Kai Nip

The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies will offer new fellowships for students to study foreign languages abroad over the summer or during the academic year.

The MacMillan Center Summer Language Fellowship will provide compensation for program tuition and fees up to $5,000 and a living stipend up to $2,500. The MacMillan Center Academic Year Language Fellowship will provide payment for non-Yale program tuition and fees up to $18,000 and a living stipend up to $15,000.

“The idea for the fellowship came when we did an assessment of what students apply for and what funding is needed,” said Julia Muravnik, the assistant director for the fellowship programs. “We’ve had a lot of requests for funding available for language study but we only had several pockets of money like the Light Fellowship or other area-restricted funding. It was just very patchy — some here and not enough there.”

The fellowships were developed as a response to the rising need for funding for foreign language study. According to George Joseph, the executive director of the MacMillan Center, the Center had already began considering informal requests for funding from students wishing to study languages. This fellowship will “formalize” this process into an official program and increase accessibility to foreign language study.

Another reason for the introduction of the fellowship is the decrease in federal funding for international language study. According to Joseph, for many years, Yale has been receiving Title VI funding for programs in international study, which the government provides for languages critical to U.S. national security and economic interests. However, in recent years, the funding has decreased, leading to the loss of funding for African, Middle Eastern and Latin American language programs. This year, Yale only received Title VI funding for some European languages.

“We decided that we will replace the loss of federal funding with Yale funds, but also expand the program to more closely meet Yale’s needs,” Joseph said.

Joseph stressed the fellowships’ openness to a wide range of needs. Fellowships are available to any undergraduate, graduate and professional school student wishing to study a language as long as the language study will contribute to their academic development for research or class credit. Moreover, there are no restrictions on language, and funding will be available to languages that are not taught at Yale.

According to Muravnik, administrators are still unsure about the level of demand for the fellowships, although she said that the Center will “try to meet all demands.”

“Our goal is to make sure that everyone who wants to be proficient in a language, for example if they need the language for international research, will be able to have the funding to become proficient,” she said.

Dean of International and Professional Experience Jane Edwards told the News that although she could not yet predict the impact of the fellowship, she thought that the fellowship was important because it expanded the opportunity to learn additional languages. She added that “learning an additional language is always good.”

The deadline for the MacMillan Center Summer Fellowships for Language Study is March 29. The deadline for the MacMillan Center Academic Year Fellowships for Language Study is May 1.

Ayumi Sudo | ayumi.sudo@yale.edu