English for Heritage Language Speakers Scholarships

The English for Heritage Language Speakers (EHLS) program is designed to provide intensive English language instruction for U. S. citizens who are native speakers of critical languages.

The goal of the program is to enable participants to reach professional working proficiency in English, as
measured by the federal Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) level 3 and/or the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) superior level.

The program equips participants with the ability to read, write, speak, and listen at a superior level in an effort to build a critical base of future leaders to serve in the federal government service and the broader professional community.
Examples of Funded Projects

A native Arabic speaker with a Masters degree in agriculture wishes to work in horticultural sciences and issues related to food security.

A native Mandarin Chinese speaker with expertise in accounting is currently looking for positions in federal financial management.

A native Russian speaker with a Ph.D.

in nuclear physics hopes to secure a position with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Agency - Department Of Defense

The Department of Defense provides the military forces needed to deter war and protect the security of the United States through five major areas: peacekeeping and war-fighting efforts, Homeland Security, evacuation and humanitarian causes.

Program Accomplishments

The first cohort of participants completed the programs at the University of Washington, Seattle and Georgetown University in August 2006. Results will be available later in the year.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Scholarship awards are made to U. S. citizens with at least a bachelor's degree participating in one of the EHLS program sites.

Scholarship recipients agree to seek employment with the U. S. federal government, and serve in a position for no less than one year.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

(1) Must be a U.S.

citizen at the time of application; (2) Must have a minimum proficiency in English of advanced low (as defined by ACTFL) or level 2 (as defined by ILR); (3) must also possess excellent skills in your heritage/native language (ILR level 3/ACTFL superior language proficiency or higher in all modalities of English; (4) Must have received at least an undergraduate degree by the time of application; and (5) may not be a current U.S.

government employee.

Eligible native languages of interest are updated annually, a list of which is available on the program web site.

Beneficiary Eligibility

U.S. citizens with superior-level proficiency in their native language, and partner institutions of higher education.


Proof of U.S. citizenship and Bachelor's degree or higher.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination


This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

All eligible U.S. citizens may apply for scholarships in response to the relevant agency announcement.

Award Procedures

Award decisions will be based on a competitive selection of proposals resulting from an independent merit review.


Specified in annual application, usually in October.


50 U.S.C. 1901-1911.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Between 70 and 90 days.





Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements


Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Eligible students may receive EHLS scholarships for the duration of one program term (approximately six months).

Post Assistance Requirements


Annual progress reports required on initiatives to fulfill service obligations incurred.




Not applicable.

Financial Information

Account Identification



FY 07 $2,000,000; FY 08 est not reported; and FY 09 est not reported.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Scholarships include all tuition and fees and a small monthly stipend for the duration of the program approximately six months. The average scholarship is approximately $24,000.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

50 U.S.C. 1901-1911 (Chap. 37); Department of Defense Instructions 1025.02, "National Security Education Program," March 09, 2006; and Department of Defense Instruction 1025.6, "National Security Education Program Service Agreement," December 20, 1996.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Not applicable.

Headquarters Office

Dr. Kevin Gormley, Department of Defense, National Security Education Program, Rosslyn P.O. Box 20010, Arlington, VA 22209-2248. Telephone: (703)696-1991, E-Mail Address: nsepo@ndu.edu or Mr. Christopher Powers, Institute for International Education, English for Heritage Language Program, 1400 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005-2403. Telephone: (800)618-6737, E-mail Address: nsep@iie.org.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals


Social Entrepreneurship

A Bar That Saves Children’s Lives

Ryan Devlin, Todd Grinnell and Ravi Patel have traveled to Africa on a humanitarian trip a few years back, encountering children suffering from severe malnutrition get healthy through Plumpy’Nut®.

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Edited by: Michael Saunders

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