FAQs - Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Nonprofit Leadership Print

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     Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Non-Profit Leadership

Sponsored by the
Origin Foundation

Supported by the
Australian Scholarships Foundation




The Australian-American Fulbright Commission is a non-profit organisation in Australia, established in 1949 to further mutual understanding between the U.S. and Australia through education and exchange. The Commission has supported more than 2,700 Australians and 2,000 Americans to study in the respective countries since it was established. It is part of the world-wide Fulbright Program, administered by the U.S. State Department. For further information visit the Fulbright Commission website.


The Scholarship is a unique opportunity to travel in the US for a maximum of four months to study, conduct research into, and gain experiential learning in, leadership and the operations of US non-profit sector organisations. It is for emerging leaders in the Australian not-for-profit sector who meet the eligibility criteria below. 

Every application is assessed based on merit and the quality of the application and its proposal for study, research and experiential learning is critical. The perceived benefits to the Australian NFP sector and a willingness, on their return, to share their US findings and knowledge within the sector are also important considerations.

The Scholarship is valued at AUD $40,000 and covers:

  • Generous stipend for a maximum period of 4 months
  • Travel allowance
  • Dependents Allowance (where relevant)
  • Domestic travel on return from the U.S. to present research at NFP conferences in Australia
  • Transport and accommodation to attend a two day Orientation Program and the Fulbright Presentation Dinner in Australia (March)
  • The opportunity to participate in Fulbright Enrichment activities while in the U.S;
  • Network opportunities with Australian, U.S. and international Fulbright Scholars and distinguished Alumni.

Approved study programs and research projects do not generally include conference attendance.



What academic qualifications and experience is required?

Applicants should have a postgraduate qualification OR a minimum of 10 – 15 years work experience. They should also have a record of achievement gained from a minimum of 3 years employment at a mid to senior level position (Manager/Director) within the NFP sector and have an established leadership profile within the sector.

Are those with dual Australian/US citizenship eligible for a scholarship?

No. The United States Government recognises U.S. citizenship first and foremost and as such the applicant would not be a foreign exchange visitor.

If I'm not an Australian citizen but I am a permanent resident, am I eligible for the scholarship?

No. Applicants for Australian Fulbright Scholarships must be Australian citizens by birth or naturalisation. If you are a permanent resident and have submitted an application for Australian citizenship at the time of submitting your Fulbright application, you will be considered as long as you supply documentary evidence of your citizenship application.

If I am an Australian citizen but I'm living abroad, am I eligible for the Australian Fulbright not for profit scholarship?

It is a requirement of Australian Fulbright scholarships that applicants be resident in Australia at the time of application and that they be available for an interview in late September/early October. All Scholars must be available to attend Fulbright functions in Australia including the Fulbright Presentation Dinner and Orientation Program held annually in March.

Is there an age limit to people applying for the Fulbright Non Profit Scholarship?

No. However, applicants for Fulbright Professional Scholarships should generally be aged between 30 and 45 years.

Can I use the Scholarship to obtain tertiary qualifications?

No. The Scholarship is not awarded to enable the applicant to gain or contribute towards any tertiary qualifications. If you are currently studying at a tertiary institution in Australia, you may apply for the Scholarship provided your proposed study/ research project in the U.S. is not directly related to your tertiary studies.

Can I use the Scholarship to gain work experience overseas?

Yes. Your application and supporting proposal can include short term internships, “shadowing” and other experiential learning with a U.S. host institution or non-profit organisations that contribute to your overall Scholarship objectives of study and research.

I have previously been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship (Post graduate, Senior or Post Doctoral). Can I apply for the Fulbright Professional Scholarship? 

Recipients of a Fulbright Scholarship are eligible to receive another Fulbright Scholarship five years after the date of completion of the previous Scholarship. The maximum number of Fulbright Scholarships is limited to two however you can’t be awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in the same category twice e.g. you can be awarded a Postgraduate and a Senior Scholarship but not two Postgraduate Scholarships.

Will you pay my salary while I am in the US?

No. This is a matter between the applicant and his/her employer. Applicants may want to consider using unpaid leave, vacation time and long service entitlements towards their time in the US.


What is the definition of Not-for-Profit?

The terms “non profit’ (common US terminology) and “not-for-profit” or “NFP” (Australian equivalent terminology) are used interchangeably here, except where Australian qualifying criteria are specified.

Which organisations qualify as Not-for-Profit in Australia?

Applicants must be from an Australian not-for-profit organisation that, in the opinion of the Commission and ASF, generally fits one or more of the following criteria:

  • has a charitable, community-public benefit or poverty relief purpose, as indicated by whether the NFP has Australian Tax Office TCC and/or DGR status, or “registered charity” status
  • is a social enterprise or business (organisations using a business model to provide a social benefit) and which may not have TCC/DGR
  • other organisations with a community or public benefit purpose (generally evidenced by a “formal” governance structure, voluntary participation by members and  independence from government) that do not fit the above categories

Are there any organisations that are ineligible for this Scholarship?

The Commission will generally exclude applicants from:

  • small unincorporated entities (informal organisations that provide sporting, recreational and social benefits)
  • organisations relying solely on member contributions e.g. mutuals and cooperatives (which provide benefits to members usually via a business activity) and licensed clubs (that provide services for a fee to members as well as grants to community organisations)
  • professional associations, self help clubs, non secular (religious purpose) organisations,  government organisations carrying out the ordinary functions of government, social movements /campaigning organisations that work in the social change space, trade unions and political parties
  • schools, hospitals and universities, and government organisations except for their associated entities that have TCC/DGR status e.g. building funds, research foundations


How should leadership potential be demonstrated for this Scholarship?

