Apply for Tunisia Thomas Jefferson Scholarship Program

Apply for Tunisia Thomas Jefferson Scholarship Program

Deadline: 8-Jul-24

The Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs has announced Tunisia Thomas Jefferson Scholarship Program to offer talented Tunisian students full scholarships for an academic year of non-degree study at accredited four-year colleges and universities in the United States.

Talented leaders, entrepreneurs and managers who can lead businesses, private and public organizations, run companies and create jobs will strengthen Tunisia’s economic development. Through the TJSP, they aim to support Tunisia’s economic growth, stability, and democratic development by equipping young Tunisian students with essential skills to become leaders in their professional fields and communities through entrepreneurial and educational opportunities and professional development. The successful implementation of the program depends on ensuring equitable access to quality education for students from underserved communities, establishing fair and transparent selection processes, and providing comprehensive support services for cultural adjustment and academic success. The U.S. Department of State seeks to identify a qualified implementer capable of advancing the objectives of the TJSP through innovative solutions and strategic program management.

  • The TJSP program contributes to the following overarching objectives from Tunisia’s Integrated Country Strategy:
    • Mission Goal 1: Tunisia strengthens democratic institutions and increases citizen confidence in government responsiveness.
      • Mission Objective: Tunisian citizens and civil society understand and exercise their rights and responsibilities in a democratic system.
    • Mission Goal: Tunisia stabilizes government finances and allows the private sector to generate inclusive growth.
      • Mission Objective: Accelerated private sector development and investment climate improvements catalyze incremental policy reforms and create investment and trade opportunities for the United States and Tunisia.
  • A successful project will result in:
    • Participants prepared for the professional marketplace and entry-level professional positions in Tunisia.
    • Participants building and sustaining networks with emerging young leaders from across Tunisia and in the United States.
    • Participants capable to serve in leadership positions in public or private sectors.
Program Components
  • Academic: All participants must be enrolled full-time in undergraduate coursework and will be required to take at least two courses in their fields of study and one American Studies course (such as American history, literature, or government) per semester. In addition to TJSP course requirements, 9 participants may enroll in elective courses and should work closely with the Recipient and host institution advisors to determine suitability.
  • Cultural: Participants will be encouraged to take part in enrichment activities such as discussion groups on U.S. issues, exposure to local and regional governance such as school board or city council meetings and election offices, and exposure to U.S. religious institutions. Participants’ visits to museums, concerts, plays, and other cultural events that feature American content should be encouraged and facilitated whenever possible. An enrichment allowance will be available to enable participants to engage in campus, community, and regional activities of a cultural nature, such as concerts, plays, museum exhibits, cultural festivals, etc. Participants may pursue enrichment activities on their own or as a group. The Recipient will be encouraged to assist participants in identifying potential enrichment activities
  • Practical Experience: To develop key professional skills, students will participate in at least 20 hours of community service at local nonprofit organizations during the first semester of the program. Students may not receive salaries, stipends, or wages for their community service. Participants must conduct at least one local presentation (at area schools or community organizations) about Tunisia during their exchange year. This will not count toward community service hours. Additionally, participants will do an unpaid practical internship during the second semester for a minimum of 80 hours. Internships will be part-time and must relate to the participants’ field of study and/or career plans. This is a key component of the program intended to prepare participants for eventual entry into the Tunisian workforce. Participants should seek out opportunities on their own, but the Recipient should guide students in their search and provide sample resumes and other resources, as necessary.
  • Pre-Departure Orientation: The cooperating organization will host a substantive pre-departure orientation program in Tunisia covering topics such as the terms and conditions of the scholarship, including a clear explanation of J visa requirements and the two-year home residency requirement; detailed information about health insurance, finance, safety, diversity, and sexual harassment issues; and, to the extent possible, information regarding host institutions and placements. The orientation will also provide a general introduction to U.S. undergraduate education and campus life, U.S. culture, and cultural adjustment. The Recipient should provide detailed program handbooks at the pre-departure orientation.
  • U.S. Orientation: Host universities and colleges should provide academic/program orientations for participants upon their arrival to reiterate the topics mentioned above as well as introduce participants to the host institution and community. The Recipient should provide materials for such orientations to ensure participants associate themselves with TJSP, as well as with their host institutions.
