www.paynefellows.org
The USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship Program seeks to attract outstanding young people who are interested in pursuing careers in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). If you want to work on the front lines of some of the most pressing global challenges of our times — poverty, hunger, injustice, disease, environmental degradation, climate change, conflict and violent extremism – the Foreign Service of the U.S. Agency for International Development provides an opportunity to advance U.S. foreign policy interests and reflect the American people’s compassion and support of human dignity. The Payne Fellowship, which provides up to $90,000 in benefits over two years for graduate school, internships, and professional development activities, provides a unique pathway to the USAID Foreign Service.


Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens.
  • Applicants must be seeking admission to enter graduate school in the fall of 2015 for a two-year program at a U.S. university.  They can be in the senior year of their undergraduate studies, graduating by June 2015, or they can be college graduates.
  • Applicants must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or higher on a 4.0 scale at the time of application.


General Information

Fellowships for Graduate Studies:  The Payne Fellowship Program awards five fellowships valued at up to $45,000 annually for a two-year program.  The award includes up to $20,000 per year toward tuition and mandatory fees for completion of a two-year master’s degree at a U.S. institution; a $15,000 stipend for each academic year for room, board, books and other education-related expenses; and up to $10,000 per year in stipend, housing, transportation, and related expenses for summer internships (see below).  At the conclusion of two years of study, the Payne Fellow is expected to obtain a degree in international development or another area of relevance to the work of the USAID Foreign Service at a U.S. graduate or professional school approved by the Payne Program.  Fellows who successfully complete the Payne Program and USAID Foreign Service entry requirements will receive appointments as Foreign Service Officers with the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Orientation: New Payne Fellows will participate in an orientation at Howard University in May, shortly after their selection. The purposes of this orientation are to familiarize the Fellows with all aspects of the fellowship and to enhance their understanding of, and skills for, international development careers.

Two Summer Internships: Payne Fellows will participate in two internships. The first, an internship working on international issues in Washington, DC, will occur in the summer after being selected and before the first year of graduate study. The second will be an overseas internship in a USAID Mission that takes place during the summer between the first and second years of graduate study.  The program will provide stipends, housing, and transportation.

Mentoring: Each Fellow will receive mentoring throughout the duration of the fellowship as well as during his/her early employment at USAID.

Curriculum: Fellows must obtain graduate degrees in international affairs or a related subject such as development, economics, history, political science, public administration, communications, public policy, business administration foreign languages, agriculture, environmental sciences, or urban planning at a graduate or professional school approved by the Payne Program. Studies in law do not satisfy this requirement.  Applicants apply to two-year graduate programs at U.S. universities simultaneously with their application to the Payne Program.

Employment/Contractual Obligations: Fellows who successfully complete the Payne Program and USAID Foreign Service entry requirements will receive appointments as USAID Foreign Service Officers.  Each Payne Fellow who obtains a master’s degree is committed to a minimum of three years of service as a USAID Foreign Service Officer. Candidates who do not successfully complete the Payne Program and the subsequent three year service obligation may be subject to a reimbursement obligation.

For more information, visit www.paynefellows.org


Application Procedure

Complete instructions and access to the on-line application are available at the Payne Fellowship website.  UM students are encouraged to notify the Office of Prestigious Awards and Fellowships about their intention to apply for the fellowship no less than one month before the national deadline if they would like an adviser to provide application guidance and feedback.

Important Dates

January 2015 Application materials must be received by the Payne Fellowship Program

Late February 2015 Finalists are notified

March 2015 Finalist interviews take place in Washington D.C. and recipients announced