Donald M. Payne Fellowship

Dates and Deadlines

Scholarship application deadline:
January 20, 2017


Awards of up to $45,000 annually are made to 5 students to participate in a two year graduate program in international affairs or another field that is relevant to the U.S. Foreign Service.  Study must take place at a U.S. university of the students’ choosing. 

The award covers up to $20,000 annually for tuition and fees; up to $15,000 annually for room and board, housing, books, and other educational expenses; and up to $10,000 annually for housing and transportation expenses related to two summer internships in Washington D.C.

Students who complete the Payne Fellowship are appointed to the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Foreign Service as Foreign Service Officers (FSO) and are required to serve a minimum of 3 years.


  1. U.S. Citizen
  2. Cumulative GPA of 3.2 or greater
  3. Must be seeking admission to graduate school in the fall for a 2 year program at a U.S. university.  Applicants can be in their senior year of undergraduate studies graduating by June of the year of application, college graduate, or seeking admission for a second master’s degree (currently enrolled master’s degree students are ineligible)


The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) works on the front lines of some of the most pressing global challenges of our time including poverty, hunger, injustice, disease, environmental degradation, climate change, conflict and violent extremism.  USAID advances U.S. foreign policy interests and reflect the American people’s compassion and support of human dignity.


Applicants must have a strong desire to enter the USAID Foreign Service as a 3 year FSO appointment is required at the conclusion of the Payne Fellowship.  Applicants should also have a clear plan of the graduate school(s) and program(s) they will be applying to and how these will prepare them for entry to the USAID Foreign Service.

Selected Payne Fellows will have outstanding leadership skills, strong academic backgrounds and achievements, as well as extracurricular, community, or volunteer experiences that show commitment to service, social causes, public policy, and related issues.

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.



Students interested in applying for the Payne Fellowship need to submit a completed Applicant Profile to the Undergraduate and Prestigious Scholarship Office at  The Undergraduate and Prestigious Scholarships Office will work with each applicant to modify and strengthen the application to prepare it for submission.  Once the application is ready for submission, the applicant will need to submit the final application through the Payne Fellowship website.