Has the Fulbright-Hays Cancellation Affected You?

This week, the U.S. Department of Education announced that, due to budgetary constraints, “no new awards will be made under the [Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad] Program in FY 2011.” See the complete announcement here.

This represents an estimated 5.8 Million USD reduction in support, which will have repercussions across the entire graduate community (particularly the Chinese Studies graduate community, which relies heavily on Fulbright-Hayes support for overseas dissertation research).

Has this decision affected you or someone you know? In an effort to keep tabs of how this announcement impacts the overall community, we’d like to hear from you. Please leave a comment here or contact us at dissertationreviews@gmail.com and let us know your situation and your story.

Our very best wishes to all students affected by this situation.


About Thomas Mullaney

Assistant Professor of Modern Chinese History at Stanford University
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10 Responses to Has the Fulbright-Hays Cancellation Affected You?

  1. Thomas Mullaney says:

    Comment received on 5/20/2011 by advanced PhD student:

    “As a Fulbright-Hays recipient this year, I must say that I was quite surprised and disappointed to find that the program has been cut for the next financial year. Needless to say, it’s an excellent program that has provided me with the resources to focus all of my energies on research this year, conducting fieldwork in multiple locations around China. And it’s quite unfortunate that students who happen to be just a year behind me, and who are equally deserving of such funding, are being denied this opportunity.

    I’ve long felt that dissertation funding applications are in many regards something of a crap shoot- far too many excellent projects fail to receive funding for no apparent reason. The sudden disappearance of Fulbright-Hays into thin air, and the repercussions that this will have for students planning research this year, makes the entire process feel even more arbitrary and unpredictable.

    $5.8 million (the amount originally planned for the Fulbright-Hays program) is a lot of money- but in the grand scheme of things, it’s really just a drop in the bucket, particularly when one factors in our government’s other expenses for far less worthy causes. While I can’t help but question the motivation of those who didn’t seem to care much about deficits before 2009, I do recognize the need to make budget cuts. But while weighing the costs of programs, we should also weigh the costs of cuts- an entire cohort of graduate students and their research have fallen victim to a budget debate that seems increasingly detached from people’s real, concrete interests.”

  2. Thomas Mullaney says:

    Reprinted from H-Asia:

    “Hello friends,

    Just in case you did not hear today, all U.S. Department of Education Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad and Faculty Research Abroad awards for this year’s competition (FY 2011) have been cancelled nationwide. (NOTE: this is not the Fulbright Program run by IIE) At this point, the approach we are taking at OSU is to collect statements of our own awards’ impact on our own careers. These will be bundled together for our government relations officer and a representative from our office of international affairs to bring to Washington next week, in hopes of at least reviving the awards for FY 2012. Please check to see if similar activities are under way at your institutions or see about organizing similar approaches. If your institution does not have a Fulbright-Hays representative and you have benefited from this program, perhaps sending an impact statement to your congressional representatives and senators would be helpful. I think it is important to demonstrate that the effect of the cuts extends broadly throughout US higher education.

    Thanks for your consideration,

    Phil Brown
    Ohio State University”

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  4. Thomas Mullaney says:

    According to the Department of Education website, the following programs have been cancelled for the year:

    The Fiscal Year 2011 grant competitions for the following IFLE programs have been cancelled:

    American Overseas Research Centers
    Business and International Education
    Fulbright-Hays Training Grants–Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad
    Fulbright-Hays Training Grants–Faculty Research Abroad
    International Research and Studies
    Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program

  5. Thomas Mullaney says:

    An interesting post on the cancellation can be found here.

  6. T.J.Tallie says:

    I am absolutely devastated, as a PhD candidate at the University of Illinois who was in the running for Fulbright-Hays this year. Through the cobbling together of funding from my sympathetic department I will barely be able to make it to South Africa for my research this year, and am utterly disappointed at this situation. I just feel like so much time and effort has been wasted preparing for a research grant that was ultimately cancelled.

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  8. Thomas Mullaney says:

    Another comment from a graduate student in East Asian history: “I am a fourth year Phd student and applied for a Fulbright-Hays to do archival work in China and Taiwan next year. I had the good fortune to receive a Fulbright IIE for Taiwan, and thus will be able to undertake the Taiwan leg of my research plan. Nonetheless, funding from the Fulbright-Hays would have made trips to FHA possible, as well as spending a few months in local archives in Sichuan. The best case scenario is that I will receive another grant to do the necessary work in China, and thus take another research year to complete the dissertation. The worst case is that my dissertation will not fulfill the scope conceived in the prospectus and be limited to materials available in Taiwan.”

  9. E. Hundman says:

    I, too, was flabbergasted to receive the news that the Fulbright-Hayes was not making awards this year. I’m a third year Ph.D. student in Political Science at the University of Chicago, focusing on military affairs and violence in historical China. At my point in the program, Hayes was one of few good options I had for going abroad to do my work, and now I’m reduced to attempting to cobble together small sources for a much smaller trip next year. Basically, this has — at the least — likely added a year to many students’ time in graduate school and caused a lot of headaches. The shortsightedness of the decision is breathtaking.

  10. Michael Volpe says:

    I totally agree. They should not have the right whether it is Fulbright or the government to stop a program after it is already in motion. If they want to cancel it for next year, fine but not when it is already in process. The funding for these types of programs should come from pots of money that are already allocated and not funding that they hope will be allocated in next year’s appropriation. The whole way they go about this is wrong and we wasted a lot of time and effort for nothing. This really tarnishes the Fulbright name and I would like them to take a little responsibility for this instead of just shrugging their shoulders and blaming the government.

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