United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Jul 03, 2022

§ 1902.
Scholarship, fellowship, and grant program
(a)
Program required
(1)
In general
The Secretary of Defense shall carry out a program for—
(A)
awarding scholarships to undergraduate students who—
(i)
are United States citizens in order to enable such students to study, for at least one academic semester or equivalent term, in foreign countries that are critical countries (as determined under section 1903(d)(4)(A) of this title) in those languages and study areas where deficiencies exist (as identified in the assessments undertaken pursuant to section 1906(d) of this title); and
(ii)
pursuant to subsection (b)(2)(A), enter into an agreement to work in a national security position or work in the field of higher education in the area of study for which the scholarship was awarded;
(B)
awarding fellowships to graduate students who—
(i)
are United States citizens to enable such students to pursue education as part of a graduate degree program of a United States institution of higher education in the disciplines of foreign languages, area studies, counterproliferation studies, and other international fields relating to the national security interests of the United States that are critical areas of those disciplines (as determined under section 1903(d)(4)(B) of this title) and in which deficiencies exist (as identified in the assessments undertaken pursuant to section 1906(d) of this title); and
(ii)
pursuant to subsection (b)(2)(B), enter into an agreement to work in a national security position or work in the field of education in the area of study for which the fellowship was awarded;
(C)
awarding grants to institutions of higher education to enable such institutions to establish, operate, or improve programs in foreign languages, area studies, counterproliferation studies, and other international fields that are critical areas of those disciplines (as determined under section 1903(d)(4)(C) of this title);
(D)
awarding grants to institutions of higher education to carry out activities under the National Flagship Language Initiative (described in subsection (i)); and
(E)
awarding scholarships to students who—
(i)
are United States citizens who—
(I)
are native speakers (referred to as “heritage community citizens”) of a foreign language that is identified as critical to the national security interests of the United States who should be actively recruited for employment by Federal security agencies with a need for linguists; and
(II)
are not proficient at a professional level in the English language with respect to reading, writing, and other skills required to carry out the national security interests of the United States, as determined by the Secretary,
 to enable such students to pursue English language studies at an institution of higher education of the United States to attain proficiency in those skills; and
(ii)
enter into an agreement to work in a position in a similar manner (as determined by the Secretary) as agreements entered into pursuant to subsection (b)(2)(A).
(2)
Funding allocations
Of the amount available for obligation out of the National Security Education Trust Fund or from a transfer under section 1910(c) of this title for any fiscal year for the purposes stated in paragraph (1), the Secretary shall have a goal of allocating—
(A)
⅓ of such amount for the awarding of scholarships pursuant to paragraph (1)(A);
(B)
⅓ of such amount for the awarding of fellowships pursuant to paragraph (1)(B); and
(C)
⅓ of such amount for the awarding of grants pursuant to paragraph (1)(C).
The funding allocation under this paragraph shall not apply to grants under paragraph (1)(D) for the National Flagship Language Initiative described in subsection (i) or for the scholarship program under paragraph (1)(E). For the authorization of appropriations for the National Flagship Language Initiative, see section 1911 of this title. For the authorization of appropriations for the scholarship program under paragraph (1)(E), see section 1912 of this title.
(3)
Consultation with National Security Education Board

The program required under this chapter shall be carried out in consultation with the National Security Education Board established under section 1903 of this title.

(4)
Contract authority

The Secretary may enter into one or more contracts, with private national organizations having an expertise in foreign languages, area studies, counterproliferation studies, and other international fields, for the awarding of the scholarships, fellowships, and grants described in paragraph (1) in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. The Secretary may enter into such contracts without regard to section 6101 of title 41 or any other provision of law that requires the use of competitive procedures. In addition, the Secretary may enter into personal service contracts for periods up to one year for program administration, except that not more than 10 such contracts may be in effect at any one time.

