Picture taken in Mission Dolores Park, SF by Silja Pitkänen

ASLA-Fulbright Graduate Grants

The ASLA-Fulbright Graduate Grant Program is an academic mobility program. Since 1949, it has supported master’s and doctoral students from all fields to study or conduct research in a U.S. university or research institution, and to expand their horizon through cultural immersion.
The application round for the academic year 2025-26 is now closed. 

The Purpose of the Program

This comprehensive program is for those interested in becoming citizen-diplomats and who are interested and willing to share their culture and contribute to the relations between Finland and the U.S. Grantees serve as ambassadors for the Fulbright Finland Foundation, Finland, and (if applicable) their home institution in Finland during and after the grant period.

The ASLA-Fulbright Graduate Grant program supports master's and doctoral-level studies and research in different fields in a U.S. university. In exceptional cases, the organization hosting the grant recipient can also be a research center or other suitable organization. You can apply for the grant program if you are aiming to complete a degree in the United States, or if you are planning fixed-term studies in the U.S., lasting for one academic year (such as exchange studies or continuing training e.g. in a graduate certificate program). The grant program also supports research visits to the U.S. during the doctoral study phase as a visiting student researcher.

The global Fulbright program was founded for the purpose of promoting mutual understanding between people of different cultures with the help of educational and scientific collaboration. In Finland, the Fulbright Finland Foundation supports applicants who have an interest in and motivation to contribute to the Foundation’s mission of together shaping the future and being the driving force of change in different sectors of society or in academia. It is for those who, with their own work, wish to advance the development of their discipline or profession and find solutions to the central challenges of their field.  Read more about the background of the program.

Cost of Study in the U.S. and the Funding Model

The combined cost of study and living in the U.S. is significantly higher than in Finland and has been increasing recently. The total costs (including tuition, fees, insurance, and living costs) vary by institution and city and typically range anywhere between USD 30 000 and USD 85 000 per year for a two-year master’s program. However, there are also programs in the U.S. where the total cost can be USD 100 000 per year, or even more. For Ph.D. programs, the average total cost comes out to roughly USD 50 000 per year, including tuition, fees, insurance, and living expenses. Those planning on a research visit to a U.S. university as doctoral students are typically also charged anywhere between a few thousand to over USD 20 000 by the host university. Please note that non-degree students are also charged tuition and university fees.

The norm in the U.S. is that students apply not only for admission to a university, but also for financial aid from the university. The ASLA-Fulbright Graduate Grant Program operates in accordance with this same practice.

In the ASLA-Fulbright Graduate Grant Program, the primary funding source for the degree-seeking students’ study expenses is the U.S. university. Degree-seeking grantees are expected to receive significant funding for their studies from the U.S. university, according to the typical U.S. graduate study funding model. University funding can be in the form of full/partial tuition waivers, stipends, or teaching and research assistantships, for instance. Hence, a crucial element of the ASLA-Fulbright program is the Placement Service, which guides the students and helps locate high-quality U.S. universities with reasonable expenses and funding opportunities that best match the candidate’s academic and professional goals as well as financial situation. Placement Service specialists are field of study experts familiar with the diverse range of U.S. higher education institutions, of which over 1 000 provide graduate-level studies.

The grantees may also receive a top-up grant from the Foundation, if needed, in addition to the financial support provided by the U.S. university.

Please note that you can also apply to the ASLA-Fulbright Graduate Grant Program if you already have secured full funding for your studies in the U.S. and do not necessarily need the Fulbright Placement Service’s help for locating funding. In these cases, the Placement Service can provide support solely in locating suitable institutions and applying for admission.

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Alumnien sanoin, osa I: Keitä Fulbrighterit ovat? Mitä Fulbright-kausi merkitsi heille?
In this program, you receive personalized help in finding suitable universities and funding for your study expenses. Learn about the university Placement Service from Fulbright Online. 

Program Benefits

You will become part of a comprehensive program. You will receive support and guidance in locating a university that matches your academic, professional, as well as your financial needs. In addition, you will receive a wide range of support services to prepare you for your upcoming journey.

  • Placement Service: You will receive help in locating suitable universities with funding opportunities out of the about 1 000 higher education institutions providing graduate-level education in the U.S. You will also be guided in the U.S. university application process and provided waivers for U.S. university application fees and TOEFL and GRE test vouchers. This free-of-charge service is provided by the Foundation’s U.S. program partner. Read more about the Placement Service on Fulbright Online.
  • Personal advising and guidance services: Supporting you, for example, in a variety of matters related to moving to the U.S., before and during the grant term.
  • Orientation training: Extensive orientation training to U.S. culture, the higher education system, and details for the upcoming Fulbright period, including online materials, virtual meetings, and an orientation day in Helsinki.
  • Networking opportunities: Enabling you to build connections professionally and internationally in Finland and the U.S. As a Fulbright grantee, you are provided an opportunity to participate in the Fulbright enrichment activities (seminars, events, and workshops) allowing you to connect with fellow grantees from all around the world as well as local community members. In addition, you will be joining a global network of 400 000+ alumni as well as the Fulbright Finland alumni community.
  • Free visa: J-1 visa for you, and J-2 visa for family members who travel with you.
  • Grant: Financial top-up grant, if needed. The sum is determined after U.S. university funding has been confirmed (typically in the spring before departure to the U.S.) and is dependent on the best financial aid packet received from a U.S. university. Typically, the top-up grant may range between USD 5 000 to USD 20 000. In exceptional situations, it has been up to USD 30 000.
  • Fulbright Finland Centennial Travel Grants in Architecture, Design and the Visual Arts: This additional grant can be awarded to Finnish or U.S. graduate student grantees representing any of the three fields to help cover their Fulbright project-related travel expenses in their destination country. No separate application is needed.

