NSEP Service Requirement


In exchange for funding support, NSEP award recipients agree to work in qualifying national security positions. This unique service requirement generates a pool of outstanding U.S. university students with competencies in critical languages and area studies who are highly committed to serve at the federal level in the national security community.


As of December 2015, 3,187 NSEP award recipients completed or were in the process of fulfilling their Service Requirements.  The federal entities where award recipients are working include the Department of Defense, the Intelligence Community, and the Departments of Commerce, Energy, Homeland Security, Justice, and State.

Pathway to Federal Service

Too often young and talented individuals, who possess highly sought-after skills, experience considerable setbacks when seeking a federal position. NSEP provides an innovative pathway to public service. NSEP award recipients:

  • Are actively seeking federal employment or careers in the national security arena;

  • Have studied a wide-range of academic disciplines;

  • Have documented capabilities in less commonly studied languages;

  • Have studied in and about less commonly studied world regions;

  • Are academically in the top 15 percent of their classes;

  • Are required to seek federal employment as a condition of their award;

  • Have resumes online for instant review by potential employers;

  • May be hired under Schedule A (Title 5 C.F.R. Part 213.3102 (r)) or NDAA FY 2013 (Section 956 of H.R. 4310-26); and

  • Are U.S. citizens

NSEP focuses on identifying scholarship and fellowship applicants motivated to work for the federal government. It then builds bridges to assist their entrance into the federal workforce. NSEP uses a hands-on approach to ensure that every award recipient is equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary to secure a federal job consistent with his/her skills and career objectives. NSEP regularly reviews the federal placement process and routinely implements recommendations for modifications and refinements to this process. NSEP works to support the job search initiatives of its Awardees.

NSEP ensures that award recipients are committed to working in the federal government. In the applications for both Boren Scholarships and Boren Fellowships, all applicants are asked to indicate their career goals and to discuss the federal agencies in which they are most interested in working. Clear indication of motivation to work in the federal government is a critical factor in the selection of award recipients by the review panels for both programs.


Because of the outstanding performance in their federal positions, NSEP award recipients have motivated many federal hiring officials to seek additional NSEP Scholars and Fellows to fill federal positions. The U.S. Departments of Defense, State, Homeland Security, and Commerce (e.g., International Trade Administration), the Library of Congress, and the National Aeronautic and Space Administration are just a few examples of agencies that have hired multiple NSEP Awardees.

How does NSEP define national security?

NSEP alumni have a perspective of how their interests relate to issues of national security. The NSEP definition of national security is both broad and diverse to include, among others, such varied issues as:

International and regional conflict Conflict resolution Peacekeeping
International trade Market penetration Export strategy
Export controls Economic competitiveness International environmental
Health and population issues Sustainable development Human rights and humanitarian assistance
Arms control Nuclear proliferation Weapons of mass destruction
Counter-proliferation Terrorism and counter-terrorism International drug trafficking