Northwestern has the second-highest number of Fulbright students in the country this year, according to a report released in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Twenty-seven NU students received scholarships from the Fulbright Program for 2011-2012. Last year, the University placed sixth with 20 recipients, a huge drop from 2009’s first place with 32 scholarships. University of Michigan at Ann Arbor led the list this year, with 29 Fulbright students.
“We have sustained a level of excellence,” said Stephen Hill, associate director of the University’s Office of Fellowships. “The last five years we’ve been in the top work.”
However, funds to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which heads the Fulbright program, may be cut next year, potentially affecting plans of scholars such as Rauf and McGrath wanting to conduct research abroad.
The U.S. Senate proposed a 2.2 percent increase in funds for the bureau, but the House of Representatives put forth a plan to decrease their money by 10.1 percent. The Obama administration also requested a $1 million decrease in the Fulbright Program.
Hill said while a 10.1 percent cut would not devastate the program, limiting its funds would have serious consequences.
“Denying numbers of students to this scholarship simply sets this country back,” he said. “If it goes away, you just can’t replace it with online (education). Hopefully lawmakers will see the value of the Fulbright Program and see it is well worth the program.”
Kris Anne Bonifacio contributed writing.