Frequently Asked Questions

ISP General Questions

Stecker Scholarship Program Questions

ISP General Questions

When should I apply for an International Scholarship Program?

An Independently Funded Scholar can apply any time. We have a rolling review of applications throughout the year. Please allow 2-4 weeks for a response after we have accepted all of your documents.

The Stecker Scholarship Program offers two application review cycles annually. The application deadlines are April 15 and October 15 each year. Applications not received by the deadline will be reviewed in the next review cycle.

What visa should I use?

Independently Funded Scholars will use a tourist visa unless otherwise requested by their sponsor. We will provide an invitation letter once your application is approved by the program.

A Stecker Scholarship Program funded scholar will use a J-1 visa. We will help with the J-1 visa application process.

What kind of English proficiency document is required? What score is required?

The applicant must have passed a Standard English test such as TOEFL or Iles.

We do not have a required admission score, but Listening Comprehension and Speaking must score above the 40th percentile.

Can I use my college or high school English course report?

No. All test reports must be within 3 years of the application date.

Do I have to provide all original records of immunization?


We do not have some of the required immunizations in my country. What should I do?

You may visit a neighboring country that provides the required vaccine to complete the required immunizations.

Can I get the vaccine after I arrive United States, before I start the program?

We do not encourage this solution. You have to wait for two weeks for each immunization to develop immunity before you can observe clinical activity. You will be responsible for the U.S. costs of immunization and the extra lodging while you are waiting for the immunization to take effect.

We will not review your application without a completed immunization record, and we will not offer an invitation until we approve your application.

I acquired immunity by getting the chicken pox vaccine when I was young. I do not have the vaccination record. What can I do?

You may provide a varicella blood titer test report that demonstrates you have been exposed to varicella.

I had BCG when I was young. My PPD result will be positive. What should I do?

You may provide a chest x-ray within one year from your application date that shows you are free of active pulmonary tuberculosis.

Why do I need health insurance?

Any scholar who plans to visit our hospital for 30 days or longer must purchase medical emergency and disease insurance coverage for the entire time of the visit at our hospital. Those who visit less than 30 days may purchase travel insurance. Medical charges in the United States are very expensive and if you become ill you are responsible for any medical costs.

My institution provides health insurance for international travel. Do I still have to buy insurance?

You must provide the policy in an English translation for us to review before you arrive at our hospital. If the policy is approved by our program, you may use that coverage to fulfill the health insurance requirement. Otherwise, you must purchase the required health insurance.

The medical insurance coverage criteria include:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
  • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness

What is the financial responsibility (support) document?

The financial responsibility document is a document from your home institution, or proof that your government or professional organization has provided you a scholarship or financial award to cover your salary and living expenses while you are participating in the International Scholars Program.

The document can be a record of your own personal savings if you are paying for your own expenses.

How much money do I have to provide on the statement?

USD $2,000 per month. If your scholarship only partially covers your costs, you can deduct that amount from the required USD $2,000 and provide the remaining coverage from your personal savings.

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Stecker Scholarship Program Questions

Can I gain hands on experience while participating in the Stecker Scholarship Program?

No, the Stecker Scholarship Program is observation only. Hands-on clinical experiences are not allowed through this Program.

How much funding is provided to an approved Stecker Scholar?

Stecker Scholars receive a stipend and are reimbursed for reasonable travel costs. Stecker Scholars receive a stipend of $7,500 USD out of which all expenses are paid, including but not limited to SEVIS fee, rent, utilities, food, health insurance and reasonable travel costs.

How do I demonstrate English Proficiency?

The US Department of State (DOS) requires J‐1 program sponsors to determine that prospective exchange visitors have sufficient English proficiency to successfully participate in our international programs. English proficiency can be demonstrated by providing 1) an official score record from a recognized English language test (i.e. TOEFL or IELTS), taken within 3 years of application; 2) a signed, certified documentation from an academic institution or English language school within 3 years of application; or 3) proof of a degree with a transcript for a program taught in English, completed within 12 months of application.

My country of origin does not offer all the required immunizations, will I still able to come to Nationwide Children's Hospital as a Stecker Scholar?

The Stecker application may be reviewed and approved before medical and immunization documentation is complete. But the final award letter will not be provided until all applications requirements are met.

I was accepted as a Stecker Scholar, but am not able to come the following year. What do I do?

Stecker awards must be used within twelve months of approval. If the Scholar is not able to visit Nationwide Children’s within those twelve months, they must reapply for consideration in another review cycle.

I am a student or recent international medical graduate, can I apply for a Stecker award?

No, scholars must have completed all requisite training in their country. Students and or trainees will not be considered for a Stecker Scholarship award. Because Mr. and Mrs. Stecker wanted to ensure the awards were given to those who can make immediate impact in the health of children, mid-career professionals make the strongest applicants.

I am not able to visit Nationwide Children’s for three-months. Could I still be considered for a Stecker award?

Yes, the stipend award would be pro-rated based on the visit length.

If I apply with peers and or my team, can we be considered for the Stecker Scholarship Program as a group?

Yes, delegations are considered for Stecker awards. In these cases, the group or team plans a shorter visit and the stipend award is divided among them.

What are the other general International Scholars Program requirements I must meet?

The general International Scholars Program requirements can be found on the application cover or on the main ISP web page.

I still have questions, who can I talk to?

Reach out to the International Scholars Program at

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