Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship
Who Can Apply: U.S. Citizens – Seniors or recent graduates – Must be seeking admission to enter graduate school in fall 2023 for a two-year program at a U.S. university – GPA of 3.2 or higher required – All Majors
IMPORTANT: The Payne Fellowship encourages the application of members of minority groups who have historically been underrepresented in international development careers and those with financial need.
IMPORTANT: Fellows must obtain graduate degrees in international affairs or a related subject such as development, economics, history, political science, public administration, communications, public policy, business administration, foreign languages, agriculture, environmental sciences, or urban planning at a graduate or professional school approved by the Payne Program. Studies in law do not satisfy this requirement.
Description: The USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship Program seeks to attract outstanding young people who are interested in pursuing careers in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). If you want to work on the front lines of some of the most pressing global challenges of our times poverty, hunger, injustice, disease, environmental degradation, climate change, conflict and violent extremism the Foreign Service of the U.S. Agency for International Development provides an opportunity to advance U.S. foreign policy interests and reflect the American people's compassion and support of human dignity. The Payne Fellowship, which provides up to $96,000 in benefits over two years for graduate school, internships, and professional development activities, provides a unique pathway to the USAID Foreign Service.
The fellowship is named in honor of longtime development champion, the late Congressman Donald Payne. The initiative is funded by USAID and administered by Howard University. Fellowship recipients can use the award to attend U.S. graduate programs throughout the country; they will join the USAID Foreign Service upon completion of the program, as long as they successfully complete the Payne Program and USAID entry requirements.
Program Preferences: The Payne Fellowship is for students who can demonstrate a strong interest in a career with the Foreign Service of the USAID. 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.
Service Obligation: Fellows who successfully complete the Payne Program and USAID Foreign Service entry requirements will receive appointments as USAID Foreign Service Officers. Each Payne Fellow who obtains a master's degree is committed to a minimum of five years of service as a USAID Foreign Service Officer. Candidates who do not successfully complete the Payne Program and the subsequent three year service obligation may be subject to a reimbursement obligation.
Award Benefits: Two summer internships, one domestic the summer after selection and one overseas at a USAID Mission during the summer between the first and second years of graduate school. The Program provides stipends, transportation and housing for these internships.
The Payne Fellowship Program awards up to fifteen fellowships valued at up to $52,000 annually for a two-year program. The award includes up to $24,000 per year toward tuition and mandatory fees for completion of a two-year master’s degree at a U.S. institution; a $18,000 stipend for each academic year for room, board, books and other education-related expenses; and up to $10,000 per year in stipend, housing, transportation, and related expenses for summer internships.
National Deadline: November 4, 2022