(b)
Service agreement
In awarding a scholarship or fellowship under the program, the Secretary or contract organization referred to in subsection (a)(4), as the case may be, shall require a recipient of any fellowship or any scholarship to enter into an agreement that, in return for such assistance, the recipient—
(1)
will maintain satisfactory academic progress, as determined in accordance with regulations issued by the Secretary, and agrees that failure to maintain such progress shall constitute grounds upon which the Secretary or contract organization referred to in subsection (a)(4) may terminate such assistance;
(2)
(A)
(i)
for not less than one year in a position certified by the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Director of National Intelligence, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Secretary of State (as appropriate), as contributing to the national security of the United States in the Department of Defense, any element of the intelligence community, the Department of Homeland Security, or the Department of State;
(ii)
for not less than one year in a position in a Federal agency or office that is identified by the Secretary of Defense under subsection (g) as having national security responsibilities if the recipient demonstrates to the Secretary that no position is available in the departments and agencies covered by clause (i); or
(iii)
for not less than one academic year in a position in the field of education in a discipline related to the study supported by the program if the recipient demonstrates to the Secretary of Defense that no position is available in the departments, agencies, and offices covered by clauses (i) and (ii); or
(B)
will (in accordance with such regulations) begin work not later than two years after the recipient’s completion or termination of study for which fellowship assistance was provided under the program—
(i)
for not less than one year in a position certified by the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Director of National Intelligence, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Secretary of State (as appropriate), as contributing to the national security of the United States in the Department of Defense, any element of the intelligence community, the Department of Homeland Security, or the Department of State;
(ii)
for not less than one year in a position in a Federal agency or office that is identified by the Secretary of Defense under subsection (g) as having national security responsibilities if the recipient demonstrates to the Secretary that no position is available in the departments and agencies covered by clause (i); or
(iii)
for not less than one academic year in a position in the field of education in a discipline related to the study supported by the program if the recipient demonstrates to the Secretary of Defense that no position is available in the departments, agencies, and offices covered by clauses (i) and (ii); and
(3)
if the recipient fails to meet either of the obligations set forth in paragraph (1) or (2), will reimburse the United States Government for the amount of the assistance provided the recipient under the program, together with interest at a rate determined in accordance with regulations issued by the Secretary.
(c)
Evaluation of progress in language skills

The Secretary shall, through the National Security Education Program office, administer a test of the foreign language skills of each recipient of a scholarship or fellowship under this chapter before the commencement of the study or education for which the scholarship or fellowship is awarded and after the completion of such study or education. The purpose of these tests is to evaluate the progress made by recipients of scholarships and fellowships in developing foreign language skills as a result of assistance under this chapter.

(d)
Distribution of assistance

In selecting the recipients for awards of scholarships, fellowships, or grants pursuant to this chapter, the Secretary or a contract organization referred to in subsection (a)(4), as the case may be, shall take into consideration (1) the extent to which the selections will result in there being an equitable geographic distribution of such scholarships, fellowships, or grants (as the case may be) among the various regions of the United States, and (2) the extent to which the distribution of scholarships and fellowships to individuals reflects the cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity of the population of the United States.

(e)
Merit review

The Secretary shall award scholarships, fellowships, and grants under the program based upon a merit review process.

(f)
Limitation on use of program participants

No person who receives a grant, scholarship, or fellowship or any other type of assistance under this chapter shall, as a condition of receiving such assistance or under any other circumstances, be used by any department, agency, or entity of the United States Government engaged in intelligence activities to undertake any activity on its behalf during the period such person is pursuing a program of education for which funds are provided under the program carried out under this chapter.

(g)
Determination of agencies and offices of Federal Government having national security responsibilities
(1)
The Secretary, in consultation with the Board, shall annually determine and develop a list identifying each agency or office of the Federal Government having national security responsibilities at which a recipient of a fellowship or scholarship under this chapter will be able to make the recipient’s foreign area and language skills available to such agency or office. The Secretary shall submit the first such list to the Congress and include each subsequent list in the annual report to the Congress, as required by section 1906(b)(6) of this title.
(2)
Notwithstanding section 1904 of this title, funds may not be made available from the Fund to carry out this chapter for fiscal year 1997 until 30 days after the date on which the Secretary of Defense submits to the Congress the first such list required by paragraph (1).
(h)
Temporary employment and retention of certain participants
(1)
In general
The Secretary of Defense may—
(A)
appoint or retain a person provided scholarship or fellowship assistance under the program in a position in the Department of Defense on an interim basis during the period of the person’s pursuit of a degree under the program and for a period not to exceed two years after completion of the degree, but only if, in the case of the period after completion of the degree, there is an active investigation to provide security clearance to the person for an appropriate permanent position in the Department of Defense under subsection (b)(2); and
(B)
if there is no appropriate permanent position available for the person after the end of the periods described in subparagraph (A), separate the person from employment with the Department without regard to any other provision of law, in which event the service agreement of the person under subsection (b) shall terminate.
(2)
Treatment of certain service

The period of service of a person covered by paragraph (1) in a position on an interim basis under that paragraph shall, after completion of the degree, be treated as a period of service for purposes of satisfying the obligated service requirements of the person under the service agreement of the person under subsection (b).

