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Northwestern named top student Fulbright producer, 17 years running

17 students and alumni received Fulbright awards
Fulbright is the largest international educational exchange program.

Northwestern University has been named one of the U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most 2021-2022 Fulbright U.S. Students.

This year, 17 Northwestern students and alumni received Fulbright awards to teach, study and pursue research in and about countries across the globe. As was the case last year following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Fulbright recipients have adopted alternative research methods and adjusted to remote teaching and learning. Northwestern ranks 12th among research institutions.

Each year the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces the top producing institutions for the Fulbright Program, the U.S. government's flagship international educational exchange program. Northwestern has made the list every year since 2005.

“Producing a large number of Fulbright Scholars, year after year, is one of the great traditions at this university,” said Northwestern President Morton Schapiro. “And our students and alumni have shown incredible resilience in continuing to pursue Fulbrights despite the disruptions of the pandemic. They exemplify Northwestern’s mission to make an enduring impact through global engagement.”

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[Our students and alumni] exemplify Northwestern’s mission to make an enduring impact through global engagement.”

President Morton Schapiro

The world’s largest and most diverse international educational exchange program, it was established over 75 years ago to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

“We thank the leadership of these institutions for supporting their faculty advisors and administrators, who are instrumental in guiding their students through the Fulbright application process,” said Ethan Rosenzweig, deputy assistant secretary of state for academic programs in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. “We know that U.S. institutions benefit from having their students represent their campus overseas, which often fosters reciprocal exchanges that in turn help further internationalize U.S. campuses.”

The Fulbright Student competition is administered at Northwestern through the Office of Fellowships. The Northwestern campus application deadline is always early September for awards that last an academic year. Graduating seniors, alumni and graduate students with U.S. passports are eligible to apply through Northwestern.

Since the Fulbright Program’s inception in 1946, over 400,000 people from all backgrounds — recent university graduates, teachers, scientists and researchers, artists, and more — have participated and returned to their home countries with an expanded worldview, a deep appreciation for their host country and its people, and a new network of colleagues and friends. Including the Fulbright recipients in this new cohort, 382 of them have been Wildcats.

Fulbright alumni work to make a positive impact on their communities, sectors and the world and have included 40 heads of state or government, 61 Nobel Laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners, 76 MacArthur Fellows and countless leaders and changemakers who carry forward the Fulbright mission of enhancing mutual understanding. 

Fulbright is active in more than 160 countries worldwide and partners with participating governments, host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the U.S. Many of these organizations also provide direct and indirect support.