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ASU leads the way in Fulbright awards

December 06, 2007

ASU students who apply for Fulbright awards to study overseas are among the most successful in the nation, with 40 percent of students who applied being chosen to receive the grants.

This year, 18 ASU students were offered the awards out of 45 applicants, though just 16 accepted. Even with 16 honorees, ASU ranks fourth in the nation among leading Fulbright institutions in its acceptance rate.

Stanford University entered 61 students to win 18 awards in the application process, and UCLA put forth 38 applicants to win 12. Harvard’s rate of acceptance is 22 percent.

Janet Burke, associate dean of Barrett, the Honors College and director of the national scholarship advisement office, attributes ASU students’ success to supportive faculty and ASU’s increased focus on global studies.

“The attention the university is paying to global studies, the proliferation of foreign languages offered, and the cutting-edge research in which so many faculty members are engaged all translate into a student body that is well-informed and well-disposed to study and research in foreign countries,” Burke says. “The faculty members at ASU also tend to be very helpful to students in formulating their plans and projects, and supportive in helping them establish the necessary contacts overseas.

“Then there is the fact that success breeds interest. When one student in a department or college wins a major award, I typically will see a stream of students from that department coming into my office the next year.”

Twelve ASU students won Fulbrights last year and 14 in 2005, ranking ASU among the top schools. Fulbright students apply for a particular country and find specialists who are willing to work with them on their chosen course of study, receiving full travel, living and academic expenses for an academic year.