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Office of National Scholarship Advisement
University of Mississippi

Payne Fellowship

Open to:

Rising seniors and graduates


Application Deadlines

  • UM Deadline: None
  • National Deadline: October
  • Endorsement: Not required.


The USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship Program seeks to attract individuals who are interested in pursuing careers in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The Payne Fellowship, provides up to $96,000 in benefits over two years for graduate school, internships, and professional development activities, is a unique pathway to the USAID Foreign Service.

Application Procedure:

  • A completed online application (including background information, personal statement, a statement of financial need);

  • Two letters of recommendation (one from faculty one from a community.

  • Official Transcripts from all colleges and universities the applicant has attended for credit.


  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens.

  • Applicants must be seeking admission to enter graduate school in the fall of 2022 for a two-year program at a U.S. university. They can be in the senior year of their undergraduate studies, graduating by June 2022, or they can be college graduates.

  • Applicants must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or higher on a 4.0 scale at the time of application.

Videos and Workshops:

Why did I apply for the Payne Fellowship?

Advice to applicants




Want to Apply?


There are many things you can do to become competitive for such awards. It all starts with becoming engaged with your classes, your professors, and your community–starting your freshman year!

The key to a strong application is…START EARLY! Follow these steps to schedule your appointment!

STEP 1: Look through the Handbook or Website to identify potential awards.

  • Each award description in the handbook or website includes eligibility, a description, application procedures, and links to videos/webinars.
  • Some awards identify “institutional endorsement required” or “institutional endorsement recommended”. In order to be endorsed by ONSA and the university of Mississippi you must have a complete application by the campus deadline.

STEP 2: Complete the Fellowship Interest Form (required)

STEP 3: Make an appointment with a Fellowship Advisor (strongly recommended)

STEP 4: If you apply for a national fellowship, you will need to complete the Nomination Permission Form and Waiver (required)