Rangel and Pickering Fellows Update

Reversing itself, this past Thursday the U.S. State Department announced that it would indeed comply with its obligations under the provisions of the Rangel and Pickering Fellowship programs.  Both are prestigious government fellowship programs aimed at recruiting under-represented groups into the U.S. Foreign Service.  The fellowships provide funding for undergraduate and graduate education for individuals who agree to devote a certain amount of time in government service.  In early June, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson indicated that current Rangel and Pickering Fellows would not be offered positions in the Foreign Service; instead, they would be given the option of accepting lower-level clerk positions in consulates–or paying back approximately $85,000 (each) in scholarship funding.  This was apparently connected to the Trump administration’s pending proposal to cut the U.S. State Department’s budget by 31 percent.  While the outcome was ultimately favorable for the Rangel and Pickering Fellows, other scholarship programs–such as the Fulbright Scholarships–are hardly out of the woods yet.

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