The William D. Clarke, Sr. Diplomatic Security Fellowship is designed to attract individuals from diverse backgrounds, including those with financial need, who want to pursue their master’s degree and a career in the Foreign Service as a Diplomatic Security Service Special Agent.

Although your financial documents and income information may demonstrate your financial need, don’t skip the Statement of Financial Need. This part of the application gives you the opportunity to tell your unique story, beyond what the numbers say. Your statement can strengthen your application in the selection process.

The selection panel factors economic status into the selection process. The committee is interested in learning of backgrounds that show financial disadvantage or applicant’s need to secure non-family economic assistance to attend graduate school.

There are many different manifestations of financial need, including reliance on grants and loans as an undergraduate student, accumulation of significant student debt, the need to work while in school, lack of family resources, choice of less expensive schools, and/or discontinuation of family support for graduate school.

You can help the selection panel to understand your financial situation in the following ways:

  • Answering financial questions in the application, based on the information in the FAFSA. You should use financial data in the most recent FAFSA per FAFSA requirements.
  • Submitting the Student Aid Report generated from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
  • Submitting documentation from your university that shows financial assistance you received during your undergraduate years (if applicable).
  • Writing a Statement of Financial Need that explains your situation – focusing specifically on financial need.

As you draft your statement, you should:

  • Describe your personal situation and why you need financial assistance for graduate school.
  • Share your family’s story, such as, your parent’s socioeconomic status or your personal situation (working during school, low-paid service positions, financial obligations, etc), or any circumstances that affect your ability to attend or pay for college.
  • Provide quantitative data in your statement, including the amounts of financial assistance you’ve received and your outstanding education-related debt.
  • Add any plans that you’ve made for covering educational costs.
  • Mention if you receive educational funding from external sources like scholarships or the GI Bill.

You’ll need to tell your story in 400 words or less, so you may find it helpful to create a first draft in a Word document, run a spell check, and edit it to be within the word limit.

Remember – the selection panel reads every Statement of Financial Need when reviewing applications. Providing this statement in your application can strengthen your application by adding depth to your story.