Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (FLAS)


Q: Who is eligible to receive a FLAS fellowship?

Students must be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident at the time of application. Both graduate and undergraduate students are eligible to apply. At the graduate level, students must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a full­‐time program of graduate or professional study. Graduate students may implement FLAS at the intermediate and advance language level. At the undergraduate level, students must be enrolled in a full-­time program of academic study. Undergraduate students only in the intermediate or advanced study of a less commonly taught language are eligible.

Q: I am a student from another university. Am I eligible to apply for a FLAS fellowship through your program?

Possibly. You are eligible if you are applying to study a language through a summer program hosted by UNC.

Q: I am an in­‐coming UNC student. Can I apply for FLAS?

Yes. If you are selected for a FLAS fellowship, your award will be contingent on acceptance and enrollment at UNC.

Q: I am a student who will be graduating this spring. Am I eligible to apply for a FLAS fellowship?

If you are graduating and will not be enrolling the following term, then you are not eligible. If you are graduating in the spring and enrolling in a graduate program the following fall semester then you are eligible.

Q: I currently have a FLAS fellowship. Can I re­‐apply?


Q: I am interested in applying for a FLAS for a commonly taught language or a language outside of the NRC target languages list. Am I still eligible?

Technically, yes. Please be aware, however, that applications for less-commonly taught languages or languages in the NRC target list will be prioritized. The purpose of the FLAS program is to ensure continued national competence in foreign languages and global area studies expertise. Because the national competence in the more­‐commonly‐taught languages is not immediately threatened, the preference for awarding FLAS fellowships is in the less­‐commonly-­taught languages.

Q: Are professional school students eligible for a FLAS?

Yes. We seek to make fellowship awards to students in a variety of academic disciplines.

Q: As an anthropologist, am I eligible for a FLAS? As a law student, am I eligible? As a medical student, am I eligible? As a music student, am I eligible? As a math student, am I eligible?

Applicants from all academic disciplines and professional schools are eligible to apply. However, every FLAS fellow is required to take one language course and one area studies course EACH semester.

Q: Is the FLAS application on the CGI website the only one I need to complete, or do I need to complete a separate application with the U.S. Department of Education?

To apply for FLAS fellowship funding, you must complete an application online through our website, not through the U.S. Department of Education. Please review the program details and application instructions before you apply!

Q: I am applying for a beginning level language FLAS. I have no knowledge of the language. Do I still need to submit a language evaluation?


Q: To whom should my recommendation letters be addressed?

Letters may be addressed to “FLAS Review Committee.”

Q: Can I apply for both a summer and an academic year FLAS fellowships?

Yes. It is possible to receive both a summer and AY award. As an example, a graduate student may apply to attend a summer intensive Arabic program in Arabic 1 and 2 followed by an AY FLAS for Arabic 3 and 4.

Q: Is it possible to apply for two different languages? For example, may I apply for a summer FLAS in Chinese, and an academic year FLAS in Korean?

Yes. But you can only apply for one language for the academic year and one for the summer. However, the review committee may question the applicant’s commitment to learning both languages to fluency. It is NOT possible to apply for an academic year FLAS for two different languages. It is NOT possible to apply for a summer FLAS for two different languages. Applicants should prioritize their language interest and need when determining their language study.

Q: Is there a form for the recommenders to fill out?

Yes. The form is available as part of the online application.

Q: How should I submit the letter of recommendation?

Letters of recommendations are submitted as part of the online application. Instructions are available after an application as been initiated.

Q: Can I include additional information to the application? (i.e. addendum, published papers)


Q: My references are on file at UNC Career Services, and they are not allowed to send the letters directly to me. Can the letter be sent directly to the center through which I’m applying?

No. Recommendation forms must be submitted via the online application.

Q: Do my recommendation forms need to come from UNC faculty? And should they be from my current professors?

We strongly encourage applicants to designate at least one UNC faculty member. You should consider someone (whether at UNC or elsewhere) who is most familiar with your work, degree objectives, and career goals. The recommender should be able to speak about your overall academic qualifications and the relevance of language training to your specific goals. References from faculty members or work references outside of UNC will be accepted.

Q: I am an incoming graduate student. Do both of my references need to come from UNC faculty?

Not necessarily. See above.

Q: How do I identify a language evaluator?

Contact the relevant UNC language department and ask for an appointment with a language evaluator. You may also use a language teacher from other universities that teach your target language. If the language is not currently taught in the area, you may try contacting other local organizations that offer structured language instruction.

Q: Where do I find the language evaluation form?

Find the language evaluation form here. Applicants should upload a completed form into the online application.

Q: Is a graduate teaching assistant an acceptable language evaluator?

Yes. However, a faculty member is preferred. In this case, your FLAS coordinator may ask for further information on the individual’s qualifications to conduct the language evaluation.

Q: Is a native speaker an acceptable language evaluator?

Yes, but ONLY in the event that UNC (or near-­‐by universities) do not employ a qualified instructor in your target language. In this case, your FLAS coordinator may ask for further information on the individual’s qualifications to conduct the language evaluation.

Q: Can my previous language instructor conduct my language evaluation even if I took the language outside of UNC?


Q: The language evaluator requested a fee for the evaluation. Can UNC pay for this service?

No. Unfortunately, we do not have funds available for this purpose.

Q: Do I need to identify a language program on my summer FLAS application?

Yes. If awarded, you will need to provide evidence that the language program meets the following requirements:

a) Beginning or intermediate levels: 140 contact hours of instruction, for a minimum of six (6) weeks.

b) Advanced level: 120 contact hours of instruction, for a minimum of six (6) weeks.

c)Tuition costs that do not exceed the tuition allowance ($5000). You may list several different language programs in which you are interested.

