Frequently Asked Questions

What is the structure of this program?  Key components include: Twelve-month full-time employment, beginning in the fall each year, alongside mentorship and professional development opportunities throughout the year.

What are the selection criteria?  Criteria include: outstanding leadership and life experiences, as well as demonstrated excellence in academic, cross-cultural, and communication skills.

What is the minimum GPA?  An applicant’s cumulative master’s degree GPA should be 3.2 or above on a 4.0 scale.

Will I need a security clearance?  Participants must receive a Secret security clearance and pass a suitability review.  The hosting agency initiates and pays for the background investigation and clearance review.  However, applicants must cover  fingerprinting, document preparation, and mailing costs. While having a previous security clearance can assist and expedite the review process, a new or revalidated clearance that is specific to the VIP fellow’s agency and position is required.

What is the time frame of the fellowship?  Contingent upon successful completion of a security investigation and granting of a security clearance, the fellowships will last 12 months from the start date. Please keep in mind that the selection process is competitive since the number of fellowship positions available per year is limited and based upon available funding.

What is the timing of the program?  Applications for a new class are generally accepted in the spring, however due to the 2017 Federal Hiring Freeze, applications will be accepted in Summer this year starting on July 5, 2017 through an announcement on www.USAJobs.gov. Selections are expected to be made within two months for an expected start date of late fall or early winter this year, pending the granting of a secret level security clearance.

Will compensation be provided?  Fellows are paid as federal employees at the GS-9 level. Salary ranges from $54,972-$71,467 (dependent on previous experience) over the twelve months of VIP Fellowship employment. Relocation expenses are not covered.

Will benefits be provided?  Fellows are offered the opportunity to enroll in the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program (FEHB).  However, these fellowships do not provide life insurance or similar benefits.  Housing is also the responsibility of the fellow to obtain.

What are the options for conversion to a Federal job?  The VIP Fellowship is designed to provide experiential learning opportunities and skills that build on a completed Master’s degree.  Fellows may pursue careers in the private, as well as public sector, upon completion of the program. This program is not designed to lead to federal employment and does not convey preference in seeking such an appointment, nor does it convey the ability to convert non-competitively to a competitive service federal position.  For participants seeking a federal appointment, however, the VIP Fellowship experience may improve their ability to compete for such positions.

What is the application process for the 2017-2018 cohort? 

Please refer to application process page:  http://www.vipfellowship.org/application-process/.

Whom should I contact? 

For additional information, please contact VIPFellowship@state.gov or call 1-866-300-7419.