Students walking on campus after three weeks of remote learning.
UCI joins other OC education partners in receiving one of the first six awards for the state's Regional K-16 Education Collaboratives Grant Program. Steve Zylius / UCI

Irvine, Calif., Feb. 28, 2022 — The University of California, Irvine has been named one of the U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most 2021-22 Fulbright scholars. Each year, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces the top producing institutions for the Fulbright Program, the federal government’s flagship international educational exchange program. The Chronicle of Higher Education publishes the list annually.

Eleven UCI students received Fulbright awards for the 2021-22 academic year and are currently abroad. This places UCI in the top 1 percent of all universities in the country and second among the UC campuses. It last earned this distinction in 2018.

“Our Fulbright scholars are outstanding representatives of UCI and our commitment to international collaboration,” said Hal Stern, UCI provost and executive vice chancellor. “Their research, training and service bring people together to address challenges in a variety of disciplines.”

Last fall, UCI was named an inaugural Fulbright HSI Leader by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The newly created designation recognizes the noteworthy engagement that selected Hispanic-serving institutions have achieved with the Fulbright Program. UCI was one of 35 HSIs to receive this distinction.

The Fulbright competition is administered at UCI for high-achieving undergraduates through the Scholarship Opportunities Program, located in the new Student Excellence Center on the fifth floor of the Science Library. Launched in 1990, SOP encourages and advises undergraduates and recent alumni in applying for 21 internationally prestigious, merit-based awards, in addition to managing the university-level application review and, when required, campus endorsement process. Since 1990, over 130 UCI students have received Fulbright fellowships. Graduate students may apply through the Graduate & Postdoctoral Scholar Resource Center.

“I am very proud of our Fulbright scholars and the commitment UCI has made to encourage international collaborations,” said Victoria Jones, UCI’s chief global affairs officer. “UCI supports its students and scholars who are working with partners around the world in research, teaching and community service.”

The Fulbright Program was established more than 75 years ago to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Fulbright is the world’s largest and most diverse international educational exchange program. Its primary source of funding is an annual appropriation made by Congress to the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

“We congratulate the colleges and universities we are honoring as 2021-2022 Fulbright top producing institutions and are especially delighted to celebrate the institutions that achieved this distinction for the first time this year,” said Ethan Rosenzweig, deputy assistant secretary for academic programs in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. “These institutions reflect the geographic and institutional diversity of higher education in the United States and include minority-serving institutions.”

Since the Fulbright Program’s inception in 1946, over 400,000 people from all backgrounds – recent university graduates, teachers, scientists and researchers, artists and more – have participated in exchanges and returned to their home countries with an expanded worldview, a deep appreciation for their host country and its people, and a new network of colleagues and friends.

Fulbright alumni have included 40 heads of state or government, 61 Nobel laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners, 76 MacArthur Fellows, and countless leaders and change-makers who carry forward the Fulbright mission of enhancing mutual understanding in their communities and throughout the world.

Fulbright is active in more than 160 countries and partners with participating governments, host institutions, corporations and foundations worldwide. For more information about the program, visit

About UCI’s Brilliant Future campaign: Publicly launched on Oct. 4, 2019, the Brilliant Future campaign aims to raise awareness and support for UCI. By engaging 75,000 alumni and garnering $2 billion in philanthropic investment, UCI seeks to reach new heights of excellence in student success, health and wellness, research and more. Learn more by visiting 

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the nation’s top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The campus has produced five Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 224 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s largest employer, contributing $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion statewide. For more on UCI, visit

Media access: Radio programs/stations may, for a fee, use an on-campus ISDN line to interview UCI faculty and experts, subject to availability and university approval. For more UCI news, visit Additional resources for journalists may be found at