Press Release

Banaa Scholarship: A Scholarship Program to the USA

Apply To Be A Banaa Scholar

Source: NONL
Source: NONL

Applications for the 2014-2015 cycle are now OPEN! The link to the updated application can be found below. The deadline for this year’s application is NOVEMBER 5, 2014 AT 12:00 AM EST. 

To apply, you must complete the first four pages of the “Common Application” (found at http://www.commonapp.org) as well as  the Banaa Supplemental Application. We are currently accepting applications from now up to November 5, 2014.

Eligibility          Admissions Process          Waivers          Submitting Applications

Banaa works hard to generate an ethnically, politically, and economically diverse pool of young women and men who are exceptionally qualified for studies at US colleges and universities.



Potential applicants for the scholarship must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Come from a conflict-affected region of Sudan or South Sudan and be under the age of 26
  • Possess a genuine interest in building a peaceful Sudan and South Sudan
  • Demonstrate a history of participation in peace-promoting activities
  • Have documentation of secondary school graduation or proof of an equivalency degree
  • Display competency in English and the ability to score well on a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (actual test score not required)
  • Write English-language responses to a series of essay questions
  • Provide letters of recommendation, including contact details, from individuals who can comment on applicant’s suitability for the program (former teachers and/or employers are preferred)
  • Be able to come to the U.S. by August 1, 2015 for program orientation

Does Banaa accept candidates who live in or grew up in the United States or Europe?

While we greatly appreciate the commitment of Sudanese Diaspora to improving life in the Sudans, our limited resources enable us only to support students coming directly from the Sudans (or refugee situations in neighboring countries) at this time. This policy is in place to ensure Banaa Scholars (1) have recent and intimate experience with policy challenges facing the Sudans and (2) return promptly to Sudan to begin work.

What if I am over 26 years old, and/or have a University degree? Can I still apply?

While applications are considered on a case-by-case basis, applicants should ideally be under 26 years old and possess no prior university degrees. Exceptions will be considered on a case by case basis, but these guidelines are to ensure that Banaa Scholars are in early stages of shaping their careers and close to the average undergraduate age at the universities they attend.

The Banaa Team and the University Admissions Process

All applications for the Banaa scholarship program are first submitted to the Banaa Team, which is comprised of a number of individuals from the Banaa Board of Advisors. Applicants are then evaluated holistically using the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated Commitment to Peace in Sudan and/or South Sudan
  • Academic Achievement
  • Relevant Employment
  • English Language Proficiency
  • Essay Quality
  • Interview
  • Leadership Experience

It is important to note that the Banaa Selection Committee does not employ a formula based admissions process. Applications are not assigned point values, but instead read cover to cover and given a comprehensive review. Moreover, neither race nor ethnicity is used to determine admission. During the comprehensive review, however, it is noted when applicants from economic or socially disadvantaged positions have exhibited character and determination in overcoming both personal and structural obstacles.

Applications are reviewed by the Banaa Team to ensure they are complete. Applicants with potential are submitted to the Banaa Board of Advisors for review. Banaa submits the most promising applicants with a cover letter highlighting the Board of Advisors’ comments to the George Washington University and University of Rochester’s undergraduate admissions offices. Both offices complete an independent review and rank admissible candidates. A Skype interview will be conducted with the top applicants. An admissions decision will be made and the applicant(s) who is admitted will be notified by late February.  Candidates must accept their scholarship by April 1 If they fail to accept their scholarship by this date an alternative candidate will be notified and accepted into the program. It is expected the accepted scholar is diligent about making travel arrangements (the cost of the flight to the US is included in the scholarship) and be available to come to the United States as early as August 1, 2015 for orientation.


Given the extenuating circumstances under which many applicants live or grew up, SAT and TOFEL scores are often unavailable. Students who do present these scores may be more competitive in the admissions process, but ability to provide such documentation is not required. Banaa encourages candidates to provide a cover letter explaining why you are unable to access TOEFL or SAT scores.


To apply, you must complete the “Common Application”along with the Banaa Supplemental Application. Instructions for required application materials are on the first page of the Banaa Supplemental application. Complete applications and application materials  can be emailed to applications@banaa.org,  or printed out and mailed to:

 Banaa.org c/o Kevin Hostetler

The George Washington University

2121 I Street, NW Suite 201

Washington, DC 20052

Applications are currently OPEN. Please direct any specific questions to applications@banaa.org.

Click HERE to go the site: banaa.org

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