Selection Process

The Payne Program expects to award up to 30 fellowships in 2024. A panel of individuals with experience in the USAID Foreign Service, international development, and academia makes selection recommendations for the Payne Fellowship.  The selection panel will consider candidates' academic work, statements of interest, letters of recommendation, and honors and awards, as well as their community, extracurricular, and leadership activities.  Consideration will be given to qualified applicants who, in addition to outstanding leadership skills and academic achievement, demonstrate financial need.

The Payne selection panel will choose finalists in the beginning ofDecember 2023. Candidates selected for final consideration will be invited to participate in the virtual final-round interviews inmid-January.   The program will strive to complete the selection process and make offers to 30 fellows soon after the interview. 

Applicants should carefully review the USAID Foreign Service requirements for medical and security clearances.  Participation in the Payne Program is conditional upon successful completion of pre-employment procedures specified by the U.S. Agency for International Development, including background investigations for a security clearance, medical examinations (to include spouse and eligible family members if applicable) and drug tests. Failure to meet medical and security requirements may result in an applicant's disqualification from the fellowship program and reimbursement to the U.S. government of financial assistance paid in connection with the applicant's education.  For more information, see


Payne 2024 Selection Process Timeline 

2024 Payne Application Opens  July 20, 2023 
2024 Payne Application Closes  October 26, 2023 
Finalists Notified  December 8, 2023 
Final-round Interviews  January 16 – 19, 2024 
Fellows Award Notifications Sent  January 22, 2024