Federal Funding Sources

Illustration: Friztin/iStockphoto.com
Illustration: Friztin/iStockphoto.com
The federal government allocates millions of dollars each year for education. There are funds specifically designed for international studies, and there are other opportunities that do not specifically list international work, but are open to including it within a broader framework. A lot of these initiatives are appropriate for in-service and pre-service teacher development, whereas others offer support to build programs. Listed below are federal sources of funding along with ideas on how to think about utilizing them for your education community's global learning vision.


Foreign Language Assistance: Grants for state educational agencies and Local education agencies to establish, improve and expand foreign language instruction, especially in critical languages.

Academic Competitiveness Grants/SMART Grants
For undergraduates majoring in sciences, mathematics, technology, engineering, or a critical foreign language.

TEACH Grants
Grants to students who agree to serve as full-time foreign language teachers (also can serve in other academic areas) for at least 4 years after graduating.

Higher Education Funding

Teachers for a Competitive Tomorrow: Baccalaureate and Master’s STEM and foreign language teacher training enable partnerships to develop and implement programs that provide courses of study in STEM or critical foreign language subjects that are integrated with teacher education and would lead to a degree with a concurrent teacher certification.

Title VI: Funds to institutions of higher education, consortia of institutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations, and individuals for projects in foreign languages, area or international studies, and international business.

Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad: Funds for institutions of higher education, state departments of education, and/or private nonprofit educational organizations for overseas projects in training, research, and curriculum development in modern foreign languages and areas studies by teachers, students, and faculty.

Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad: Funds for U.S. educators in the social sciences and humanities to participate in short-term study and travel seminars abroad for the purpose of improving their understanding and knowledge of other cultures.

Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad: Funds for institutions of higher education to support faculty to maintain and improve area studies and language skills by conducting research abroad for periods of 3 – 12 months.

Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad: Funds to institutions of higher education to support doctoral students to conduct research in other countries in modern foreign languages and area studies for periods of 6-to-12 months.

Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program: Sends American scholars and professionals abroad to lecture and/or conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields.

Fulbright Specialists Program: Short-term version of Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program.

Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program: Grants to foreign scholars to lecture and/or conduct postdoctoral research at U.S. institutions.

Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence Program: Enables U.S. colleges and universities to host foreign academics to lecture for a semester or academic year.

Fulbright New Century Scholars Program: Brings together 30 outstanding scholars and practitioners from United States and abroad to research on a theme for a year.

Fulbright U.S. Student Program: Offers fellowships for U.S. graduating college seniors, graduate students, young professionals and artists to study abroad.

Fulbright Foreign Student Program: Enables graduate students, young professionals and artists from abroad to research and study in the United States.

Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program: A direct one-to-one exchange of approximately 120 teachers from primary and secondary schools.

Office of the Director of National Intelligence

STARTALK: Provides summer student and teacher experiences, academic courses, curricula and other resources for foreign language education in less commonly taught languages in K–16 education institutions.

Department of Defense

National Flagship Language Initiative (NSLI): Funds world language programs, especially in critical needs languages.


Here are other discretionary U.S. Department of Education funds, along with some ideas on how to use the money to add a global learning dimension to your schools.


Striving Readers Program: Pay salary of teachers and reading coaches who integrate international education into literacy programs and/or provide high-quality professional development in reading, with an international dimension, for teachers, coaches, and administrators. Also consider supporting reading intervention with an international dimension, including in afterschool, for students who require additional assistance.

Early Reading First: Provide high-quality, research-based experiences in language and early literacy, with an international dimension.

Mathematics and Science Partnerships: Develop more rigorous mathematics and science curricula with an international dimension, aligned with challenging state and local content standards, or establish distance learning programs for mathematics and science teachers to allow them to teach the international dimensions of their subjects.

Transition to Teaching: Alternative routes to teacher certification and other innovative approaches for recruiting, training, and placing mid-career professionals, recent college graduates, and educational paraprofessionals in high-needs schools. Could be utilized to support teachers of world languages.

School Leadership: Provide training for highly effective teachers to become principals in high-needs schools. Training could allow them to understand and promote the importance of international education.

21st Century Community Learning Centers: Extended learning time programs that provide programs in art and music with an international dimension. Or, establish other extended learning opportunities that reinforce classroom learning and global competence.

Advanced Placement: Allow low-income students access to Advanced Placement classes that provide students with global competence. Expand access to AP and IB courses through such activities as teacher training and course development with an international bent.

Smaller Learning Communities: Add an international dimension to smaller learning communities and fund innovative professional development for school staff in the smaller learning community.

Literacy Through School Libraries: School districts can provide students with increased access to up-to-date school library materials and professionally certified school library media specialists with an international focus.

Charter Schools Grants: Plan, develop and implement public charter schools with an international focus.

Fund for the Improvement of Education: Grants for history, civics and government could add an international dimension to prepare students.

Physical Education Program: Add an international dimension to existing or new physical education programs – including the purchasing of equipment to do so.

Ready-to-Learn Television: Produce educational television programming, curricula and outreach activities to develop students’ global competence.

Parental Information and Resource Centers: Add an international dimension to leadership and technical assistance for nonprofit institutions and LEAs on the implementation of parental involvement policies, programs, and activities to improve student achievement.

Excellence in Economic Education: Promote economic and financial literacy with an international dimension.

Career and Technical Education Programs: Development and implementation of programs of non-duplicative, sequential courses of study combining at least 2 years of secondary education and 2 years of postsecondary education with work-based learning experiences. This could be used to look at the global competence and international experience necessary for these careers.

Higher Education Funding

Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs: Funds to states and partnerships for early college preparation and awareness activities to help low-income elementary and secondary students prepare and pursue postsecondary education. Funds partnerships with organizations and businesses with an international focus.

Teachers for a Competitive Tomorrow: Baccalaureate and Master’s STEM and foreign language teacher training enable partnerships to develop and implement programs that provide courses of study in STEM or critical foreign language subjects that are integrated with teacher education and would lead to a degree with a concurrent teacher certification.

National Science Foundation

Climate Change Education Program: Development of resources for learning with an international perspective.

Discovery Research K-12 develops more effective tools and resources for teachers and students to will support inquiry-based classroom practices with an international dimension and a more intensive scientifically-based assessment of the efficacy of these resources.

The Math and Science Partnership: Links K-12 teachers with their colleagues in higher education to build capacity and to strengthen and reform science and mathematics education.

Author: Heather Singmaster


Have you been awarded these grants? Please share your experiences with others in the comment board below.