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To expand the number of Americans studying and mastering foreign languages that are critical to national security and economic prosperity and meet the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to support increased diversity and inclusion in higher education and international exchanges , the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) announced today that approximately 500 American undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico have been selected for the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program for summer 2023.

Recipients are U.S. students enrolled in accredited U.S. degree-granting programs at the undergraduate (associate’s, bachelor’s) and graduate (master’s, doctoral, professional degree) level at the time of application.  For the 2023 cohort, approximately half of CLS recipients self-identify as racial or ethnic minorities, and a quarter are first-generation college or university students.  They represent 245 U.S. colleges and universities, of which 13 are community colleges and 47 are minority-serving institutions.  Eighty are recipients of the CLS Spark award, an initiative that provides virtual instruction to undergraduate students at the beginning level of Arabic, Chinese, and Russian and focuses on students who do not have access to studying these languages on their home campus.

Since the program’s inception in 2006, more than 8,500 CLS scholars have studied critical languages around the globe.  Seventy-nine percent of alumni who participated in a recent survey identify language skills as having made them more competitive candidates when searching for jobs, which include careers across the public and private sectors.  The CLS Program is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and is supported in its implementation by the American Councils for International Education.  To learn more about the CLS Program, visit

U.S. Department of State

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