Alpha Association of Phi Beta Kappa Alumni in Southern California funds and administers a scholarship program for foreign students engaged in graduate study in Southern California. The Association feels that less money is now available to aid foreign students than in other recent times and that many foreign students are in need of financial assistance. The Association also feels that special benefits accrue to Americans affiliated with colleges and universities from exposure to foreign students.
Awards to foreign students are granted to those who are conducting graduate studies in academic institutions in Southern California with Phi Beta Kappa Chapters. The Association expects that awards will be given to students who are counterparts of Phi Beta Kappa scholars in the American system, that is, foreign graduate students of academic excellence.
Applications are screened by the respective colleges and universities as to academic qualifications and need. The Association’s International Scholarships Committee, in coordination with the school representatives, currently administers the program and determines the awards.
In granting scholarship awards, the Association’s International Scholarships Committee considers both need and merit. The best students are awarded scholarships, that is, those with high academic performance and other qualities normally thought of as requirements for membership in Phi Beta Kappa. Financial need, however, is also weighed heavily.
It is not an absolute requirement of each award that the students must return to their home countries, but it is generally hoped that they will. The Association understands that some students will not be able to return to their home countries for economic or political reasons. Moreover, substantial benefits accrue from a foreign student scholarship because of American exposure to the foreign students, even though the foreign students never return to their home countries. In all events, the Association wishes to follow the activities of scholarship recipients following their award in order to determine their locations and activities.
Awards under the program are not limited to persons who come from underdeveloped or developing countries. As a general rule, at least one scholarship will be awarded to each institution in Southern California which has a Phi Beta Kappa Chapter and from which a Scholarship application is received.
Beyond that, the committee administering the awards has broad discretion to make decisions based upon the merit and need of the students involved. In making these decisions, the committee weighs the fact that there is not a significant graduate program in some of the involved institutions and that there are very large graduate programs at other institutions involving substantial numbers of foreign students.
In the usual case, only one award is given to any student, regardless of the number of years that he or she is attending a college or university in Southern California. In the normal case, recipients of awards are in the final year of their program, seeking degrees which are considered “terminal” in their field. Awards are made without discrimination on the basis of sex, color, age, or creed.
Application materials for the International Scholarships are obtained through the schools which participate in the program (Claremont Graduate School, UCI, UCLA, UCR, and USC), usually through the Graduate Division or the International Students Office.