The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans is a $90,000 merit-based fellowship exclusively for immigrants and children of immigrants who are pursuing graduate school in the United States. Paul and Daisy Soros, Hungarian immigrants and American philanthropists, created the program as a way to give back to the country that had afforded their family such great opportunities.
Mr. and Mrs. Soros decided on a fellowship program because it allowed them to assist young New Americans at critical points in their educations, which they felt was an unmet need. They also wished to call attention to the extensive and diverse contributions of New Americans to the quality of life in the United States.
Fields of Study
Each Soros Fellowship supports one to two years of graduate study in any field and in any advanced degree-granting program in the United States. Ineligible programs: Online programs, executive graduate programs, joint bachelors/master’s programs in which both degrees are awarded simultaneously, certificate programs, post-baccalaureate programs, graduate programs that are not in the United States, and graduate programs that are not fully accredited.
Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows have pursued careers in medicine, science, law, policy, technology, business, government, non-profits, the arts, academia, and, in many cases, they have built their career across several sectors.
New American Status: To be eligible, your birth parents must have both been born outside of the US as non-US citizens, and both parents must not have been eligible for US citizenship at the time of their births.* In addition, one of the following must be true of you on the national application deadline:
- Born in the US: You are a US citizen by birth and both of your parents were born abroad as non-US citizens.
- Born abroad:
- Naturalized Citizen: You have been naturalized as a US citizen either on your own or as a minor child under the application of one of your parents.
- Adopted: You were born outside of the US or one of its territories and were subsequently adopted by American parents and were awarded US citizenship because of your adoption.
- Green Card: You are in possession of a valid green card.
- Refugee & Asylee: You have been granted asylum or refugee status in the US.
- If None of the Other Categories Above Apply: Graduated from High School and College in the US: If none of the other categories apply to you and you were born abroad but graduated from both high school and college in the US (this includes current and past DACA recipients).
- * If you were raised by only one of your birth parents, the following must be true:
- The parent who raised you must have been born abroad as a non-US citizen.
- Your second birth parent was not part of your life growing up and you have no contact with them.
Academic Standing: SOP advises currently enrolled juniors (intending to graduate next academic year); graduating seniors (in the current academic year); and recent alumni (who graduated within the most recent academic year). If you are still in college studying for your first bachelor’s degree, you are eligible to apply as long as you will complete your first bachelor’s degree before you enroll as a graduate student
Age: All students must be aged 30 or younger as of the national application deadline.
Each award is for up to a total of $90,000, including $25,000 in stipend support per year and 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.
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.
Most importantly, new Fellows join a strong community of current and past Fellows who all share the New American experience. An alumni association, The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows Association (PDSFA), actively engages current and past Fellows in events held across the country. Each Fellow attends two weekend conferences of Fellows. The great majority continue to be involved with the program through regional dinners and service in the selection process for later classes.
Recent Recipients & Alternates
UCI has had five recipients of the Soros Fellowship:
- Mohamad Abedi, Biomedical Engineering (2015 Scholar);
- Carolina Gabriela Jauregi, English & Comparative Literature (2007 Scholar);
- Dora Castaneda Rodriguez, Biological Sciences (2006 Scholar);
- Erick Ruiz Miranda, Biology (2002 Scholar);
- Mia Ching Lee, History (2000 Scholar).
The program draws more than 2,200 applications annually for just 30 fellowships.
Selection is based on merit – the specific selection criteria emphasize creativity, originality, initiative and sustained accomplishment. The rigorous selection process is focused on identifying the most promising New Americans who are poised to make significant contributions to the nation through their work. There should be a clear connection between the proposed graduate degree program and your long-term, ambitious career goals. In addition, the selection team looks for a commitment to the United States’ fundamental principles and ideals.