Scholarship Details

Payne (Donald M.) USAID International Development Fellowship

Application Deadline:





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). The Payne Fellowship, which provides up to $90,000 in benefits over two years for graduate school, internships, and professional development activities, provides a unique pathway to the USAID Foreign Service. 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.


Applicants must be U.S. citizens.
Applicants must be seeking admission to enter graduate school in the fall of 2022 for a two-year program at a U.S. university. They can be in the senior year of their undergraduate studies, graduating by June 2022, or they can be college graduates.
Applicants must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or higher on a 4.0 scale at the time of application.

Terms of Award:

The Payne Fellowship Program awards up to fifteen fellowships valued at up to $48,000 annually for a two-year program. The award includes up to $22,000 per year toward tuition and mandatory fees for completion of a two-year master’s degree at a U.S. institution; a $16,000 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 placements. At the conclusion of two years of study, the Payne Fellow is expected to obtain a degree in international development or another area of relevance to the work of the USAID Foreign Service at a U.S. graduate or professional school approved by the Payne Program. Fellows who successfully complete the Payne Program and USAID Foreign Service entry requirements will receive appointments as Foreign Service Officers with the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Please Submit:

A completed online application includes the following:

Background Information (e.g., name, contact information, international travel).
A personal statement (in 600 words or less) that discusses the applicant’s reasons for applying, interest in foreign affairs, commitment to pursue a USAID Foreign Service career and any relevant experience or information.
A statement (in 400 words or less) from the applicant that discusses his/her need for financial assistance to attend graduate school, including an explanation of:
The financial assistance received during undergraduate studies
Overall education-related debt
Ability/plans to pay for graduate school independently
Two letters of recommendation:

One from a faculty member who is well acquainted with the individual
One from a community leader or other individual who can comment on the applicant’s non-academic accomplishments and his/her potential to serve as a USAID Foreign Service Officer.
Note: In the online application, applicants will identify recommenders, who will be contacted by the program and asked to submit letters electronically. Below is a copy of the recommendation letter for your reference only.
Sample recommendation form (PDF format)

Proof of U.S. citizenship with a copy of: (choose one)

Birth certificate
Certificate of U.S. citizenship
U.S. passport
(Note: This should be uploaded in easy to read PDF format. Applicants are required to bring originals to the interview, if selected as a finalist.)
Student Aid Report (SAR) generated from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. If an applicant received financial aid during the most recent academic year, she/he is required to submit the SAR form. If an applicant did not receive financial aid during the most recent academic year, she/he must complete the FAFSA to generate a SAR for the 2020-2021 or the 2021-2022 academic year.

Note: Applicants will upload this into the application using PDF format.
Official Financial Aid Statement from your senior year, if you received financial aid.

Note: Applicants will upload this into the application using PDF format. If you did not receive financial aid, you do not have to submit this.
Official Transcripts from ALL colleges and universities the applicant has attended for credit. Please use a school-generated transcript. An official transcript is best; a student copy is acceptable if it is in the format of an official transcript. (If selected for an interview, you will have to bring an official transcript, in a sealed envelope, to the interview.)

Note: Applicants will upload this into the application using PDF format.

Online Application: