Applicant Resources

The 2019 STARTALK proposal guide will be released in August on this page. The proposal guide will include everything you need to plan, organize, and prepare to submit your STARTALK application in SOPHIE, our online proposal system.

In the meantime, please review the 2019 Eligibility Statement for STARTALK Awards and information about the STARTALK award timeline.

Eligibility Statement for STARTALK Awards

For a program to be considered eligible, it must meet the following requirements:

  • Applicants must provide evidence that participant safety, liability, and insurance issues are addressed.
  • All instruction must occur in the United States (or within US territories or tribal areas); STARTALK funds cannot be used to fund study abroad programs.
  • The applying organization must not be organized, chartered, or incorporated under the laws of any country other than the United States or its possessions or be controlled by an individual who is not a US citizen. STARTALK funds may not be used to support a foreign-owned entity.
  • The applying organization must maintain an accounting system capable of accurately and adequately tracking the expenses associated with the STARTALK grant.
  • Institutions that are a part of the University System of Maryland ( are ineligible for STARTALK grants.

For Student Programs:

  • Students participating in a STARTALK program must be enrolled in a US school or homeschooled in the United States.

For Teacher Programs:

  • Participants of STARTALK-funded teacher programs must either be current teachers or planning to teach one of the STARTALK languages, except:
    • New for 2019: When an institution offers more than two STARTALK languages, teachers of Spanish may be enrolled, but their enrollment must be less than 30% of total projected enrollment. For example, if an institution were to offer a program for teachers of Chinese, Arabic, and Hindi, and project an enrollment of 20 teachers, up to six of those teachers may be teachers of Spanish.

PDF of Eligibility Statement

STARTALK Award Timeline

STARTALK has an annual grant cycle. All institutions desiring grant funding, including current grant recipients, must apply for a grant each year. Applicants complete and submit their proposals for STARTALK funding online using the STARTALK proposal system SOPHIE. SOPHIE opens for proposals in September each year and closes in October. However, applicants may review application materials from the previous year on the STARTALK website at any time. New application materials for the next proposal cycle are posted in August. Proposals are reviewed by external experts in October and November, and the NFLC may contact applicants with questions or correction requests in December. All applicants are notified whether they will or will not receive an award in January, and awards are issued in March and April. Please take a moment to review the following infographic. You may also print and share it with your colleagues.

PDF of STARTALK Award Timeline

Material Type(s): 

  • Administration