  • Pre-Academic English Language Study: The Recipient will provide placements in intensive two to six-week ESL classes in the United States (just prior to the start of the academic year) for students who need it to successfully complete the TJSP. Proposals must outline how suitable training programs will be identified and how students will be assessed for need and eligibility.
  • Mid-Year Workshop: The Recipient will host a substantive mid-year conference in the United States that should address issues including, but not limited to, cultural adjustment, academic and future job search skills, leadership, and other topics as appropriate. Students should have an opportunity to present their community service activities from the previous semester.
  • Re-entry Workshop: The Recipient must hold a re-entry workshop right after the participants’ return to Tunisia. The workshop dates should be scheduled in consultation with the Embassy. This workshop should address issues including, but not limited to, reverse culture shock, academic and job search skills, alumni opportunities, and other topics as appropriate.
  • Alumni Tracking and Follow-On Activities: Alumni activities are an important part of the State Department’s exchange programs that maximize and extend program benefits. Proposals must outline ways to creatively organize and support alumni engagement without additional Embassy funding and include a timeline of the proposed activities. Proposals should explain how alumni activities will be integrated with initiatives for alumni of other State Department programs, rather than being isolated events.
  • Virtual Exchange Component: The Embassy welcomes innovative ideas using mobile and/or online technologies to maintain engagement among exchange participants, encourage project collaboration, and widen participation in the overall project to a broader audience. The Embassy encourages applicant organizations to suggest one or more virtual exchange components to complement the in-person exchange. The virtual exchange component(s) could come before, during, and/or after the physical exchange.
Funding Information
  • Estimated Total Program Funding: $200,000
  • Estimated Award Ceiling: $200,000
  • Estimated Award Floor: $180,000
  • Estimated Length of Project Period: 18-24 Months
Cost Covered
  • The proposal should present participant maintenance allowances in accordance with suggestions below or an alternative benefit package that includes the costs of campus housing, meals, books, and incidental expenses. Suggested amounts for allowances are:
    • Travel Allowances: $250 (for baggage, transit to airport, incidentals, etc. $100 for the arrival journey to the U.S. and $150 for the return journey to Tunisia)
    • Monthly Maintenance Allowance: $500/month
    • One-time Settling-in Allowance: $200 (for items needed immediately upon arrival and not provided by host institution)
    • Book Allowance: $450/semester or $300/quarter
    • Enrichment Allowance: $500/year (dispersed via an application process or other mechanism)
Ineligible Activities
  • The following activities and costs are not allowed under this announcement:
    • Exchange activities with other countries or territories other than the U.S. and Tunisia;
    • Social welfare projects;
    • Paying to complete activities begun with other funds;
    • Activities that appear partisan or that support individual or party electoral campaigns;
    • Academic or analytical research (if not necessary as part of a larger project);
    • One-time events, such as stand-alone conferences and one-off round tables;
    • Medical and psychological research and clinical studies;
    • Projects of a commercial or profit-making nature;
    • Cultural presentations, cultural research, cultural clubs, or festivals, etc. for other than as required in the NOFO; and
    • Entertainment costs (e.g., receptions, social activities, ceremonies, alcoholic beverages, guided tours).
Eligibility Criteria
  • To be eligible, a candidate must:
    • Be a Tunisian citizen;
    • Currently reside in Tunisia;
    • Be enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student in good academic standing at the time of application at a registered academic institution in Tunisia;
    • Be from an underserved community
    • NOT be in the final year of his/her undergraduate program at the time of application. (Note: Undergraduate programs in Tunisia include three-year license programs, four-year American-style bachelor programs, and five-year engineering and architecture programs. End Note)
    • Be able to receive a U.S. J-1 visa;
    • Be committed to returning to Tunisia after completion of the program;
    • Be able to achieve a TOEFL score of at least 500, either at the time of application or after short-term pre-academic English language study in the United States; and
    • Complete the academic year prior to study in the United States in good standing with a passing average (aka moyenne générale).
  • Eligible applicants include:
    • U.S. public and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 USC 501(c)(3)
Ineligibility Criteria
  • Individuals in the following circumstances are NOT eligible for the TJSP:
    • Part-time students;
    • U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States;
    • Individuals who have applied for U.S. permanent residency in the past three years;
    • Employees of non-profit organizations that administer the TJSP on behalf of the U.S. Department of State and their families. This provision does not disqualify self-supporting members of families who live apart from their parents;
    • Locally employed staff of the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia and their immediate family members. This applies to the staff’s period of employment and one year following the termination of employment; nor
    • Persons arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a crime.

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