The US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) has recognized over 170 higher education institutions from across the United States that have the highest number of accepted applicants to the Fulbright U.S. Student and Fulbright U.S. Scholar Programs for 2022-2023.
The Fulbright Program provides opportunities for US students, scholars, and professionals to conduct research, teach, or study abroad. The program is designed to promote mutual understanding and cultural exchange between the US and other countries, with the aim of contributing to finding solutions to challenges facing our communities and the world.
Each year, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides over 2,200 diverse US graduates, graduate students, artists, and early career professionals in more than 100 different fields of study the opportunity to study, teach English, or conduct research overseas. In addition, more than 800 US scholars, artists, and professionals from all backgrounds teach or conduct research overseas through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program annually.
The Fulbright Program is highly competitive, with applicants selected based on their academic and professional achievements, leadership potential, and commitment to cultural exchange. The program places a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion, with the aim of promoting mutual understanding and respect between people of different cultures and backgrounds.
This year’s lists of Fulbright Top Producing Institutions highlight the program’s strong institutional diversity and impact on American communities. Here are some of the schools that made the top awards list in different categories:
- Doctoral institutions with the most accepted Fulbright U.S. Students: Georgetown University (DC), University of Arizona (AZ), Harvard University (MA)
- Master’s institutions with the most accepted Fulbright U.S. Students: Salisbury University (MD), Pennsylvania State University (PA), SUNY College at Geneseo (NY)
- Baccalaureate institutions with the most accepted Fulbright U.S. Students: Bowdoin College (ME), University of Houston-Downtown (TX), Bates College and Oberlin College (OH)
- Special-focus institutions with the most accepted Fulbright U.S. Students: University of California-San Francisco (CA), School of the Art Institute of Chicago (IL)
- Doctoral institutions with the most applicants selected for the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program: University of Arizona (AZ), Pennsylvania State University (PA), University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (IL)
- Master’s institutions with the most applicants selected for the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program: the University of Houston-Downtown (TX), Kenyon College (OH), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (MI)
- Baccalaureate institutions with the most applicants selected for the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program: Kenyon College (OH), Lafayette College (PA), Indiana University-Bloomington (IN)
- Special-focus institutions with the most applicants selected for the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program: School of the Art Institute of Chicago (IL), University of California-San Francisco (CA)
- Community colleges with the most Fulbright U.S. Scholars selected: Lone Star College System (TX), Pellissippi State Community College (TN), Montgomery College (MD)
Like any program, the Fulbright has faced some criticism and controversy over the years. One common criticism is that the program tends to favor applicants from elite institutions and may not be as accessible to students from underrepresented groups or those from smaller or less prestigious colleges and universities. Some have also raised concerns about the program’s focus on research and study in Western Europe, which may limit opportunities for students to engage with other regions of the world.
Another issue that has been raised is the program’s perceived political bias. While the Fulbright Program emphasizes the importance of promoting mutual understanding and cultural exchange, some critics have argued that the program has been used to promote US foreign policy goals and to advance US interests abroad. Some have also accused the program of being overly bureaucratic and difficult to navigate, with a complex application process and limited funding opportunities for some applicants.
In response to these criticisms, the Fulbright Program has taken steps to increase diversity and inclusion in its applicant pool and to expand opportunities for study and research in a wider range of countries and regions. The program has also worked to streamline its application process and to provide more support for applicants from underrepresented groups.
Despite facing criticism and controversy over issues such as accessibility and political bias, the Fulbright Program continues to be recognized as one of the most prestigious and respected international exchange programs in the world. With a focus on promoting mutual understanding and cultural exchange between the US and other countries, the program has contributed to the development of stronger relationships between people and communities worldwide, and has played a role in advancing global peace, justice, and prosperity.
Some notable Fulbright scholars who have gone on to make significant contributions in a wide range of fields are:
- Angela Davis – A prominent political activist and scholar, Davis received a Fulbright scholarship to study in Germany in 1962-63.
- Sylvia Plath – The American poet and novelist received a Fulbright scholarship in 1955 to study at Cambridge University in England.
- Joseph Stiglitz – The Nobel Prize-winning economist received a Fulbright scholarship to study at Cambridge University in the 1960s.
- Jhumpa Lahiri – The Pulitzer Prize-winning author received a Fulbright scholarship to study in Italy in the 1990s.
- Bill Clinton – The former US President was a Fulbright scholar at Oxford University in the late 1960s.
- John Lithgow – The Emmy and Tony Award-winning actor was a Fulbright scholar at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in the 1960s.
- Carlos Fuentes – The Mexican writer and diplomat received a Fulbright scholarship to study at Harvard University in the 1950s.
- Susan Sontag – The American writer and cultural critic was a Fulbright scholar in Paris in the 1950s.