Once a FLAS award is made, an applicant may choose the most appropriate summer program. While it is not required that you show evidence that the programs meet the above requirements at the time of application, you will need to show evidence after an award is made. However, the more the review committee knows about the program the better.

Q: Do I have to list the courses that I plan to take next year on the application? How do I know which courses will be offered next year?

For an academic year FLAS, list the two language and area studies courses you are interested in taking for each semester. At the time of application, it is not necessary to list actual courses for the next academic year. You may list potential courses based on courses offered in the past. The goal is to provide review committees with a sense of your area studies concentration and interest.

Q. Can summer FLAS be used to implement UNC summer Study Abroad Programs?

Yes. The Study Abroad Office has approved more than 300 programs in more than 70 countries for the award of UNC-­Chapel Hill academic credit. If a FLAS applicant wishes to transfer academic credit for a FLAS-supported language program delivered outside the USA, they are advised to review the list of approved study abroad programs on the Study Abroad Office website and to consult with the study abroad advisor for the country in which their overseas program is delivered. A list of staff working in the Study Abroad Office can be consulted here.

In the event that a student is applying for a FLAS award for a program that is not already approved for the award of UNC­‐Chapel Hill credit, the student should submit a petition for approval. Contact the study abroad advisor for the country in which the overseas program is delivered to receive instructions on the petition process. A list of staff working in the Study Abroad Office can be consulted here.

Q: How are applications reviewed?

The FLAS Review Committee consists of faculty and/or staff with global area studies and language expertise. The Committee reviews all proposals and ranks them using a weighted scale that considers academic merit, demonstrated financial need (with information obtained from the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid), and the extent to which the proposed study or use of the language matches Title VI priorities.

Q: What is the review timeline?

The FLAS Coordinator will inform applicants of award decisions by email end of March.

Q: Is a FLAS fellow allowed to work during the fellowship award period?

FLAS fellows are allowed to work during the award period but cannot be required to work in exchange for the FLAS fellowship. Regardless of work status, all FLAS fellows are required to be engaged in full­‐time foreign language and area/international studies course work or dissertation research during the academic year and in intensive language study during the summer award period.

Q: Can I study at the elementary level outside the United States?

Graduate students may study at the elementary level only if the language is not offered in the United States. Awards for elementary study outside of the US are rare. Undergraduate students will only be awarded FLAS at the intermediate level and above and may study either in or outside of the US.

Q: Can I use my academic year FLAS fellowship outside of the United States?

While some academic year programs may be eligible, at UNC we prioritize academic year applicants who will be completing their full­‐time program of study on campus. Undergraduate students may use their FLAS fellowship for an academic semester or academic year UNC study abroad program as long as the language and area study course requirements are fulfilled each semester.

Q: Do the programs have to be at UNC?

Academic year FLAS fellowships must be implemented by enrolled students at UNC. Summer FLAS can be implemented at all programs that meet the FLAS eligibility requirements.

Q: What makes a summer program FLAS eligible?

Each summer intensive language program needs to be approved on a case­‐by­‐case basis by the FLAS Coordinator. In general, a summer intensive language program may be FLAS eligible if it meets the following criteria:

1) 140­‐160 contact hours;

2) at least 6 weeks in length;

3) tuition no greater than $5,000 (unless the student can cover the additional cost); and

4) the program must be a structured, credit-­granting program.

Q: What is a contact hour?

A contact hour is one hour of instruction.

Q: Do academic programs need to be group structured or can I study with a tutor?

Both academic year and summer programs must be structured and credit bearing. A private tutor will not be considered a FLAS eligible program. In extremely rare cases, independent study with language instructors where credit is received may be considered for advanced language learners when more structured, group courses are not available.

Q: Are travel funds provided for summer FLAS?

No. But, in some cases, funds may become available for allocation. Plane fare up to $1,000 may be awarded if the fellow’s ticket fits the rules of the Fly America Act. Information on the Fly America Act can be viewed here. Your FLAS Coordinator will discuss the possibility of providing funds to cover travel with FLAS Fellows after awardees are notified. Travel support is NOT part of a FLAS fellowship and therefore cannot be guaranteed.

Q: Is my FLAS fellowship taxable?

FLAS fellowships are considered taxable income. Recipients should consult the IRS tax code or consult with a tax professional for further information.

Q: How do I know which courses fulfill the FLAS requirements?

Fellowship recipients are required to take one language course and one area studies course each semester (a total of two language courses and two area studies courses for the academic year). The FLAS coordinator must approve area studies courses each semester. Area studies courses may be taken in the recipient’s academic department if the course has an appropriate level of area content in the curriculum.

Q: What are the award amounts for summer FLAS fellowships?

Summer fellows receive a $2,500 stipend and up to $5,000 for tuition and fees. Housing and subsistence costs are not covered in the $5,000 in tuition and fees allocation. If a summer program lumps housing costs into the total amount of tuition and fees, recipients will need to contact the program to get a breakdown of costs.

Q: What are the award amounts for academic year FLAS fellowships?

Academic year graduate student fellows receive a $15,000 stipend and full payment of tuition, fees and health insurance. Tuition for out of state students is covered in full, but we do encourage recipients to apply for residency. Academic year undergraduate students receive a $5,000 stipend and up to $10,000 in tuition and fees. This fellowship may affect undergraduate student aid packages. We recommend that undergraduates consult with the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid before accepting a FLAS award.

Q: Can I take a language or area studies class at Duke, NC State or another nearby university?


Q: What are the reporting requirements?

Fellows are required to submit both an interim and final report. Reports are completed via IRIS, an online reporting system administered by the US Department of Education. These reports are fairly short and ask various questions about your future career plans and your level of language attainment. These reports are mandatory for all fellows. In addition, fellows are required to submit pre and post language evaluations. Instructions for completing these evaluations will be provided at the time of award.