In order to derive the greatest long-term benefits for Australia, the Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Non-Profit Leadership is for emerging leaders in the NFP sector. The chosen scholar will generally have a record of achievement gained from a minimum of 3 years employment at a mid to senior level position (Manager/Director) within the NFP sector and have an established leadership profile within the sector as evidenced by:

  • active participation / thought leadership on sector issues and policy development (government bodies, sector organisations, committees, etc)
  • demonstrated impact through personal leadership, initiative and innovation in program development and delivery
  • record of achievement (ideas and/or programs) that is making a difference in the sector
  • recognition by sector peers as a leader through election to office (sector peak and other bodies, committees, etc), appointment to same (e.g. by government) or awards/prizes/other recognition

The chosen scholar will also have high potential for further achievement, evidenced by reputation for integrity, energy, general positive values and motivation to make a difference.


How do I apply for the Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Non-Profit Leadership?

Follow the instructions in the ‘Completing an Application’ section and use the relevant scholarship Application Form on the Australian-American Fulbright Commission Web Site. Applicants who need assistance to complete the application form should contact the Manager Scholarships and Strategic Engagement at the Commission.

How do I know that my application has been received?

Once you have submitted your application on the online application system, you will receive a system generated email confirming that your application has been lodged successfully.

Does my application for the Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Non-Profit Leadership have to be submitted on the form provided?

Yes. Applications not on the form provided will not be considered.

Will copies of the required documentation supporting my application be sufficient?

Only certified copies will be accepted. Academic transcripts, birth certificates etc. must be certified by a Justice of the Peace.  Please refer to the section 'Completing an Application' located on the Fulbright Commission website.

What is the closing date for applications?

Applications for the scholarship must be submitted by early August 2015 (date TBC). Under no circumstances will late applications be accepted.

Applications for the 2016 Fulbright scholarship will open soon. Click here to subscribe to ASF's email alert which will notify you when Fulbright applications open.

What is the closing date for Referee Reports?

All Referees' Reports should be submitted by early August 2015 (date TBC). It is the applicant's responsibility to see that Referee Reports are submitted, using the online form, before the closing date. Applicants for whom Referee Reports are not received are disadvantaged.

Who should I ask to provide a Referee Report?

You should ask those who will best support your application and who can objectively assess your ability to successfully undertake a program of study or research in the U.S. and your potential to make a contribution to Australia. You are encouraged to use a mix of referees.

Are applicants who are unsuccessful in their application for the Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Non-Profit Leadership precluded from making applications in the future?

Previous unsuccessful applicants are not precluded from applying and are encouraged to re-apply. The Scholarship will be offered annually. Click here to subscribe to an email alert on this and other ASF scholarships.

Does affiliation with a U.S. institution(s) have to be confirmed at the time of application?

No. Affiliation with a U.S. institution for study and /or research does not have to be confirmed at the time of application but there should be a clear indication of which institution(s) you would prefer to attend/visit and why. Communication you have had with the institution(s) should be attached to your application. This can include copies of email communication.

Can you have more than one host institution?

Yes, however it is preferable not to exceed two primary host institutions.

Will I be disadvantaged because I have undertaken previous studies in the United States?

Where two candidates are considered equal, those who have not had previous U.S. experience will be given preference to applicants with previous U.S. experience.

Must I have an undergraduate degree to be eligible for the Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Non-Profit Leadership?

Applicants should have a postgraduate qualification OR a minimum of 10 – 15 years work experience. They should also have a record of achievement gained from a minimum of 3 years employment at a mid to senior level position (Manager/Director) within the NFP sector and have an established leadership profile within the sector.

Does the Fulbright Professional Scholarship cover proposed tuition fees?

No. The Fulbright Scholar will receive a travel allowance and a monthly stipend. It is at the discretion of the scholar as to how he/she uses the stipend.

I have been awarded another grant(s) to undertake study/research in the United States, am I eligible for a Fulbright Professional Scholarship?

Yes, recipients of other grants are eligible for the Fulbright Professional Scholarship so long as the other grant(s) does not fully-fund your program in the United States.

Can I commence my Fulbright program prior to 1 July of the year the scholarship is awarded?

No. Candidates must have approval of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FSB) in the United States before commencing their program in the United States.

Can I defer my scholarship until next year?

No. The Scholarship must be taken up during the year the scholarship is awarded, commencing 1 July.

Must I return to Australia at the completion of my Fulbright program?

Yes. Fulbright Scholars must travel on a J-1 visa sponsored by the Fulbright program. It is a condition of this visa that after expiration of the scholarship, scholars must return to Australia to reside for two years before being eligible to apply for a permanent residence or work visa in the United States. This is intended to ensure that Scholars fulfill the exchange nature of the program.  Applicants who stopover in a third country on returning from the United States, must return to Australia for two years before being eligible to apply for a permanent residence or work visa in the United States. The two years commences from the date of their return to Australia.

Can you tell me why I was not selected?

No. Each year the number of well qualified applicants greatly outnumbers the scholarships available. Final selection and the procedures to achieve this selection are at the discretion of the Board of Directors of the Australian-American Fulbright Commission and no correspondence will be entered into.