Graduate SEAFellow Scholarship

The Graduate School and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Northern Illinois University annually offer a two-year tuition waiver scholarship for incoming master’s degree candidates who have successfully participated in one of the following youth leadership programs: SEAYLP, PYLP, or YSEALI. The competition opens on November 15 and closes on April 1 each year.

Important: before you open the application, scroll down this page to frequently asked questions to review what you will need to answer. Once you have reviewed them and have enough time to work on your application from start to finish.


This graduate scholarship will be available to students or adult leaders who have successfully participated in the U.S. State Department-funded Southeast East Asia Youth Leadership Program (SEAYLP), the Philippine Youth Leadership Program (PYLP) or the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) run at NIU. Applicants in Southeast Asia with leadership experience, community service, and academic excellence will also be considered.


  • Be enrolled full-time as a graduate student (at least nine graduate credit hours per semester)
  • Maintain good academic standing (minimum 3.0 GPA)
  • Enroll in and complete all coursework for the Graduate Certificate in Southeast Asian Studies
  • Serve as an ambassador of the SEAFellow program


  • May be used only for a post-baccalaureate degree (M.A., Ph.D., Ed.D., etc.,)
  • Must be used within two years of initial NIU enrollment
  • Will be awarded pending successful admission and continuing enrollment in a post-baccalaureate degree program and the Graduate Certificate in Southeast Asian Studies at NIU

Award Amount

The SEAFellow Fellowship is valued at up to $17,723.52 per year (estimated annual graduate tuition for NIU international students) and is renewable for two years provided the recipient remains enrolled full-time and maintains good academic standing.

Estimated Annual Academic Year Costs Not Covered by Award

Annual Fees

$5,817 (includes student medical insurance)

Estimated Annual Off-campus Housing


Off-campus housing costs are variable, depending on whether you share housing, market availability, etc.

Additional Fees and Costs

This amount may vary, depending on your program. Includes course material fees, books, etc.

Note: business, computer science and engineering majors have different tuition. For more information on cost planning, see NIU’s Planning and Cost Estimator.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to specialize in a particular field/program/major?

No. All graduate programs are eligible, but differential tuition is not waived for business, computer science and engineering.

I was an adult leader in one of the NIU SEAYLP programs; am I eligible?

Yes, the scholarship is available to youth and adult participants.

May I use the scholarship for both my bachelor’s degree and my post-baccalaureate degree?

No. The scholarship can only be used for a graduate degree program.

Must I complete the Graduate Certificate in Southeast Asian Studies?

Yes. You must enroll in the Graduate Certificate in Southeast Asian Studies in your first semester and complete all coursework for the Graduate Certificate in Southeast Asian Studies by the end of two years. The certificate is not a degree program and is separate from your graduate program.

I am already enrolled in a U.S. university in a bachelor’s degree program. May I transfer to NIU and use the scholarship?

Yes, you can!

As a J-1 participant in YLP, a program funded by the US government, I am subject to the two-year home residency requirement. I have not yet completed two years at home; can I still come back to the U.S. to enroll at NIU?

Yes, you can! We will ask you to apply for a new F-1 (student) visa. Although the two-year home residency requirement bars you from getting the H-1B visa or another long-term visa, you are still eligible to apply for the F-1 visa. When you enroll at NIU, the International Student and Faculty Office advisors will help you understand more about your continuing obligations under the two-year home residency requirement from your J-1 period in the U.S.

Before I begin the application, what questions will I need to answer?
  • Applicant information: name, address, contact info
  • Educational background: including GPA at current and previous universities/colleges.
  • NIU degree information: include NIU discipline to which you are applying or will continue in for 2019-20; if your graduate program requires, relevant graduate exam test scores (e.g., TOEFLE, GMAT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT); and estimated graduate date from the NIU program you will be entering for fall 2019.
  • Youth leadership program experience: tell us a little bit about that. What were the results of your action plan? How have you used the skills developed in the program to contribute service and leadership to your community? What has been the legacy of the YLP in your life? What career will you pursue after graduation? What are your career goals and ambitions?
  • Graduate School information: paste in the statement of purpose from NIU graduate school application and attach a Curriculum Vitae or CV).
  • Reference: you will need the name and email address of one letter of recommendation writer who can speak to your academic and leadership potential. Please contact your recommender and have them sent to Tiffany Adams (