BYU has been ranked #1 in the nation for Boren scholarships for 2022, according to statistics released by the Boren Awards. With 12 Boren scholarships and 1 Boren fellowship awarded to BYU students, BYU topped the list of schools receiving Boren scholarships and was second only to the University of Chicago in the list of total awards given (scholarships plus fellowships).
"The Boren Awards are the most prestigious scholarships that the Kennedy Center works with," says James Mayo, scholarships coordinator at the Kennedy Center, who assists students applying for Boren scholarships. "In general, universities across the country have one or possibly two students receive them, if any. This clearly demonstrates the caliber of students studying languages at BYU."
The Boren Awards help college students go abroad to study languages that are considered critical to US national interests. They are named for David L. Boren, former US senator and governor of Oklahoma, who authored the legislation that created the program.
This year's excellent outcome is the result of a great deal of work by BYU students and by Mayo, who says, "In the past few years, the Kennedy Center has worked really hard with all applicants from BYU to make their applications competitive at a national level, and we have seen the number of BYU students receiving Boren Scholarships far outnumber the national average." This is not the first time BYU has made the list of top-performing institutions for Boren Awards, but it is the first year the school has placed so highly.
Students can apply to study a wide array of different languages, as long as they're considered important to America's national interests. "On top of Arabic and Mandarin students, which are by far the largest number of recipients across all applicants for Boren," says Mayo, "BYU students have also become competitive in other Asian languages, as well at Russian and Portuguese."
He hopes that more BYU students with an interest in languages will take advantage of this program and apply for Boren awards. "For students who speak less commonly taught languages and who may have reached the ‘end of the road,’ having taken all the courses BYU has to offer in their language, the Boren Awards are an amazing opportunity to get paid to expand your language skills in an immersive setting, and ultimately put those skills to use in a career setting."