Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans

The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans [HJ(1] program honors the contributions of immigrants and children of immigrants to the United States. Each year, they invest in the graduate education of 30 New Americans—immigrants and children of immigrants—who are poised to make significant contributions to US society, culture or their academic field. Each Fellow receives up to $90,000 in financial support over two years, and they join a lifelong community of New American Fellows.

The purpose of the Fellowship is to provide opportunities for continuing generations of able and accomplished New Americans to achieve leadership in their chosen fields and to partake of the American dream. The program was established in recognition of the contributions New Americans have made to American life and in gratitude for the opportunities the United States afforded the founders of the Fellowship, Paul & Daisy Soros.

This award does not require university endorsement. However, the Soros Scholarship is exceptionally competitive. We strongly recommend that you work closely with NCA as you prepare your application.


National Deadline: October 31, 2024 @2PM ET

Each Fellowship supports one to two years of graduate study in any field and in any advanced degree-granting program in the United States. Each award is for up to a total of $90,000. Each Fellow receives $25,000 in stipend support a year, as well as 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.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must be under the age of 31 at time of application. Applicants must either be seniors who are also applying to graduate school, alums who are applying for graduate school, or currently enrolled graduate students who have not begun the 3rd year of the graduate program by the time they apply. Students pursuing an online graduate degree are eligible.

To be eligible, an applicant’s 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 as of the November 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 & Asylees: 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.

Please refer to the Soros website for a detailed list of the eligibility requirements.

Selection Criteria

The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans program uses three primary criteria for the selection of Fellows:

  • The candidate has demonstrated creativity, originality and initiative in one or more aspects of her/his life.
  • The candidate has demonstrated a commitment to and capacity for accomplishment that has required drive and sustained effort.
  • The candidate has demonstrated a commitment to the values expressed in the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. This would include, but not be limited to, support of human rights and the rule of law, opposition to unwarranted encroachment on personal liberty, and advancing the responsibilities of citizenship in a free society.

In addition, the program considers two further criteria:

  • The candidate gives promise of continued significant contributions. Those contributions are likely to reflect distinctive creativity, originality and initiative and will mark the candidate as a leading and influential figure within her/his fields of endeavor.
  • The candidate's graduate training is relevant to her/his long-term career goals and is of potential value in enhancing her/his future creativity and accomplishment.

The program seeks to create "a level playing field" for the consideration of applicants from different backgrounds, in different fields, at different stages in their educational development, and of different ages. Because New Americans and their families have had very different immigration experiences, we take those differences into account in assessing applicants' success in meeting the selection criteria.

Soros looks at applicants holistically and have never had a preferred GPA or test score range. They are interested in applicants who do the most with what they have, challenge themselves, and work hard to overcome obstacles.

Please refer to the Soros website for a detailed list of the selection criteria.

The application includes the following sections:

  • A confirmation of eligibility
  • Your personal and contact information
  • Your higher-education history
  • The graduate program[s] for which you seek support
  • Letters of Recommendation (3 required, up to 5 accepted)
  • Résumé
  • Essay 1: your experiences as a New American (1000 word limit)
  • Essay 2: current and near-term career-related activities and goals (1000 word limit)
  • Transcripts (college, graduate)
  • Standardized test scores (if they are or were required for admission to your graduate program)
  • Optional exhibits
  • In the Spring, attend an NCA Learning Series session on the Soros Fellowship
  • Complete two NCA forms:
  • Carefully review the Soros website and schedule an NCA advising appointment
  • Launch your online application (application opens in April)
  • Submit final application by National Deadline: October 26, 2023 @2PM ET
  • Information on this page is intended to supplement, not supplant, your own careful review of the official Soros website. If you find any discrepancy between the two, the Soros website takes precedence.
  • UC’s Student Code of Conduct applies to this application process.