US embassy in Cotonou at akpol@state.gov.