Fulbright Pre-academic Programs The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) provides funding for pre-academic programs, an integral component of its Fulbright Foreign Student Program. Pre-academic programs, which take place immediately before grantees begin their academic programs, include intensive English instruction, English language refinement, field-of-study instruction (if required) and orientation to U.S. society, culture and institutions. All pre-academic program expenses (room and board, books and materials, and instruction, plus a $200 transit allowance) are covered. Travel is arranged by the Fulbright nominating agency, either the Fulbright Commission or U.S. Embassy in the Fulbright student’s home country, except as noted below. During this period of adjustment to life and study in the U.S. Fulbright students are also introduced to the Fulbright community, as well as the benefits and responsibilities of their Fulbright grants. IIE is careful to assign a concentration of Fulbright grantees to all pre-academic sites so they can immediately begin networking and become part of the Fulbright community.
Participating Fulbright grantees attend one of the following types of programs:
Intensive English ProgramsFulbright grantees attend over 60 Intensive English Programs (IEPs) throughout the U.S. IIE selects these programs, in coordination with ECA, based on academic excellence, student services and facilities, geographic distribution, and dedication to the Fulbright Program. IIE staff members closely monitor Fulbright students during their period of study, update their J-visa immigration status, and counsel them through any academic, physical or emotional issues.
For Grantees Without Academic Placements: Grantees that arrive without academic placements must achieve all standardized test scores necessary for academic admission while studying English full time, typically for six or eight months, beginning in January or March. IIE staff register grantees for admissions tests (TOEFL, GRE, GMAT). Please note: IIE staff will arrange travel to academic institutions for this group of grantees only.
For Grantees with Academic Placements: Grantees with academic placements may also be assigned to intensive English programs if their language proficiency requires full-time study. These programs begin in the summer prior to their academic programs and typically run from four to twelve weeks.
Specially Designed Fulbright Pre-academic Programs
Because few regularly scheduled programs at IEPs offer a combination of English language refinement, academic skills and orientation to U.S. academic life, ECA and IIE have collaborated to design curricula for special programs exclusively for Fulbright grantees. Through a solicitation process IIE selects up to ten U.S. universities annually to host three- to six-week programs of English for Graduate Studies. These programs, which take place immediately before grantees begin their academic programs, focus on advanced language and academic skills that students will need to succeed in their graduate programs, including the graduate seminar method of instruction, academic integrity, research methodology, and academic writing. Students also attend social events to meet Americans and are introduced to U.S. culture through targeted field trips and community activities.
Field-of-Study Professional Skills Development (if REQUIRED for academic admission)
These programs for students in certain academic disciplines, such as law, business and public health, usually take place at their academic program sites. Students assigned to these programs attend classes with other non-Fulbright students in their respective disciplines. Although field-of-study orientations usually require a minimum TOEFL score for admission, some have English language components also. Programs usually last from four to six weeks. IIE will only cover the cost of these programs if they are required for academic admission. Grantees, however, may attend any orientation if they wish to cover the costs themselves.
For a complete listing of programs and more detailed information, see the Pre-academic Training Program Directory.
Fulbright foreign students not participating in one of the above programs are invited to a gateway orientation. Please visit the Gateway Orientation section for additional information.
Please note the following:
- All Fulbright grantees are eligible to attend a pre-academic program or Gateway Orientation, but not all can be assigned due to space and funding limitations.
- Dependents and significant others are not permitted to accompany grantees to their pre-academic program or Gateway Orientation under any circumstances or at any time. ECA and IIE reserve the right to discontinue funding for grantees that have dependents accompany them during a pre-academic program or Gateway Orientation.
- Grantees should arrive on the reporting date that appears on their Terms of Appointment. Grantees that arrive before the reporting date will be responsible for their own living arrangements, expenses and health insurance.
- Grantees are expected to remain in attendance for the entire assigned program and to participate in all aspects of the program. Grantees must receive permission from IIE in advance if they plan to miss any classes or required activities.
- Before leaving home, Fulbright grantees participating in pre-academic programs should carefully read Information for Current Grantees.
- Fulbright Commissions or U.S. Embassies will ticket grantees to their pre-academic program site and from their pre-academic site to their academic institutions.
- Preacademic Timeline
- January – March: Long-term intensive English grantees begin language study and testing;
- April: IIE releases updated Pre-academic Directory with announcement of pre-academic procedures; outreach to Commissions with self-placed grantees
- April – June: IIE reviews applications and assigns all grantees with academic placement to pre-academic programs, including those from LASPAU and AMIDEAST; outreach again to Commissions with self-placed grantees
- April- June: IIE communicates assignments to Commissions and Embassies and prepares Preacademic Terms of Appointment; grantees sign and return their Pre-academic Terms of Appointment, which confirm their attendance; IIE issues forms DS-2019 for grantees to obtain U.S. J-1 visas
- May – August: Grantees arrive at pre-academic sties and begin programs
- August – September: Grantees leave pre-academic sites for their academic programs
Click here for FAQs about the program.Solicitations for specially designed Fulbright pre-academic contract programs are provided to a large number of colleges and universities across the United States. If you are interested in potentially receiving solicitations for future competitions or form more information, please contact:
English and Pre-academic Programs
809 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017-3580