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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is one of the nation’s top-producing campuses for students receiving 2018­­–19 Fulbright awards. With a record-setting 19 students receiving US Fulbright Student Awards last year, UT ranks fourth among public research universities and 12th among all research universities, tying with Harvard University.

Each year the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces the top-producing institutions for the Fulbright Program, the US government’s flagship international educational exchange program. The Chronicle of Higher Education published the list today.

“I am so proud of our students who earned Fulbrights, as well as the faculty and staff who supported them in this achievement,” said Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor David Manderscheid. “Applying for these awards is a rigorous process even for the most accomplished students, so we celebrate their achievement—and feel rewarded in knowing the university has helped equip them with the tools and opportunities they need to become tomorrow’s leaders.”

Andrew Seidler, director of UT’s Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships, which works with students as they apply for prestigious awards such as the Fulbright, said he’s seen tremendous momentum in this area over the past several years.

“Being named a Fulbright top producer is a special honor for UT,” he said. “Our students’ ideas, talents, energy, and curiosity about the world make them strong candidates for these awards—and we’re seeing them seize the opportunity to compete.”

UT is the top-producing Southeastern Conference school on this year’s list. Other SEC schools on the list were the University of Georgia with 16, the University of Alabama with 15, and Vanderbilt with 12.

Looking at preliminary numbers, UT may be headed toward another strong Fulbright year.

Last year, UT had 52 Fulbright candidates and 27 semifinalists, and ended up with 19 students being awarded Fulbrights—all single-year records for the university. In fall 2018 UT put forward 67 candidates for the 2019–2020 Fulbright awards, and 41 of them were recently short-listed as semifinalists. Final award notifications are made throughout the spring.

UT has had a total of 96 student Fulbright recipients.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 390,000 participants—chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential—with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. More than 1,900 US students, artists, and young professionals in more than 100 different fields of study are offered Fulbright Program grants to study, teach English, and conduct research abroad each year. The Fulbright US Student Program operates in more than 140 countries throughout the world.

The Fulbright US Student Program is a program of the US Department of State, funded by an annual appropriation from Congress to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and supported in its implementation by the Institute of International Education.

“We thank the colleges and universities across the United States that we are recognizing as Fulbright top producing institutions for their role in increasing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries,” said Marie Royce, assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs, in a Fulbright press release.

UT students and recent graduates interested in the Fulbright or other nationally competitive awards can visit the ONSF Fulbright page and meet with ONSF staff to learn more about the UT campus application process.

The Fulbright Program also awards grants to US scholars, teachers, and faculty to conduct research and teach overseas. In addition, some 4,000 foreign Fulbright students and scholars come to the United States annually to study, lecture, conduct research, and teach foreign languages.

Read about UT’s current faculty Fulbright scholars.


Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,