Northern Illinois University's

Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship



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

Completed fellowship application form and all required application material are due by February 1 to the Center for Southeast Asian Studies.

If you are intending to apply for both the Summer 2014 and AY 2014-15 FLAS awards:

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 2014-15 application.

3. Please do not submit your AY 2014-15 application until you have been informed of the outcome of your Summer 2014 application.

Requirements for Application

  • Graduate applicants must be citizens, nationals, or permanent residents of the U.S.
  • Graduate applicants must be enrolled as full-time students or accepted at Northern Illinois University.
  • Applicants must compile the following documents into a single PDF file and submit it to at the Center by 4:30 p.m. on February 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 total academic program, your previous language learning experiences both formal and informal, and your commitment and plans more broadly for the study of Southeast Asia.

Applicants must also request two letters of recommendation from those in a position to evaluate their academic credentials.  There is no form for these letters and 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.  

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.  Special materials or lab fees are the responsibility of the student.
  • A fellowship recipient must enroll as a full-time student (9 credit hours minimum). All classes must be taken for graded credit.  Auditing is not permitted.
  • A fellowship recipient must register for a minimum of one course per semester in their selected Southeast Asian language.
  • In addition to the language course, a fellowship recipient 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).
  • A fellowship recipient must inform the Center of any change in his/her program of study, residence or academic status.
  • A fellowship recipient must present a paper at the annual NIU Southeast Asia Student Conference or at a different conference (only with the approval of the Center Director).
  • A fellowship recipient must complete the pre- self-assessment in IRIS (the on-line 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, a recipient is strongly encouraged to participate in other, extra-curricular events sponsored by the Center 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 reporting procedures by Northern Illinois University, 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, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies provides leadership, focus, and coordination for Southeast Asian studies at the university.