Fulbright Scholars

The Fulbright Program is the premier international educational exchange program, designed to promote mutual understanding between the people of the United States and of other countries. Sponsored by the U.S. government, the program offers awards to students, scholars, and specialists for study, research, and teaching across all fields.

Host Department Responsibilities

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Invitation Letter

Often, faculty members are contacted by a prospective Fulbright scholar who would like to be hosted. If the prospective scholar’s research interests or proposed activities match the department’s capacity, and if there is interest in hosting a Fulbright scholar, it is generally helpful for the hosting department to write a letter of invitation on University letterhead which addresses the following items:

  • Departmental interest in hosting the scholar
  • Information as to how the department is a good fit with the scholar’s proposed activity
  • Name of the faculty associate (mentor) and contact information
  • Proposed start date for the visit

This letter will become part of the placement process for the Fulbright scholar. See information about writing a letter of invitation for Fulbright Visiting Scholars.


The costs to host a Fulbright scholar in general are minimal to the department. Fulbright scholars receive a stipend for living expenses as part of their Fulbright grant. Host institutions are not responsible for providing financial assistance or housing.

Before the Scholar Arrives at UMN

The University of Minnesota Fulbright Administrative Official is responsible for signing off on the Institutional Reply Form (IRF) that confirms the scholar’s affiliation with the University of Minnesota. The IRF must be completed BEFORE the DS-2019 immigration document can be issued by Fulbright to the scholar. In order to complete the form, please provide the following information to as soon as possible:

  • The recommended arrival date for the Fulbright scholar
  • Any additional fees that your department specifically charges a visiting scholar to offset overhead costs of hosting. Please note that most UMN departments do not charge any fees for hosting scholars. While Fulbright is open to paying such a fee, there is an expectation that this fee may be waived for a Fulbright scholar.

Once a scholar is awarded a grant and becomes officially affiliated with the University of Minnesota, the host department is strongly encouraged to create a PeopleSoft ID for the scholar (and the scholar’s dependents, if applicable) and provide the scholar:

  1. A University ID card
  2. An office or workspace
  3. Computer facilities with Internet access
  4. Library and research facilities

The scholar will be encouraged to correspond directly with the department’s faculty associate, though the faculty associate is welcome to initiate communication, especially regarding arrival plans.

When the Scholar Arrives

It is important that the faculty associate or another representative be available to assist the scholar upon arrival.

The department is strongly encouraged to make arrangements to transport the scholar from the airport to the university, including having someone be at the airport to greet the scholar. This individual could be a faculty associate, colleague, or a graduate student in the program.

While the scholar is responsible for finding his or her own housing, the department should be prepared to assist the scholar if he or she seeks help.

Host departments are responsible for informing visiting scholars of all pertinent University policies governing them, including the requirement to purchase the UMN’s Student Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) for International Scholars in addition to the plan provided by the U.S. State Department (see Fulbright’s Responsibilities below). If there are any questions about this requirement, please contact the University’s Office of Student Health Benefits.

During Tenure of Grant

Although the host department will be the focus of the scholar’s work during his or her grant period, a number of other resources available on campus may help expand the scholar’s experience in the U.S.

Keeping in mind the Fulbright Program’s fundamental principle of international exchange, the host department is encouraged to connect the scholar with the University’s area studies department that focuses on the scholar’s home region. ISSS may also be able to suggest activities on campus or in the local community that would be of interest.

If conferences or meetings of relevant professional associations are held during the scholar’s grant period, the host department should advise the scholar of these opportunities.

The Fulbright Outreach Lecturing Fund (OLF) provides opportunities for Fulbright Visiting Scholars already hosted in the U.S. to accept invitations from other U.S. universities and colleges for short-term speaking engagements. If the scholar receives such an invitation from another institution, the scholar is encouraged to discuss a proposed absence from campus with the host department  to take advantage of the opportunity.

The faculty associate is responsible for monitoring their time spent working with the scholar during the grant period. This information may be requested later to report in a Faculty Associate Final Report, and it an important component of how the UMN can demonstrate the commitment and support that faculty across the United States provide to the Fulbright Program.

Fulbright Responsibilities

The Fulbright Core Visiting Scholars Program is administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES), a division of the Institute of International Education (IIE). It is responsible for:

  • Distributing the scholar’s DS-2019 form for the J-1 visa after receipt of the Institutional Reply Form (IRF) from host institution
  • Providing travel and living expenses in-country for the scholar and accompanying dependents
  • Providing a limited emergency health plan* through the U.S. Department of State called ASPE (Accident & Sickness Program for Exchanges)

*Regardless of this health plan, the University of Minnesota requires all international students, scholars and their dependents to enroll in an additional, more comprehensive Student Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) for International Scholars, if their activities at the University of Minnesota last longer than 31 days. Fulbright does not cover the cost of the required UMN health insurance for Fulbright scholars.

ISSS Responsibilities

As the Fulbright scholar’s DS-2019 form is issued by Fulbright, ISSS is not involved in creating any immigration documents or reporting on the scholar in SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System).

In addition to submitting the Institutional Reply Form (IRF) before the scholar’s arrival, ISSS's Sarah Krueger provides personal counseling and advising services to the scholar on all matters of concern, including immigration and cultural adjustment and personal well-being. She also coordinates financial arrangements and serves as a liaison between the scholar and Fulbright.

Last updated: June 15, 2021