Resources for Advisors

How can I learn about and share information on the Fellowship?

The Payne Fellowship Program does not require an institutional recommendation for applicants.  However, we depend on our university advisors, faculty, and staff, as well as individuals associated with different organizations throughout the country, to share information about the opportunities with students and alumni.  To support these activities, we encourage you to do the following:

  • Follow us on social media (TwitterFacebook, and Instagram).
  • Share information on the Payne Fellowship with faculty, staff, affinity groups who work with underrepresented groups, education abroad programs, student groups, participants in programs such as the Gilman Scholarship or the Critical Language Scholarship, and students considering applying for the Fulbright or other international programs.
  • Check out our Tips for Preparing a Competitive Application and Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about the fellowship and the application process.
  • Consider scheduling short, informational pitches to groups that support underrepresented and/or first-generation students, returned study abroad students, or student honors programs; or classes in areas like international affairs, public/global health, or other technical areas of relevance to USAID. Template information session flyers are available.
  • Request a visit from or a virtual session with a Payne Program staff member, a current fellow, or alumni. Please note that our staff is small and our alumni are often concentrated in certain areas.  However, we are interested in direct conversations with interested groups. Email
  • Review the Payne Fellowship Directory by cohort year

What is the application and program timeline?

  • Application deadline for 2023 Graduate Fellowship: November 4, 2022
  • Notification to applicants of decisions on 30 finalists: December 2022
  • Final round of fellow selections: January 2023
  • Notification of fellowship award: January 2023
  • Orientation for 2023 Payne Fellows: May 2023
  • Congressional Internship: Summer 2023
  • Graduate School: Fall 2023 to Spring 2025
  • Overseas Internship: Summer 2024
  • Entry into the Foreign Service: Summer 2025

Who Are We Looking For? 

The Payne Fellowship is a program that aims to attract and prepare outstanding young people for careers in the Foreign Service of USAID.  Eligibility criteria include:

  • U.S. citizenship,
  • A cumulative GPA of at least 3.2, and
  • Plans to start graduate school for a two-year program of relevance to the Foreign Service in fall 2023.

The program is open to seniors who will graduate by spring 2023 and individuals with a college degree.  It is open to students with any major or area of interest who want to promote positive change in the world. It encourages the application of members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the Foreign Service, women, and those with financial need. It also values:

  • Individuals with a commitment to public service
  • Individuals from diverse areas within the United States
  • Individuals who have demonstrated resourcefulness and resiliency
  • Individuals interested in foreign languages and cultures
  • Individuals with strong leadership and organizational skills
  • First generation college students
  • Individuals who want to represent the United States as diplomats

While individuals with backgrounds in international relations or political science often apply, the fellowship also welcomes applications who have backgrounds in areas such as business, public/global health, engineering, agriculture, economics, environmental science, and international education, as the Foreign Service also has important work in these areas. As noted above, the application is open to individuals with any undergraduate academic major who are interested in a career in the Foreign Service. We would appreciate advisors’ assistance in encouraging individuals with a wide range of backgrounds to apply.