The US’s flagship study abroad scholarship, which was awarded to almost 1,900 students in 2015/16, saw white students represent 63% of recipients, and in the scholar programme, 66.4%.
“We want to send the message to all students and scholars that Fulbright encourages your interest, and that we’re committed to promoting diversity in the program for the long term,” Mala Adiga, the department’s deputy assistant secretary for academic programs, told the Chronicle of Higher Education.
“We’re committed to promoting diversity in the program for the long term”
“We believe that individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, who have the talent and commitment to succeed, should have an opportunity to expand their knowledge of the world as Fulbrighters.”
Despite the underrepresentation of minority students, diversity efforts from the fund’s managing body, the US Bureau for Educational and Cultural Affairs, are coming to fruition, with the number of black students on the Fulbright US Student Program increasing.
According to the Chronicle, there has been an increase in applications in all ethnic and racial groups over the past decade.
In 2005/06, only 33 black students were awarded the scholarship with the Student Program, whereas this academic year, the number has tripled to 99, or 5.2% of the cohort.
This academic year in the Fulbright US Scholar Program which awards funding to US faculty, researchers and administrators, just 7% of the recipients were black, and 6% were Latino, compared with 66.4% of the cohort who were white.
These figures, however, are more representative of faculty bodies across the US’s higher education system.
A total of 1,847 students received awards in 2015/16 through the student programme, a rise from 1,785 the year before, with the most recipients (31) from research institution, Harvard.
Among research institutions, Harvard was followed by the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor with 29 students, while Northwestern University and Yale University awarded 26 apiece.
Meanwhile at master’s institutions, Saint Edward’s University awarded 10 this academic year, with the highest awarding bachelor’s institution, Pitzer College, providing 21.
Princeton Theological Seminary, under the category of specialized institution, offered awards to three students.
The Fulbright US Scholar Program awarded 768 this academic year.
Of the research institutions this year, Arizona State University in Tempe awarded 10, while five Fulbright scholars came from Eastern Michigan University.
The bachelor’s institution, Bucknell University, produced four scholars this academic year.
The Fulbright Program, which was launched in 1946, now operates in over 160 countries and has seen participation from over 360,000 people.