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National Security Education Program

National Security Education Program

Interested in studying abroad? …Serving your Country?

The National Security Education Program (NSEP) was created to strengthen our nation’s economic competitiveness and enhance international cooperation in areas affecting the United States. The NSEP produces an exceptional pool of applicants for work in Federal departments and agencies.


The NSEP awards scholarships and fellowships through an annual competition of college undergraduate and graduate students with foreign language interests who wish to study in foreign countries. During and after completion of their studies, these students will work in the Federal government and help guide and implement an effective U.S. national security policy. Since its inception in 1993, over 2500 awards have been made.

The NSEP is the result of the National Security Education Act (Public Law 102-183, as amended), December 1991. Its objective is to address future United States national security and economic competitiveness by increasing the national capacity to deal effectively with critical foreign cultures and languages

The NSEP is the only program of its kind that is tied directly to the priorities affecting overall U.S. national security. These critical needs are expressed each year in the program’s application guidelines that include a list of geographic areas, languages, and fields of study critical to U.S. national security.


All recipients of NSEP undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships incur a service requirement. They are required to work, in order of priority – either for a Federal department, agency, or office with national security responsibilities, or in the field of higher education – in an area related to the study funded by NSEP.


  • -NSEP awards Scholarships to Undergraduates to study abroad in areas critical to U.S. national security and under-represented by U.S. students. The Institute of International Education (IIE) administers the scholarship portion of this program. Scholarship information is available from the IIE web site,
  • -NSEP awards Grants to U.S Institutions of Higher Education to build and/or enhance programs of study in foreign areas, languages, and other international fields critical to U.S. national security. Grant information is available from NSEP’s web site,

Note: All NSEP expenditures are taken from a U.S. Treasury Trust Fund created by a one-time appropriation in 1991. NSEP provides funds to U.S. students only.


Each NSEP scholar or fellow is responsible for entering their resume on line at NSEPNET provides employment information on all NSEP award recipients since 1996, including dates available for employment and resumes. Federal managers and human resource professionals can access this secure Internet site to review resumes, qualifications, and student availability for potential job opportunities. All data and access is strictly secured and not available to third parties.

NSEPNET is used by agencies to find candidates for jobs. Each scholar or fellow:

  • -is a U.S. citizen;
  • -is actively seeking employment;
  • -is available for employment immediately or within 12 months;
  • -is a prospect for full-time employment or an internship;
  • -has documented foreign language capabilities;
  • -has studied extensively about other countries or regions; and
  • -has studied in a field or discipline determined to be important to U.S. national security.


If the NSEP participant finds a position in a Federal department or agency that follows Title 5 hiring rules, the department or agency may appoint the participant in one of two ways:

  1. If the NSEP participant is currently a student, the department or agency may appoint him/her under the Student Education Employment Program appointment. Please see Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, section 213.3202(a) and (b) for eligibility requirements and other information.
  2. If the NSEP participant is no longer a student, the department or agency may appoint him/her under the “fellowship and related programs” authority in the excepted service, Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, section 213.3102®. Appointments made using the “r” authority are not permanent and are made for periods of time that may not exceed 4 years.

Note: Departments and agencies do not need to have a NSEP fellowship program established in order to use the “r” authority. The NSEP is a Federal-wide program that meets the criteria established for appointments under the “r” authority.

If the Federal department or agency does not follow Title 5 hiring rules (such as congressional and State offices), there are other options for these agencies to hire NSEP participants. These agencies must contact their human resources offices for specific information.


  • -The web site for general NSEP information is,
  • -The web site for information regarding NSEPNET,
  • -You may also e-mail
  • -Access the web site:

Note: NSEP award recipients are known as David L. Boren Scholars or Fellows

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