Latin American Scholarship Program of American Universities (LASPAU)

María Estefanía, 2018 Fulbright LASPAU Fellow is a Professor at Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala (USAC) currently studying a Masters in Toxicology at the Iowa State University.
María Estefanía, 2018 Fulbright LASPAU Fellow is a Professor at Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala (USAC) currently studying a Masters in Toxicology at the Iowa State University.

Fulbright Laspau 2021

The Fulbright Laspau scholarship provides an opportunity for Guatemalan university professors to pursue a master’s degree at a university in the United States. This is a highly competitive program.  Before submitting an application, please read carefully all the information on this page to ascertain whether you meet all eligibility requirements.  We highly recommend all potential applicants begin studying for the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) as soon as possible, even before submitting an application to this program.

Important note for all potential applicants to U.S. exchange programs:

As of November 8, 2021, all non-U.S. citizens seeking to enter the United States by air are required to comply with new requirements related to COVID-19 testing and vaccination status. In order to be eligible for consideration at this time, you must be able to meet these new requirements.

Please review the information available here: https://gt.usembassy.gov/updated-requeriments-for-air-travelers-to-the-u-s-due-to-covid-19/.

For further details and guidance, we refer you to the U.S. CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/noncitizens-US-air-travel.html https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/proof-of-vaccination.html

Applications for the 2022 program are open from February 1, 2021, to May 1, 2021.

Applicants must have both the written support of their university in Guatemala and firm plans to advance in their field upon their return from the United States. This support does not require financial aid, but it does require the commitment of the faculty to allow the applicant to teach upon concluding the master’s program in the United States. Selected Fulbright Laspau fellows are expected to travel to the United States in or around July 2022.

Who can apply?

You must meet all the following requirements to be eligible:

  • Guatemalan citizen currently living in Guatemala. U.S. citizens or permanent residents are not eligible. Priority will be given to candidates from rural areas.
  • Candidates with little or no prior U.S. experience will receive priority. consideration. Candidates who have studied previously in the United States are not eligible.
  • Recipient of either a bachelor’s (licenciatura) or master’s degree. Note: “Pensum cerrado” is not acceptable.
  • Grade point average (GPA) of at least 85/100 in the Guatemalan system or provably in the top 15 percent of your class when completing your most recent degree. This must be evidenced by official documents issued by your university. Be sure all certificates reflect the GPA.
  • Advanced level of English language ability, both oral and written. This will be tested. If possible, a recent TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score is recommended, but it is not required.
  • Minimum of five years of work experience in a field related to your studies. This must be supported by letters of recommendation.
  • At least three years working as a university professor. Priority will be given to full-time university professors.
  • Able to demonstrate leadership skills, capacity to adapt, and a high level of motivation.
  • Be committed to the development of your community through community service, volunteering, or other activities.
  • Be eligible for a J-1 visa.
  • Be committed to returning to Guatemala for a period of at least two consecutive years after completing your studies in the United States and to advancing your knowledge and skills in your field. 

Note:  Applications from candidates who do not meet all requirements will not be reviewed.

The following fields of study are not eligible for this scholarship: psychology, veterinary studies, dentistry, nursing, and medicine (with the exception of public health).

How do I apply? 

If you meet all requirements listed, before you start your application, you must do the following:

  1. Research universities in the United States where you might like to study. Research a minimum of five (5) options. It is ideal if you can establish faculty contacts in advance.  Unlike other fellowships, with Fulbright Laspau, you must first apply for the fellowship. If you are selected, you will then apply to the universities included in your Application Plan, with assistance from a Placement Specialist at Laspau. This fellowship covers only master’s degrees for a maximum of 24 months. There is no predetermined list of universities, and you may choose both public and private institutions. It is important to consider that a maximum budget has been set for Fulbright to invest in each student, and this budget generally does not cover the most expensive, elite institutions.  Candidates are not allowed to supplement the scholarship by paying university costs with their own funds.
  2. Start studying promptly for the GRE, TOEFL, and PAEP (Professional and Academic English Program) exams. Selected fellows will take the exams in August 2021.
  3. Attend one of the monthly sessions of EducationUSA, currently hosted virtually:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EducationUSAGuatemala

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EducationUSA_GT 

Application Process 

  1. Gather all the documents in this list: Required Documents for Fulbright – Laspau application (PDF – 136KB)

Some of the required documents are:

    • Nomination from your institution. This can be a letter from the Rector or Dean.
    • Scan of your passport information (bio) page.
    • CV in English (no more than two pages).
    • University transcripts for all earned degrees.
    • GRE and TOEFL scores (not required, but preferred). 

