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Payne Fellowship

Overview and Introduction

The USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship Program seeks to attract outstanding young people who are interested in pursuing careers in the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The fellowship provides up to $90,000 in benefits over two years for graduate school, internships, and professional development activities.  The Payne Fellowship encourages the application of members of minority groups who have historically been underrepresented in international development careers and those with financial need. Payne Fellows commit to working a minimum of three years in USAID upon successful completion of the program.

National Application Deadline: TBD (Late October)


  • Degree Level: Senior or alumni (between ages of 18-55)
  • Academics: 3.2 GPA or higher required 
  • Citizenship: US citizenship required 

Selection Criteria:

  • Outstanding leadership skills
  • Strong academic achievement 

Application Deadlines

  • National Deadline: TBD (Late October)
  • Endorsement: U-M Nomination is not required

Instructions for Prospective Applicants 

Review the complete and detailed application requirements, criteria, and guidelines for the online application and essays on the Payne Fellowship website. 

Note: Applicants are not required to be Howard University students or applying to Howard for graduate school to qualify for the Payne Fellowship.

Application Components 

  1. Personal Statement (600 words or less)
  2. Financial need statement (400 words or less)
  3. 2 letters of recommendation (one must be from a faculty member OR professional acquaintance in lieu of a faculty member from your program if you graduated with post-secondary degree more than 2 years ago)
  4. Student Aid Report (SAR) from FAFSA
  5. Transcript(s)