Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship



Each year the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) selects a number of qualified graduate students to study Southeast Asian languages and area studies as Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellows. FLAS fellowships are funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Title VI Program and cover NIU tuition, student fees and insurance. Fellows also receive a ten-month stipend. NIU offers a wide range of area studies courses (see Course Offerings) and the following Southeast Asian languages: Burmese, Indonesian, Khmer (Cambodia), Tagalog (Philippines) and Thai.

The completed fellowship application form and all required application material are due February 1 to CSEAS (email to CSEAS Office Manager Rita Miller at If questions, call CSEAS at 815-753-1771. NOTE: If you are having difficulty opening the PDF application form in Chrome or Firefox, you may need to adjust your plugin settings.

If you intend to apply for both the Summer 2016 and AY 2016-17 FLAS awards, tick off the appropriate boxes on the form so your application may be submitted for both rounds.

1. Please inform your two referees of this so that they write a single letter for both rounds.

2. You do not have to submit another Language Reference Form (LRF) for the AY 2016-17 application.


Requirements for Application

  • You must be a citizen, national, or permanent resident of the U.S.
  • You must be enrolled as full-time students or accepted at NIU.
  • You must submit the following documents as a single PDF file to CSEAS Office Manager Rita Miller at by 4:30 p.m. Feb. 1:
    • Completed official application form, including the signed checklist 
    • Transcripts showing degree(s) granted and/or in process
    • Curriculum vitae
    • Statement of purpose explaining your need for one of the offered Southeast Asian languages as part of your academic program, your previous language learning experiences both formal and informal, and your commitment and plans more broadly for the study of Southeast Asia.

You must also solicit two letters of recommendation from those in a position to evaluate your academic credentials.  There is no form for these letters. They should be addressed to the FLAS Fellowships Committee and sent electronically by the recommenders directly to Ongoing language students with previous training in a Southeast Asian language must also submit the Language Reference Form.

In reviewing applications, the Fellowships Committee will give consideration to the following criteria (not inclusive and not in order):

  1. The degree to which the applicant has taken Southeast Asian area courses in his/her major field as well as courses in other departments
  2. The clarity of the applicant's need for language training and how this language will be used
  3. The level of language to be studied (priority given to advanced students)
  4. The degree being sought
  5. Financial need

We encourage applications from students at all levels, but some priority will be given to M.A./M.S. students with a commitment to a career in government service, (e.g., translation, diplomatic, foreign service, international trade, security, cultural attache, Peace Corps, or other positions within the federal government).

Award Provisions and Reporting Requirements of Fellows

  • FLAS awards carry a ten-month stipend of $15,000 ($1,500.00/month for 10 months), a tuition waiver (provided by the NIU Graduate School), payment of regular class fees, and health insurance for the academic year. You are responsible for special materials or lab fees.
  • You must enroll as a full-time student (9 credit hours minimum). All classes must be taken for graded credit.  Auditing is not permitted.
  • You must register for a minimum of one course per semester in their selected Southeast Asian language.
  • In addition to the language course, you must register for a minimum of one course (3 credit hours minimum) per semester in a Center-approved Southeast Asia course (at least 50% Southeast Asia content).
  • You must inform the Center of any change in his/her program of study, residence or academic status.
  • You must present a paper at the Southeast Asia Club's annual Spring Student Conference or at a different conference (only with the approval of the Center Director).
  • You must complete the pre-self-assessment in IRIS (the online reporting system used by the U.S. Department of Education) at the beginning of the school year as well as a final student report, which must be completed before recipient's final stipend check for May will be issued.  In addition to your self-assessments, a NIU language instructor will submit pre- and post-language evaluations in IRIS that the U.S. Department of Education has prescribed to assess your speaking skills.
  • In addition,you are strongly encouraged to participate in co-curricular events sponsored by CSEAS as well as the Southeast Asia Club.
  • In accordance with the authorizing legislation for the FLAS program, the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of August 2008, Congress has mandated additional terms and conditions for prospective FLAS fellowship recipients.  If you are awarded and accept a fellowship offer, you agree to complete a survey once every two years to report back about your employment, education, or training after graduation.


Due to a change in NIU reporting procedures, please be aware that any student awarded a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship will have their student financial aid reduced by the dollar amount equal to the fellowship award.  Requirements and conditions are subject to change.

A federally funded National Resource Center since 1997, CSEAS provides leadership, focus, and coordination for Southeast Asian studies at NIU.