FINANCING & GOVERNANCE
THE FULBRIGHT PROGRAM IN BRIEF: HISTORY, STRUCTURE, AND FUNDING
The Fulbright Program was initially based on legislation proposed and sponsored by Senator Fulbright in 1946. This legislation authorized the secretary of state to use proceeds from the sale of surplus war property outside the United States after World War II to finance exchanges of students, teachers, and professors and to establish “Fulbright commissions” in selected countries all over the world responsible for managing these exchanges. After these funds were exhausted, the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961, which consolidated various pieces of previous legislation pertaining to the educational exchange programs funded by the US government, provided a new basis for the program to promote “mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange.” This act broadened the scope of the Fulbright Program, gave it new flexibility, provided for annual funding as a line item in the federal budget, and also gave partner governments and other public and private organizations in both countries an opportunity to contribute toward the costs of the program.
The Fulbright Program in Austria began in June 1950 when the Austrian and US governments signed the first of three Fulbright agreements. The first exchanges under the auspices of the US Educational Commission in Austria took place during the 1951–52 academic year. After the Fulbright-Hays Act in 1961, a new agreement between the Republic of Austria and the United States of America in 1963 established the Austrian-American Educational Commission, better known as Fulbright Austria.
The Fulbright Program currently facilitates the exchange of students and scholars between the United States and 155 countries. Since its inception in 1946, over 360,000 students, teachers, and scholars have participated in the Fulbright Program. Approximately 7,000 Fulbright grants are awarded globally on an annual basis. Between 70 and 80 of these awards are managed by Fulbright Austria.
For information on the global Fulbright Program, please consult: eca.state.gov/fulbright
For more in information on the History, Structure, and Funding of the Fulbright Program, please click here.
THE AUSTRIAN-AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL COMMISSION: FULBRIGHT AUSTRIA
The current statutory basis of the Austrian-American Educational Commission (Fulbright Austria) is the Fulbright-Hays Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 and an “Agreement between the Federal Government of Austria and the Government of the United States of America for the financing of certain educational and cultural exchange programs” from 1963 (Bundesgesetzblatt 1963/213). The Agreement established a binational organization capable of receiving and disbursing funds from both governments and other public and private organizations. Fulbright Austria is recognized as a non-profit organization in terms of Austrian tax law. Donations to Fulbright Austria are also tax deductible in the United States based on an agreement with the Institute for International Education in New York.
The Fulbright Austria board consists of ten members: five US citizens and five Austrian citizens nominated by their respective governments to serve on an annual basis. The five US members, including two foreign service officers from the US embassy in Vienna, are nominated by the US ambassador to Austria. Two of the five Austrian members appointed by the Austrian government have traditionally been representatives of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (responsible for higher education) and the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, respectively, and three have been Austrian university professors.
Binational funding and policy and decision making are signature traits of the Fulbright Program. The Fulbright Austria board meets on a regular basis to discuss budgetary, policy, procedural, and program issues and has a number of subcommittees that meet on an ad hoc basis. The board is actively involved in the selection and nomination of all Austrian and US Fulbright candidates and solicits the support of external experts, Austrian and US Fulbright alumni, and US Fulbright scholars on site for binational candidate review panels. The chairperson and the treasurer of the board are elected each year. These positions rotate annually between the Austrian and US members of the board.
The executive director of Fulbright Austria is responsible for the coordination and management of Fulbright Austria’s agendas, operations, and staff. He reports to and is monitored by the Fulbright Austria board.
The Austrian minister responsible for higher education and the US ambassador to Austria serve as honorary chairpersons of Fulbright Austria.
For more information on the Fulbright Austria board, please click here.
FUNDING THE FULBRIGHT PROGRAM IN AUSTRIA+
Fulbright Austria receives monies from the US government and Austrian federal ministries as well as a wide variety of partner institutions in Austria and the US to fund the programs it manages. Fulbright grantees and participants in the US Teaching Assistantship Program also receive substantial amounts of support in the form of direct payments or in-kind contributions from an equally wide variety of institutions and organizations in Austria and the US, which are brokered by Fulbright Austria as part of Fulbright awards or disbursed to US teaching assistants under the auspices of their assignments.
MONETARY AND DIRECT & IN-KIND CONTRIBUTIONS TO AUSTRIAN-AMERICAN FULBRIGHT PROGRAMS 2015/16
ADMINISTRATIVE & GRANT COSTS AND DIRECT & IN-KIND CONTRIBUTIONS TO ALL PROGRAMS