(i)
Use of awards to attend the Foreign Language Center of the Defense Language Institute
(1)
The Secretary shall provide for the admission of award recipients to the Foreign Language Center of the Defense Language Institute (hereinafter in this subsection referred to as the “Center”). An award recipient may apply a portion of the applicable scholarship or fellowship award for instruction at the Center on a space-available basis as a Department of Defense sponsored program to defray the additive instructional costs.
(2)
Except as the Secretary determines necessary, an award recipient who receives instruction at the Center shall be subject to the same regulations with respect to attendance, discipline, discharge, and dismissal as apply to other persons attending the Center.
(3)
In this subsection, the term “award recipient” means an undergraduate student who has been awarded a scholarship under subsection (a)(1)(A) or a graduate student who has been awarded a fellowship under subsection (a)(1)(B) who—
(A)
is in good standing;
(B)
has completed all academic study in a foreign country, as provided for under the scholarship or fellowship; and
(C)
would benefit from instruction provided at the Center.
(j)
National Flagship Language Initiative
(1)
Under the National Flagship Language Initiative, institutions of higher education shall establish, operate, or improve activities designed to train students in programs in a range of disciplines to achieve advanced levels of proficiency in those foreign languages that the Secretary identifies as being the most critical in the interests of the national security of the United States.
(2)
An undergraduate student who has been awarded a scholarship under subsection (a)(1)(A) or a graduate student who has been awarded a fellowship under subsection (a)(1)(B) may participate in the activities carried out under the National Flagship Language Initiative.
(3)
An institution of higher education that receives a grant pursuant to subsection (a)(1)(D) shall give special consideration to applicants who are employees of the Federal Government.
(4)
For purposes of this subsection, the Foreign Language Center of the Defense Language Institute and any other educational institution that provides training in foreign languages operated by the Department of Defense or an agency in the intelligence community is deemed to be an institution of higher education, and may carry out the types of activities permitted under the National Flagship Language Initiative.
(5)
An undergraduate or graduate student who participates in training in a program under paragraph (1) and has not already entered into a service agreement under subsection (b) shall enter into a service agreement under subsection (b) applicable to an undergraduate or graduate student, as the case may be, with respect to participation in such training in a program under paragraph (1).
(6)
(A)
An employee of a department or agency of the Federal Government who participates in training in a program under paragraph (1) shall agree in writing—
(i)
to continue in the service of the department or agency of the Federal Government employing the employee for the period of such training;
(ii)
to continue in the service of such department or agency, following completion by the employee of such training, for a period of two years for each year, or part of the year, of such training;
(iii)
if, before the completion by the employee of such training, the employment of the employee is terminated by such department or agency due to misconduct by the employee, or by the employee voluntarily, to reimburse the United States for the total cost of such training (excluding the employee’s pay and allowances) provided to the employee; and
(iv)
if, after the completion by the employee of such training but before the completion by the employee of the period of service required by clause (ii), the employment of the employee by such department or agency is terminated either by such department or agency due to misconduct by the employee, or by the employee voluntarily, to reimburse the United States in an amount that bears the same ratio to the total cost of such training (excluding the employee’s pay and allowances) provided to the employee as the unserved portion of such period of service bears to the total period of service required by clause (ii).
(C)
1
1
 So in original. No subpar. (B) has been enacted.
Subject to subparagraph (D), the obligation to reimburse the United States under an agreement under subparagraph (A) is for all purposes a debt owing the United States.
(D)
The head of the element of the intelligence community concerned may release an employee, in whole or in part, from the obligation to reimburse the United States under an agreement under subparagraph (A) when, in the discretion of the head of the element, the head of the element determines that equity or the interests of the United States so require.
(k)
Employment of program participants
(1)
Appointment authority
The Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of State, or the head of a Federal agency or office identified by the Secretary of Defense under subsection (g) as having national security responsibilities—
(A)
may, without regard to any provision of title 5, governing appointments in the competitive service, appoint an eligible program participant—
(i)
to a position in the excepted service that is certified by the Secretary of Defense under clause (i) of subsection (b)(2)(A) as contributing to the national security of the United States; or
(ii)
subject to clause (ii) of such subsection, to a position in the excepted service in such Federal agency or office identified by the Secretary; and
(B)
may, upon satisfactory completion of two years of substantially continuous service by an incumbent who was appointed to an excepted service position under the authority of subparagraph (A), convert the appointment of such individual, without competition, to a career or career-conditional appointment.
(2)
Treatment of certain service
In the case of an eligible program participant described in clause (ii) or (iii) of paragraph (4)(C) who receives an appointment under paragraph (1)(A), the head of a Department or Federal agency or office referred to in paragraph (1) may count any period that the individual served in a position with the Federal Government toward satisfaction of the service requirement under paragraph (1)(B) if that service—
(A)
in the case of an appointment under clause (i) of paragraph (1)(A), was in a position that is identified under clause (i) of subsection (b)(2)(A) as contributing to the national security of the United States; or
(B)
in the case of an appointment under clause (ii) of paragraph (1)(A), was in the Federal agency or office in which the appointment under that clause is made.
(3)
Career tenure

