Service Agreement FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions about the service agreement

8. What does it mean to work in a position with national security responsibilities?

It is entirely the award recipient’s responsibility to establish how a given Federal position has national security implications. Past award recipients have worked in fields such as development, energy policy, public health, and finance by sufficiently demonstrating the nexus between national security and their positions.

16. Would service in a non-priority agency, such as the U.S. Peace Corps fulfill the service requirement?

Yes.  Many award recipients have fulfilled their requirement in organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Commerce, the U.S. Peace Corps, and various other agencies throughout the Federal Government. Each award recipient’s request for service is reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and it is entirely the award recipient’s responsibility to establish how a given Federal position has national security implications.

11. Can Boren Scholars and Fellows defer the service requirement in order to pursue further education?

Award recipients pursuing qualified further education are eligible for a deferral of their service deadline. Qualified further education includes enrollment in any degree-granting, accredited institution of higher education worldwide.  Each request for deferral is considered on a case-by-case basis, and the award recipient must demonstrate a commitment to sustain or advance their expertise in the language and/or geographical area for which the Boren Scholarship or Fellowship was awarded.

3. What are the four “priority agencies” where I must seek Federal employment?

The NSEP Service Requirement stipulates that an award recipient work in the Federal Government in a position with national security responsibilities. The Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, or any element of the Intelligence Community are priority agencies.  Any position in the four priority areas will count towards fulfilling the service requirement.

10. Are opportunities to gain federal employment improved by having a Boren award?

Boren award recipients enjoy several advantages as they seek Federal employment. First, NSEPnet connects award recipients directly to Federal employers. Hiring officials perform searches of Boren award recipients' resumes for specific types of expertise. Second, NSEP employs staff that is available to assist Scholars and Fellows in their job search efforts by conducting active outreach, holding job consultations and providing letters of certification for award recipients.

7. What happens if a Boren Scholar or Fellow is unable to identify and obtain a position in one of the four “priority agencies?”

All Boren Scholars or Fellows’ Job Search History Log must demonstrate to NSEP that they have made a full and good-faith effort to identify and apply for Federal positions that satisfy the service requirement, especially within the four “priority agencies.” By maintaining detailed log entries, award recipients demonstrate specific efforts that were made to identify suitable job opportunities and, in particular, the types of positions that were available to them at the time they were seeking to fulfill the service requirement.

6. How do Boren Scholars and Fellows document their searches for appropriate positions in the federal government?

In addition to serving as a repository of resumes prepared by Boren award recipients, NSEPnet is also a tool that Boren Scholars and Fellows must use to document their job search efforts.  Through NSEPnet, award recipients are required to maintain a Job Search History Log of their activities to identify and pursue opportunities in the Federal Government that would satisfy the NSEP Service Requirement.

5. How do Boren Scholars and Fellows identify opportunities that would satisfy the service requirement?

The NSEP Service Team works actively with Boren Scholars and Fellows before and after graduation to help identify Federal job opportunities. To assist and facilitate the Federal job search process, NSEP has developed an interactive website,, to help Scholars and Fellows simplify and organize their job search efforts. The NSEPnet site maintains an online collection of Federal job search tips, exclusive job opportunities and job announcements, and a resume database for award recipients to post their credentials.


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