Foreign Language Scholarships

Demand is High for Multi-Lingual Professionals and Translators

As the global community becomes more interconnected, the demand for multilingual professionals continues to grow. The Federal government, as well as business and industry, are in constant need of qualified graduates with advanced degrees in a variety of foreign languages. To answer this need, both the public and private sectors offer valuable scholarship opportunities to foreign language majors specializing in designated ‘critical need languages’, as well as the more commonly taught foreign languages. Foreign language majors will have a variety of career paths from which to choose, including international trade, education, foreign relations and national security.

The most common sources of scholarships for foreign language majors are:

Federal Scholarships for Foreign Language Studyforeign language scholarships

A wide range of scholarship opportunities for foreign language majors are supported by the federal government. The current shortage of qualified translators and interpreters, particularly in the critical languages and dialects of the Middle East and Asia, has prompted Washington to develop financial aid programs that support and encourage students pursuing foreign language studies. These programs typically target students who intend to pursue careers in foreign relations, national security or the military.

State Supported Scholarships for Foreign Language Study

The majority of government scholarships for foreign language students are Federally based, however interested students may find some opportunities at the state and regional levels. State supported foreign language scholarships are typically designed to support students pursuing teaching degrees in the more commonly taught languages, such as Spanish, French or German. These scholarship programs are generally more prevalent in states with large immigrant populations, where there is a greater need for bilingual teachers and instructors in English as a second language. The majority of state-based foreign language scholarships are award-for-service programs, and students will be expected to fulfill a term of service teaching in a designated critical need facility or community.

Students looking for foreign language scholarships at the state level should visit the dedicated website of their state’s Department of Higher Education for information on any programs for which they may be eligible.

Foreign Language Scholarships from Colleges and Universities

Students pursuing the study of foreign languages will find a large number of scholarship opportunities available through their own college of attendance. Universities with large foreign language departments often offer lucrative scholarships for their attending students. As with all campus-based scholarships, programs will vary greatly from school to school, and students should consult their college’s office of financial aid for information on possible financial aid opportunities that may help them pay for their college education.

The following examples are typical of the types of foreign language scholarships available through colleges and universities.

Foreign Language Scholarships from the Private Sector

The private sector is a prime source for scholarships dedicated to students pursuing the study of foreign languages. Many of these scholarships are supported by businesses and corporations with holdings overseas, who are always in need of qualified professionals who can represent their interests in a foreign market. Other scholarships for foreign language students are supported by organizations dedicated to promoting good will between nations. These scholarship programs may target students with an interest in working with charitable foundations, teaching in foreign countries, or translating for government and private sector officials.

The following examples should better illustrate the types of scholarships available from the private sector for students majoring in a foreign language.

Students pursuing a degree in foreign languages will find a wide range of professional career paths open to them, from employment with multinational corporations to working in national security. The importance of qualified professionals with foreign language expertise can not be overestimated, and students with an interest in studying a foreign language will find a wide range of scholarship opportunities designed to help them realize their educational and professional goals.