2.  Submit application

The application process is available online through this website: https://laspau.tfaforms.net/183.  To apply, candidates should click on the “Apply Now” button.

The application for the 2022 cycle is open from February 1, 2021, to May 1, 2021.

Candidates must submit their applications within these dates. Applications submitted after the deadline will not be reviewed.

3. Interviews

Candidates selected to move on in the application process will be interviewed. Interviews will be held in English. All interview notifications are sent via email. Candidates should check their inbox on a regular basis.

If you are not contacted to schedule an interview by July 1, 2021, you did not pass to the next stage. You will not receive a notice of non-selection. 

4.  Exams 

Selected candidates will take the GRE, TOEFL, and PAEP exams. If you are selected to proceed to the testing stage, Laspau will provide one voucher to cover the costs.

5. Selection/Non-Selection

Candidates selected as finalists are notified of primary or alternate status. Then a Placement Advisor is assigned. This person will guide the applicant in the creation of their Application Plan. Selected candidates will only apply to universities through this process. Separate applications should not be submitted to universities.

6. University acceptances

Candidates are notified of the decisions of the universities to which they applied through the Laspau office or the U.S. Embassy. The final placement is made in concurrence with the Fulbright Laspau Office, the candidate, and the U.S. Embassy. Candidates generally apply to four universities. If the candidate is not accepted at any university, this may put his/her participation in the program at risk.

7. Preparation for travel and logistics

The U.S. Embassy will provide instructions to apply for the J-1 visa and purchase flight tickets. Fellows travel to the United States on or around August 2022. (This date will depend on each university.)

8. Return to Guatemala

After Fellows have finished their studies, they become part of the U.S. Government exchange program alumni network of the U.S. Embassy. An in-person debrief will be scheduled.  

Frequently asked questions (FAQs):

Which expenses are covered by the Laspau Scholarship?

This scholarship covers the candidate’s expenses of the visa, travel, lodging, university fees, and medical insurance while in the United States. Dependents are not covered. More information is available here: https://www.laspau.harvard.edu/scholarship-applicants/

What is considered an advanced level of English?

If you are selected as a semifinalist, you will need to prove your English language proficiency through a standardized test such as TOEFL. Remember, the Fulbright Laspau program requires you to be able to fully function in a university classroom setting in the United States, and to write academic texts and essays, etc.

If I am granted the fellowship, can my family accompany me?

The Fulbright fellowship only covers expenses for the fellow. If you want your family (spouse or children under 18) to accompany you, you are responsible to cover their expenses. The Fulbright fellowship will provide you with instructions for your dependents to apply for a J-2 visa. To be eligible for this visa, you must all be able to prove, among other requirements, that you have sufficient funds to travel and for the contemplated period of stay in the United States.

Fulbright fellows with dependents must prove they have sufficient medical insurance to cover all dependents throughout their entire stay in the United States. More information here: https://laspau.force.com/placementresources/s/article/Dependent-visa-J-2.

Laspau Alumni

Since 1974, Laspau has granted scholarships to more than 100 Guatemalan professors. Laspau alumni are truly ambassadors for the Fulbright program. After completing their studies in the United States, they return to Guatemala to make meaningful impacts on their academic fields and communities. At present, the following universities have Laspau alumni on their faculties: San Carlos University, Del Valle University, Galileo University, and Da Vinci University.

2020 Fellows

Anasilvia Salazar, currently pursuing a master’s of science degree in human computer interaction at Iowa State University. Supporting institution in Guatemala: Universidad del Valle (UVG).

Nadhykrishna Colocho, currently pursuing a master’s degree in management sciences at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Supporting institution in Guatemala:  Galileo University.

Previous cohorts:

José E. Ramirez (Texas A&M) https://www.facebook.com/Embajada.EEUU.Guatemala/videos/416658739142160/

If you are an alumni fellow, you can engage with the Fulbright community via State Alumni Guatemala: https://www.facebook.com/statealumniguatemala.