Every year, The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans supports thirty New Americans, immigrants or the children of immigrants, who are pursuing graduate school in the United States.
Each Fellowship supports one to two years of graduate study in any field and in any advanced degree-granting program in the United States. Each award is for up to $25,000 in stipend support, as well as 50 percent of required tuition and fees, up to $20,000 per year, for one to two years. The first year of Fellowship funding cannot be deferred.
Most importantly, new Fellows join a strong community of current and past Fellows who all share the New American experience. There is an alumni association, The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows Association (PDSFA), which actively engages current and past Fellows in events held across the country. For example, in 2015 the PDSFA held events with US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy (1998 Fellow) in both New York City and Washington, DC. In 2016, the PDSFA hosted events with Congressman Keith Ellison, Prabhjot Singh (2005 Fellow), Sachin Jain (2004 Fellow), Abdul El-Sayed (2012 Fellow), and Aarti Shahani (2010 Fellow) among others. They kicked 2017 off with an event in New York City co-hosted by the Marshall Scholars, which featured Thomas Friedman.
The competition is merit-based. Selection criteria emphasize creativity, originality, initiative, and sustained accomplishment. The program values a commitment to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The program does not have any quotas for types of degrees, universities or programs, countries of origin, or gender, etc. Unsuccessful applicants are welcome to reapply in subsequent years if they are still eligible.
What is required of Fellows? Over the two years of the Fellowship, Fellows are required to attend the annual Fall Conference in New York City, which is fully paid for by the program. The Fall Conference takes place over a weekend in late October and is an opportunity for the new Fellows to get to know one another and the Fellowship staff, alumni, and community, celebrate, and examine the New American experience. In addition, the director or deputy director of the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships will visit each Fellow on their respective campus during the first fall semester of their Fellowship. The Fellowship funding should allow Fellows to focus on their studies full-time, which is why Fellows are not able to work full-time during their graduate program. Finally, Fellows are required to remain in good standing in their graduate program while receiving funding. At the close of their two years as an active fellow, Fellows must submit an exit report. More details on the visit and the requirements of the Fellowship are provided when selected applicants sign a contract with the Fellowship.