Scholarships available for students to study foreign languages

May 08, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Tuition scholarships are available for high school and college students, including Penn State students from campuses across the commonwealth, to learn Arabic, through a $105,000 federal grant received by the Penn State Department of Comparative Literature, in the School of Languages and Literatures. Students can earn Penn State credits in a special four-week intensive Arabic course, called the STARTALK Arabic Academy, to be offered June 11 - July 6 on the University Park campus. In addition, scholarships from other sources also are available for high school students who wish to study Turkish, Chinese, or Russian through this summer's Language Institute. These scholarships cover up to 90 percent of in-state tuition. Further information can be found at

The grant, called STARTALK (short for "Start Talking"), comes from federal funds that are administered by the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland. STARTALK's mission includes expanding access to critical foreign languages by offering students creative and engaging summer experiences. Although more than 100 summer programs have been funded nationwide, Penn State's is the only STARTALK Arabic program in Pennsylvania.

"Knowledge of a critical language such as Arabic can be a great asset on college, graduate school, and job applications, and invaluable in exploring career interests and broadening your horizons," said Caroline D. Eckhardt, head of the Penn State Department of Comparative Literature.

During the four-week intensive program, which meets Mondays through Fridays, students can complete the equivalent of a full semester's study of Arabic and receive four credits for Penn State's Arabic 001 course. Morning classes are enhanced by activities including an afternoon immersion session. Email or video partnerships are planned with students in Tunisia who speak Arabic and are learning English.

The STARTALK grant can benefit faculty and staff families with eligible high school or college students because it provides scholarships that cover 80 to 90 percent of tuition for the Arabic Academy. The program plans to award between 15 and 20 such scholarships. Eligible students include high school students or students enrolled at a college or university that does not offer courses in Arabic languages, including Penn State campuses other than University Park. This is a daytime program, not a residential program, and thus housing is not available for high school students, but high school graduates who will be 18 years or older as of June 11 can contact the housing office directly. Application forms and further information are available at

For information on scholarships for high school students who wish to study Turkish, Chinese, or Russian through this summer's Language Institute, visit

Last Updated May 15, 2012