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.

The Fulbright LASPAU scholarship provides the opportunity for Guatemalan university professors to study a Masters or Ph.D. in the United States. This is a highly competitive program. Before submitting your application read all the information in this page and be sure that you fulfill all the eligibility requirements.

Applications for Guatemala are open from February 1, 2020 to May 31, 2020. (There was an extension from the previous end date that was May 14, 2020)

Applicants must have the written support and commitment of their University and have firm plans to improve their field upon their return to Guatemala.

Who can apply?

You must fulfill 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 have a priority. Candidates that have previously studied in the U.S. are not eligible.
  • Graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree (Licenciatura) or Masters. “Pensum cerrado” is not accepted.
  • Grade point average (GPA) from 85 points out of 100 in the Guatemalan system or in the top 15% of your class for your last degree. This must be proven with documents issued by your university. Be sure that all certificates have the GPA.
  • Advanced English level: spoken and written. This will be tested. It is ideal to have a recent TOEFL Score, but not required.
  • Minimum five years of work experience in a field related to your studies. This must be proven by recommendation letters.
  • At least three years as a university professor. Priority will be given to full time university professors.
  • Demonstrate leadership skills, capacity to adapt, and high level of motivation.
  • Committed to the development of your community through community service, volunteering or other activities.
  • Be eligible for a J1 Visa.
  • Committed to returning to Guatemala for at least two years after finishing your studies in the United States and multiply your knowledge from your professional field. 

Applications from candidates that do not fulfill all requirements will not be reviewed.

Medicine, Psychology, Veterinary and Nursing are not eligible fields for this scholarship.

How can I apply?

Candidates who meet all the requirements must send their application through the online platform. If the original document is in Spanish, it must be accompanied by a simple translation. At this stage in the process, sworn translations are not necessary.

Before sending your application, you must:

  1. Research universities in the U. S. where you would like to study.
  2. Start preparing for the TOEFL, PAEP and GRE exams.
  3. Attend one of the monthly sessions of EducationUSA or schedule an appointment if you are not located in Guatemala City. 

EducationUSA Guatemala
Walt Whitman American Center – IGA
Ruta 1, 4-05, zona 4
T 2422-5590

Unlike other fellowships, with Fulbright LASPAU, you must apply for the fellowship first. If you are selected to receive this scholarship, then you will apply to the universities included in your Application Plan, with assistance from a Placement Specialist at LASPAU.

This fellowship covers only master’s or doctoral degrees for a maximum of 24 months. There is no pre-determined 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.

Supplemental Fulbright LASPAU application forms available here:

Application Process

  1. Gather all the documents in this list: Required Documents for Fulbright – Laspau application (PDF – 148KB)
  • Nomination from your institution.
  • Scan of your passport information page
  • Statement of purpose
  • CV in English (no more than two pages)
  • University transcripts from all earned degrees.
  • TOEFL Scores
  1. Submit application

The application process is available online through this website:

The application also requests three letters of recommendation. Recommenders can upload letters via this link:

The application for the 2021 cycle is open from February 1, 2020 to May 14, 2020.

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

  1. 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, you did not pass to the next stage. You will not receive a notice of non-selection.

  1. Exams

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

  1. Selection/Non selection

Candidates that are selected as finalists are notified: Primary and alternate status.

Then a Placement Advisor is assigned. This person guides the applicant in the creation of the Application Plan. Selected candidates will only apply to universities through this process. Separate applications should not be submitted to universities.

  1. University acceptances

Candidates are notified of the decisions of the universities where 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 can put his/her participation in the program at risk.

  1. Preparation for the travel and logistics

U.S. Embassy will provide instructions to apply for the J1 Visa and purchase flight tickets.

  1. Return to Guatemala

After Fellows finish their studies, they become part of the U.S. Government exchange program alumni network of the U.S. Embassy. An in-person debrief will take place. 

Frequent asked questions

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. Dependents are not covered. More information available here:

What would be considered an advanced level of English?

If you are selected as a semi-finalist, you will need to prove through a standardized test (such as TOEFL) that you are proficient in English. You must bear in mind that Fulbright LASPAU will require you to be able to fully function in a university classroom in the United States, and write academic texts and essays, among others.

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

The Fulbright fellowship only covers expenses for the fellow. If you want your family (spouse or children under 18) to travel with you, you must cover their expenses.

The Fulbright fellowship will provide you with instructions for your dependents to apply for a J2 visa. To be eligible for this visa, you must all prove, among other requirements, that you have the funds.

Fulbright fellows with dependents must prove they have medical insurance to cover all dependents throughout their complete stay in the United States.

More information here:

LASPAU Alumnus

You can find out more about LASPAU Alumnus via our Social Media.

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