Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship



Each year the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) selects a number of qualified undergraduate students to study Southeast Asian languages and area studies as Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellows at NIU. FLAS fellowships are funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Title VI Program. Fellowships cover 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) and the following Southeast Asian languages: Burmese, Indonesian, Khmer (Cambodia), Tagalog (Philippines) and Thai.  The fellowships are only available for study at NIU.  

The completed fellowship application form and all required application material are due February 1 to CSEAS (email to CSEAS Office Manager Rita Miller at 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 that 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 a full-time student or accepted at NIU.
  • You must have already studied a Southeast Asian language at least at the beginning level before applying for this fellowship; you must be entering the intermediate or advanced (second year or beyond) level to qualify.
  • You must compile the following documents into a single PDF file and submit it to at CSEAS by 4:30 p.m. 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.

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 be sent electronically by the recommenders directly to You must demonstrate that you have already studied a Southeast Asian language for at one year and submit the Language Reference Form

Award Provisions and Reporting Requirements of Fellows

  • Undergraduate FLAS awards carry a ten-month stipend of $5.000 (paid in monthly deposits of $500 for 10 months) plus payment of tuition fees, regular class fees, and health insurance for the academic year.  Special materials or lab fees are the responsibility of the student.
  • You must enroll as a full-time student (12 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, 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).
  • You must inform the Center of any change in his/her program of study, residence or academic status.
  • Undergraduate fellowship recipients are encouraged to present a paper at the annual NIU Southeast Asia 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 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, 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 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, CSEAS provides leadership, focus, and coordination for Southeast Asian studies at NIU.