Click to Subscribe & Stay Informed via Email!

SAI Grants Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions:

Who is eligible for a SAI student grant?

A: All students in degree seeking programs who are returning to Harvard the following year are eligible to apply for grants. Unfortunately, Extension school students are not eligible for SAI funding.

Is there a program fee?
A: No, there is no program fee or cost charged by SAI to apply for a SAI grant.

I’m a graduate student who wants to do language study – what kind of grant should I apply for?
A: A graduate research grant.

What countries are considered part of South Asia?

A: Our work is focused in India, Bhutan, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Can I use SAI funds to travel to a non-South Asian country?

A: Yes, as long as the research is South Asia focused

What can I use SAI funding for?

A: SAI funding should be used for transportation (air tickets and local transportation), meals in region, visa costs, medication, and immunizations needed for travel. SAI funding should NOT be used for program fees, souvenirs, tourist activities and tour groups.

Will I receive Harvard course credit?
A: No

How much money can I expect to get from a SAI grant?
A: SAI’s grants range from $500 – $3,000.

Should I apply to other centers as well?
A: Yes! We strongly encourage you to apply to other centers and funding sources. Please make a note in your application what other center’s you’ve applied to. In the past, we have joint funded applications with OCS, the Harvard Asia Center, and the Harvard Global Health Initiative. 

If you are planning to apply for funding for an internship at a SAI partnered organization (i.e. listed on SAI’s website), we encourage you to apply for an OCS Harvard-Run Summer International Programs Grant.

If you are planning to apply for funding for an internship you found on your own, we encourage you to apply for an OCS Independent Internships and Volunteer Opportunities Grant.

In-Region Organizations:

None of the SAI partnered organizations match what I’m looking for. Can I apply to a non-partnered organization?

Yes, we will accept applications from non-partnered organizations. However, preference is given to applicants with internships at SAI partnered organizations.

How do I obtain an internship?
A: You are responsible for approaching the in-region organizations yourself. Please review the organization’s application materials. If you need assistance, please contact SAI’s in-region consultants in the appropriate country.
Namrata Arora (India):
Maria May (Bangladesh):
Asim Jahangir: 

I found an organization online and I’m interested in applying for an internship, but I don’t know if it’s a reputable organization. Can SAI help?
A: SAI will try to help you get further information about organizations that are non-partnered but please keep in mind that our partnered organizations have been vetted, and it is impossible for us to know about all in-region organizations.

I have internships at two organizations, can I do both?
A: Students have been funded for two organizations in the past. This is determined on a case by case basis. Students should submit one CARAT application and proposal detailing the rationale for wanting to pursue two internships.

Will the in-region organization provide me with housing and meals?
A: Some organizations do, while others provide cultural activities like language lessons and outings. Be sure to check with that your organization will provide and take this into account when creating your budget.

How long does my internship need to be?
A: 8 weeks.

Application Components:

What is a CARAT?!
A:The CARAT (Centralized Applications for Dissertation Completion and Research Grants & Summer Grants) is essentially an online database to capture where students are applying for funds.

I have no idea how much things cost in South Asia, how do I estimate a budget?
A: The Grant Committee expects that you will have done your research when it comes to submitting an estimated budget. Review the example budgets on SAI’s website, and check online resources for estimates. The Grant Committee is very familiar with the costs in South Asia, so it pays to do your homework and not over estimate. If you need assistance, please contact SAI. Also keep in mind what SAI grant money should be used for, as noted above.

Who should I ask to write my recommendation letters?
A: We recommend that you have at least one Harvard faculty member write a recommendation letter. The other letter can come from an employer or a teaching fellow.

Will SAI accept emailed letters of recommendation?
A: Yes, letters of recommendation can by emailed by the recommender directly to Nora Maginn at

Can my host organization email the letter of acceptance directly to SAI?
A: No – please plan ahead and ask your organization to provide you an official letter of acceptance to include with the other application components. The letter may have been emailed to you, but please do not email acceptance letters to SAI or have the organization email the letter to SAI.

Will SAI accept my emailed application?
A: Undergraduate students should upload application documents through CARAT. Graduate students should email a packaged PDF document with their application materials directly to Nora Maginn at

When will I find out if I got the grant?
A: We will release the grant awards on March 24, 2014 by email.

Who will review my application?
A: Your grant application will be reviewed by a panel of interdisciplinary faculty. Visit our proposal tips page for advice from the grant review committee on what makes a good proposal.

I’m a freshman. Will I get a grant?
A: You may! Priority is given to students who have not received a grant from SAI in the past. Additional priority is given to students who will be conducting work relevant to their thesis, internships with partnered organizations, and excellent proposals.

After Obtaining the Grant:

I received a SAI grant, but I can’t go anymore. Can I defer to the winter or to next summer?

A: Unfortunately, no. Your grant must be used within the time proposed in your application. You will be given a deadline in the summer of 2013 by which you must have started using your grant or you must return it to SAI.

I need to make some changes to my original proposal. Can I do so?
A: Any changes that are made must be approved by SAI. You must notify SAI if your dates, location, or timeline changes. SAI reserves the right to rescind your funding if we feel you are unable to complete the project proposed.

If we haven’t answered your question, please contact Nora Maginn,