The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans

The 2016 Fellowship Competition

The Fellowship

  • Every year, The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans supports thirty New Americans, immigrants or the children of immigrants, who are pursuing graduate school in the United States. Full eligibility requirements can be found here.
  • Each Fellowship supports up to two years of graduate study – in any field and in any advanced degree-granting program – in the United States. Please note that the Fellowship does not cover tuition for executive programs, accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s programs, or online degrees.
  • Each award is for up to $25,000 in stipend support (not to exceed $35,000), as well as 50 percent of required tuition and fees, up to $20,000 per year, for two years.
  • New Fellows join a strong community of current and past Fellows who all share the New American experience.
  • The application deadline is November 1, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST.
  • The competition is merit-based. Selection criteria emphasize creativity, originality, initiative, and sustained accomplishment. The program values a commitment to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The program does not have any quotas for types of degrees, universities or programs, countries of origin, or gender, etc.
  • The top 77 applicants will be designated “finalists” and will be asked to appear for interviews in New York City or California in late-January or early-February of 2016. The Fellowship program will cover travel and accommodation.
  • The 30 Fellowship winners, selected from among the 77 finalists, will be notified in March of 2016. They will begin to receive stipend and tuition support from the program in the fall of 2016. If a Fellow is in the second-to-last year of their graduate program in the spring of 2016, when the new class of Fellows is announced, the Fellowship may approve special requests, under certain circumstances, to retroactively activate the Fellowship in order to cover that term.
  • The first year of Fellowship funding cannot be deferred.
  • Unsuccessful applicants are welcome to reapply in subsequent years if they are still eligible.

Fellowship Background & History

Paul and Daisy Soros, Hungarian immigrants and American philanthropists, established their fellowship program for New Americans in December 1997 with a charitable trust of fifty million dollars. Their reasons for doing so were several. They wished to “give back” to the country that had afforded them and their children such great opportunities and felt a fellowship program was an appropriate vehicle. They also felt that assisting young New Americans at critical points in their educations was an unmet need. Finally, they wished to call attention of all Americans to the extensive and diverse contributions of New Americans to the quality of life in this country.

In 2010, Mr. and Mrs. Soros contributed an additional $25 million to the charitable trust that funds their Fellowships for New Americans.   For details, see the Wall Street Journal article at the end of this section.

The program of fellowships they shaped has the following characteristics:

  • It honors and supports the graduate educations of 30 New Americans – permanent residents or naturalized citizens if born abroad; otherwise children of naturalized citizen parents — each year.
  • At the time of their selection, fellows must be college seniors or early in the graduate programs for which they request support.
  • Each fellow receives tuition and living expenses that can total as much as $90,000 over two academic years.
  • Fellows can study in any degree-granting program in any field at any university in the United States.
  • Fellows are selected on the basis of merit – the specific criteria emphasize creativity, originality, initiative and sustained accomplishment — in annual national competitions.  Candidates apply directly.  The program does not depend on recommendations from universities or regional screening.   Neither financial need nor distributive considerations are taken into account in the selection process.
  • Each fellows attends two weekend conferences of fellows. The great majority continue to be involved with the program through regional dinners, service in the selection process for later classes, etc.

Born in Hungary in 1926, Paul Soros studied mechanical engineering in Budapest. When a Communist government came to power, he began looking for a chance to escape. In 1948, as a member of the Hungarian ski team at the Olympic games in Switzerland, he defected. Having made his way to the United States, he took a master’s degree in engineering from Polytechnic University in Brooklyn. In 1956, he founded Soros Associates, an international engineering firm whose projects included port development, offshore terminal, and bulk handling facilities in 90 countries. Mr. Soros holds several patents in material handling and offshore technology and is the author of more than a hundred technical articles. He served on the Review Panel of the President’s Office of Science and Technology and received the Gantt Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Outstanding Engineering Achievement Award of the National Society of Professional Engineers. He was active in Paul Soros Investments, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a board member of several corporations and nonprofit organizations.

Paul Soros passed away on Saturday June 15, 2013 at the age of 87.


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