The benefits of joining a Fulbright program go beyond the grant term. Read the full list of benefits.

Support for Grantees with Disabilities

Extra funding support is available for grantees with disabilities. If you have a disability that would cause additional costs for the grant term, contact the Foundation to discuss reasonable accommodations. Send your self-assessment with a description of the disability and the specific accommodations requested to the Foundation ([email protected]) by the grant application deadline.

Please note that disclosing the need for disability accommodation does not affect the review and selection process.

Watch our online Applicant Event recording to learn more about opportunities to study in the U.S. You can also look through the slides from the event.

Application Requirements

Ambassadorial Role

  • Cultural ambassador of Finland: You are motivated to learn about other cultures and to share your own. The grantees contribute to the enhancement of Finland-U.S. relations by acting as citizen ambassadors of their home country and institution, and by promoting cultural understanding.
  • Representing a Fulbright Finland Foundation grant program: You may seek and receive additional funding for your time in the U.S. from other organizations or foundations, but your primary affiliation is always with the Fulbright Finland Foundation as your stay in the United States will be on the Fulbright program and on a Fulbright sponsored visa. 
  • Motivated to learn and share: You are motivated to develop your field of specialization and share your knowledge and learning during and after the grant term. After the grant term, you are interested in engaging as an alum of the Foundation.

Academic Requirements

  • A bachelor’s or master’s degree: You have completed your degree in a university or university of applied sciences by the end of the application period. 
    • If, for administrative reasons, you have not obtained the degree certificate but have completed all courses and the thesis required for your degree by the last day of the grant application period, you are eligible to apply for the grant program. Please include an informal certificate provided by your institution as proof of completed degree requirements. This certificate needs to state when you will obtain the official degree certificate. Once you receive your official certificate, please email a copy of it to us as soon as possible.
  • Start of studies: Your full-time studies/research visit in the U.S. begins in the fall of 2025.
  • One-year duration: Your studies/research visit lasts for at least one academic year, i.e. for 9-12 months.
  • Willingness to apply to multiple universities: At the time of applying, you do not have to have a place of study in the U.S., or an invitation from the host organization. Yet, you are prepared to apply to several universities you would like to study at. Your university list needs to be balanced and include a backup plan. You will receive help from us in creating a balanced university list.
    • For visiting student researchers and doctoral degree applicants, it is very important to establish initial contact with potential supervisors in the U.S. to learn about suitable opportunities before submitting the grant application.
    • For your research visit, it is possible to have two different host organizations consecutively.
  • Accredited institution: The U.S. universities you apply to must be accredited by a recognized accrediting agency or association as recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education. You can check institution accreditations on the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs webpage.
    • In some cases, a visiting student researcher's host organization can be a research center or other suitable organization.
  • All fields of study are welcome: Your studies or research during the grant term is in or close to your own field. Only studies or research including patient care or other patient contact are excluded.

Visa Requirements

  • J-1 Visa: You will travel to the U.S. with an exchange visitor visa (J-1 visa) organized by the Fulbright program.
  • Finnish citizenship and residence: You must be a Finnish citizen. You cannot have Finnish-American dual citizenship or a permanent residence permit in the U.S.
    • The grant cannot be given to an applicant who already resides in the U.S. You have to start your studies in the U.S. with the ASLA-Fulbright Graduate Grant.
  • Previous stay in the U.S. (for both the applicant and their family members): Please contact the Foundation when writing your application if you or your family members have visited the U.S. with a J-1 or J-2 visa within the past 24 months. Limitations on receiving a new visa due to the 12-month bar and 24-month bar regulations might apply.
  • Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement: A grantee cannot apply for a work permit or an immigration visa to the U.S. immediately after the end of their grant term. One has to reside in their home country/country of residence for two years after the grant period is over to get a work permit or an immigration visa to the U.S. (the country of residence is considered to be the country where the grantee has resided permanently before leaving for the U.S.). However, regular tourist visits and, for example, studying in the U.S. is possible. Read more about this requirement on the U.S. Department of State webpage.

A special award available for studies and research at Cleveland State University

Application Instructions and Tips

Please note that it is the applicant’s responsibility to make sure all required items are submitted by the application deadline.

