Photo of a FLAS fellow with his host family.


Critical Language Study is part of a U.S. Department of Education initiative to encourage students in U.S. American institutions to study and master foreign languages less commonly taught in schools but essential to the nation's positive engagement with the world.

Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships provide financial support for students to immerse themselves in the study of a critical language of their choice. 

KU area studies centers offer programs in 17 languages eligible for FLAS awards during the 2018-2022 Title VI grant cycle. FLAS Fellowships allow students to immerse themselves in the study of a critical language without having the burden of worry financial security.

The U.S. Department of Education has certain languages of priority based on areas of national need e.g. working in schooling or governmental positions. The three Centers at KU each have their own specific priorities in order to meet with the needs that the Federal government has outlined. This is to ensure that the most qualified and deserving applicants achieve academic success and in turn contribute to the success of the U.S. Department of Education.

Applications from qualified students will be prioritized in the following order:  (1) Students who express concrete plans to go into government service or to become K-12 educators, (2) Students wishing to study abroad, (3) Students who demonstrate financial need, or (4) from professional schools.

The primary selection criteria for both academic year and summer grants is intellectual merit, including both quality of the application and potential to diversify intellectual production (by broadening participation of students from underrepresented groups or those who demonstrate financial need). The selection committee considers potential contribution to the field (including GPA, goals of the student, likelihood of success); quality of application (including statement of purpose and letters of recommendation); financial need; and membership in a traditionally underrepresented group (Including students at community colleges or minority-serving institutions).

  • No awards are given to speakers at native proficiency in writing, reading, and speaking.
  • No awards are given for European languages spoken in Africa (such as Portuguese or French).
  • Arabic awards are for study within African contexts only.

Competitive priority and preference is given to (listed in order) 1) KU students qualified to enroll in a Latin American or Caribbean LCTL or indigenous language program offered at KU; 2) KU students qualified to enroll in a Latin American or Caribbean LCTL or indigenous languages offered at another U.S. institution or in an approved foreign language program; 3) non-KU students qualified to enroll in a less-commonlytaught language program currently offered at KU; 4) KU graduate students qualified to enroll in advanced Spanish (offered at KU). In addition to the language priorities identified above, all meritorious applications from students with financial need as indicated by filed FAFSAs are given first priority.

All Students must fulfill the following requirements:

  • U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident.
  • Enrolled (or accepted for enrollment) as a full-time student at KU or at an accredited American institution of higher learning.
  • Studying a KU FLAS approved language at the intermediate or advanced level for undergraduate students or the beginning, intermediate or advanced level for graduate students.
  • Show potential for high academic achievement based on indices such as grade point average, class ranking, or similar measures determined by each individual area studies center at KU.
  • Students who already possess language fluency equivalent to educated native speakers in the language for which the award is sought will receive lowest consideration.

Academic Year

  • Undergraduate AY FLAS Fellowships provide up to $10,000 for tuition and a $5,000 stipend. Undergraduate FLAS is available for intermediate and advanced language study only.
  • Graduate AY FLAS Fellowships provide up to $18,000 for tuition and a $15,000 stipend. Graduate FLAS is available for all levels of language study.
  • Awards may be used for study at KU, study abroad, or a combination of both.
  • Students must be enrolled full-time and their course load must include an area studies center approved language course and an approved area studies course each semester.
  • Courses must be taken for a letter grade. Pass/Fail credit will not be accepted.
  • FLAS awards may not be used for independent research.


  • Summer FLAS Fellowships (undergraduate and graduate) provide up to $5,000 for summer tuition and a stipend of $2,500. International travel funds may be available, but are not guaranteed. All tuition amounts are limited to actual tuition charges.
  • Awards may be used for FLAS eligible programs at KU, another US institution of higher learning, and/or study abroad.
  • To be a FLAS eligible program, language study must be the equivalent of one academic year of modern foreign language study (a minimum of 6 consecutive weeks with 140 contact hours for beginner and intermediate level instruction, and 120 contact hours for advanced level instruction).
  • Undergraduate students must be at the intermediate or advanced level of language study to use an award for an approved overseas program.
  • Graduate students at the beginning level will be considered for overseas language study only if an appropriate equivalent beginning language instruction program in the student's target language is not available in the United States.
  • FLAS Awards may not be used for independent research

FLAS Coordinators

  • Each area studies center has a dedicated FLAS coordinator who can help you throughout the application process.

  • For more information about a center's priorities or unique deadlines, please visit a center's website and contact their coordinator.


FLAS Coordinators