Fulbright Foreign Student Program

Fulbright letter of reference [PDF, 46 KB]

The US embassy in Cotonou is seeking applications for the Fulbright Foreign Student Program/FSP for the 2023-2024 academic year. The FSP 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. Candidates pre-selected will go through interview at the US embassy in Cotonou between July and August 2022. Applicants living abroad have the possibility of doing their interview online.

The application deadline for Benin is midnight June 21, 2022.

The Fulbright Foreign Student Program implements zero-tolerance plagiarism policy. In processing applications, the U.S. State Department Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs/ECA and the Institute of International Education/IIE follow the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of plagiarism: Plagiarism is the wrongful appropriation or purloining and publication as one’s own, of the ideas, or the expression of the ideas of another. ECA and IIE use software to help identify any instance of plagiarism. If plagiarism appears in any part of the application, it may result in candidates’ disqualification from participation in the program. ECA and IIE will review all applications that are flagged for plagiarism and make a final determination on the applicant’s status. The Fulbright Foreign Student Program application includes a plagiarism certification.

Program Categories:

  • 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.

MEDICAL CLEARANCE AND HEALTH INSURANCE

Candidates MUST provide a certificate of good mental and physical health issued by an authorized health official or licensed physician on the basis of a medical examination performed no earlier than six months prior to the grant start date.

The State Department funds the enrollment of Fulbright grantees in the U.S. host university medical insurance plan, when available.  Students are enrolled in ECA’s Health Benefits Plan (ASPE) as a secondary coverage plan.  More information about applicants’ health plan is available in their Terms Of Appointment/TOA. Medical care and treatment in the U.S. may be very expensive and insurance purchased by ECA may not cover all medical needs, in which case the grantee will be held responsible for any additional costs.  This may include pre-existing conditions and dental and vision care.    

  1. Nominees must be citizens or nationals of the nominating country, or permanent residents holding a valid passport issued by the nominating country.
  2. Nominees must have at least the equivalent of four (4) years of university study and the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree.  Nominees 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. Nominees 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. Nominees must meet the minimum scores on required standardized tests; these test scores should be submitted to, and reviewed by the US embassy in Cotonou to ensure that they meet the standards listed below under Testing. Any nominee who does not meet these standards will not move forward in the placement process.
  5. Nominees should have a high motivation and a serious commitment to completing the program as scheduled and to returning home.
  6. Nominees 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. Nominees 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 2023.

Note: LTE Program is for degree-seeking candidates (Master’s level) for participation in long-term English (LTE) language training for a period of up to eight months. LTE participants who are not successful in gaining an academic placement within an allowable period of time will return home. Participants may not bring dependents to their LTE program.

The Foreign Student Program is extremely competitive and high standardized test scores are crucial.  Nominees should familiarize themselves with the test form and practice tests.  Princeton Review, Kaplan, and ETS materials are found at www.toefl.org, www.gre.org, and www.gmac.org.

  1. TOEFL is required of all nominees (if TOEFL is unavailable in Benin, then the IELTS exam is acceptable; 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, a score of 90/100 is preferableCandidates should take their first TOEFL by May/June 2022; 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 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, candidates should retake the test. If a nominee cannot score at least 60 on the IBT, they cannot be considered for the program.
  2. 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 Candidates should plan to have one GRE score submitted by October 1.
  3. 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.  An applicant must submit a sufficient GMAT score for submission to universities.  For a score lower than those mentioned above, candidates should re-take the test. If GMAT testing is not offered in Benin, candidates should take the GRE.

Applicants must list IIE as a recipient of the test scores.  For TOEFL (both PBT 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 test registration form MUST be the same as the name listed on the passport.

To apply, click on the following link https://apply.iie.org/ffsp2023

Please ensure you have the documents listed below 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 the Beninese 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 midnight June 21st, 2022.

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.

Good luck.