Selection Process

The Payne Program expects to award ten fellowships in 2019. A panel of individuals with experience in the USAID Foreign Service and academia makes selections 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 by the end of January. Candidates selected for final consideration will be invited to Washington, D.C. for interviews and to prepare a writing sample in mid-February.  The program will pay the cost of accommodations and travel to Washington, DC from within the continental United States, Hawaii, and Alaska.  The program will strive to complete the selection process and make offers to  ten 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

Applicants are expected to undertake the steps necessary to complete the process of applying for a USAID Foreign Service Officer position, including participating in the Foreign Service Assessment Process (FSAP) prior to completion of the academic requirements associated with the Payne Fellowship Program.