Application Instructions

  • Application: Submit your online application here: https://apply.iie.org/ffsp2025.
  • Application instructions: Please follow these application instructions while filling in the application.
  • Application checklist: This is a mandatory item to be submitted along with your application, please utilize this to make sure you have attached all necessary documents to the application. Download the checklist.
  • Cost-share grants: Finnish universities and the Foundation fund certain grants together. All ASLA-Fulbright Graduate Grant applicants are automatically considered for cost-share grants. Please find more information on the cost-share funding webpage.
  • Fulbright-KAUTE Foundation Award: As KAUTE Foundation is our partner, applications in the fields of Business, Economics, and Technology submitted to the ASLA-Fulbright Graduate Grant program are also automatically considered for the Fulbright-KAUTE Foundation Award without any action required from the applicant.

The Selection Process

You can learn more about the selection process on the following pages:

Instructions and Tips for Required Documents

The following tips and guidance will help you in preparing your application:

Schedule

As a grantee, it is important that you are committed to the program schedule listed below:

 
WhatWhenMore information
Info Session for Graduate Applicants to the U.S. (online)March 7, 2024
at 15:30-17:00
In this event, U.S. professors and alumni give you advice on selecting suitable U.S. universities and graduate programs or hosts for research visits as well as shed light on the U.S. university application process. You will also receive tips for applying to the Fulbright programs.
Application deadlineMay 19, 2024 
Interview invitations emailed to the selected applicants Min. one week before the interviews  
InterviewsAugust 13-14, 2024Interviews are held predominantly online. 
Final selection results publishedMid-September 2024 
Taking the language and aptitude tests if needed (e.g. GRE, GMAT, TOEFL)Immediately after the grant program selection results are published or earlierDepending on your status (degree student/visiting student researcher), your choices of universities, and the deadlines of those universities. Typically relevant for degree and non-degree students.
Orientation trainingLate September 2024-May 2025We provide self-study tools and online and in-person training sessions for you to prepare for your upcoming year. Please see the details below.
Fall orientation session and American Voices seminar in TurkuOctober 11-12, 2024Planning for the Fulbright term and guidance for the next steps. Participation in the seminar and opportunity to network with current U.S. Fulbrighters in Finland. The Foundation will reimburse the travel and accommodation costs for grantees living outside Turku.
Pre-Departure WebinarMarch/April 2025Online training on the next steps for preparing for your stay in the U.S. and meeting with your program-specific cohort.
The Pre-Departure Orientation and Award Ceremony in HelsinkiMid-May, 2025Training event for all the Foundation's grantees for the academic year 2025-26. The Foundation will reimburse grantees' travel costs.
The introductory orientation courses in the U.S. August 2025Opportunity to meet fellow Fulbright grantees from around the world and familiarize oneself with U.S. culture and higher education. The courses are voluntary (no accommodation costs are involved, and a travel grant will be awarded for the travels within the U.S.).
The studies/research visit in the U.S. beginsAugust/September 2025 
First grant installmentSeptember 1, 2025 
Second grant installmentJanuary 2, 2026 

Alumni Experiences

Take a look at the stories and video interviews of previous Finnish Fulbright grantees.

Why Fulbright Matters Now More Than Ever (Fulbright Finland News Magazine 2019)

  • Miika Tomi, 2015-16 ASLA-Fulbright Graduate grantee

The Power of Fulbright Community (Fulbright Finland Foundation News Magazine 2022)

  • Olli Siitonen, 2021-22 ASLA-Fulbright Graduate grantee

From Michigan to Namibia (Fulbright Finland Foundation blog 2022)

  • Siiri Sinnemäki, 2021-22 ASLA-Fulbright Graduate grantee

Support of the Fulbright Finland Foundation in the Graduate Application Process to the U.S. (Fulbright Finland Foundation blog 2021)

  • Iines Kiuru, 2021-22 ASLA-Fulbright Graduate grantee

You can find more stories of our grantees and alumni on our blog or YouTube channel, as well as reach out to our Outreach Ambassadors, our alumni, about their experiences.

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Alumnien sanoin, osa II: Fulbrighterit muutoksentekijöinä

What is the Fulbright Finland Foundation?

The Fulbright Finland Foundation is a private, independent, not-for-profit organization based in Helsinki, Finland. The Foundation’s aim is

  • to promote a wider exchange of knowledge and professional talents through educational contacts between Finland and the United States, and
  • to support the internationalization of education and research in Finland, and help U.S. and Finnish institutions create linkages.

What Makes the Fulbright Finland Foundation Programs Unique?

  • In addition to the grant, the Fulbright Finland Foundation offers the grantees several additional benefits and free support services, as well as access to a global, multi-professional network.
  • We are looking for applicants who want to impact the future and to make a difference – applicants who want to facilitate positive change, develop and advance their own profession or discipline, and find solutions to national and international challenges in their field.
  • The grantees also act as ambassadors for the Fulbright Finland Foundation, their home country, and their home organization and, in this way, do their part in sharing their home country and culture and contributing to the relations between Finland and the U.S.
Global Fulbright Program logo

The ASLA-Fulbright Graduate Grant program is part of the global Fulbright program operating in over 160 countries worldwide.