In the case of an individual whose appointment to a position in the excepted service is converted to a career or career-conditional appointment under paragraph (1)(B), the period of service described in such paragraph shall be treated, for purposes of the service requirements for career tenure under title 5, as if it were service in a position under a career or career-conditional appointment.

(4)
Eligible program participant defined
In this subsection, the term “eligible program participant” means an individual who—
(A)
has successfully completed an academic program for which a scholarship or fellowship under this section was awarded;
(B)
has not previously been appointed to the excepted service position under paragraph (1)(A); and
(C)
at the time of the appointment of the individual to an excepted service position under paragraph (1)(A)—
(i)
under the terms of the agreement for such scholarship or fellowship, owes a service commitment to a Department or Federal agency or office referred to in paragraph (1);
(ii)
is employed by the Federal Government under a non-permanent appointment to a position in the excepted service that has national security responsibilities; or
(iii)
is a former civilian employee of the Federal Government who has less than a one-year break in service from the last period of Federal employment of such individual in a non-permanent appointment in the excepted service with national security responsibilities.
(Pub. L. 102–183, title VIII, § 802, Dec. 4, 1991, 105 Stat. 1271; Pub. L. 102–496, title IV, § 404(b), (c), Oct. 24, 1992, 106 Stat. 3185; Pub. L. 103–178, title III, § 311(b)(2), (d), Dec. 3, 1993, 107 Stat. 2037; Pub. L. 104–201, div. A, title X, § 1078(b)–(d), (f)(2), Sept. 23, 1996, 110 Stat. 2664–2666; Pub. L. 105–272, title III, § 305(a)(2), Oct. 20, 1998, 112 Stat. 2400; Pub. L. 107–296, title XIII, § 1332(b), Nov. 25, 2002, 116 Stat. 2300; Pub. L. 107–306, title III, §§ 332, 333(a)(1)–(3), Nov. 27, 2002, 116 Stat. 2395, 2396; Pub. L. 108–136, div. A, title IX, § 925(a), Nov. 24, 2003, 117 Stat. 1578; Pub. L. 108–487, title VI, §§ 601(b), 602(a)(1), 603(a)(1), (2), Dec. 23, 2004, 118 Stat. 3952–3954; Pub. L. 109–364, div. A, title IX, § 945(a), (b), Oct. 17, 2006, 120 Stat. 2367; Pub. L. 110–181, div. A, title IX, § 953, Jan. 28, 2008, 122 Stat. 292; Pub. L. 111–84, div. A, title XI, § 1101, Oct. 28, 2009, 123 Stat. 2484; Pub. L. 112–239, div. A, title IX, § 956, Jan. 2, 2013, 126 Stat. 1899; Pub. L. 115–91, div. A, title XVI, § 1625, Dec. 12, 2017, 131 Stat. 1733.)
cite as: 50 USC 1902