GW fell 17 places this year in a ranking of Fulbright scholarship-producing institutions, dropping from the No. 8 spot to the No. 25 spot, according to statistics from the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Thirteen Fulbright scholarships were awarded to GW students and faculty this year, down from 23 awarded last year.
The head of GW’s Center for Undergraduate Fellowships and Research defended the University, saying last year’s crop of scholars was unusually large.
“I think last year was just an extraordinary year,” Dr. Paul Hoyt-O’Connor said in an e-mail. “That set of applicants was remarkably strong. This year’s group was strong. but it is quite unreasonable to expect that GW would duplicate the previous year, which, in several ways, was ‘off the charts.'”
But the decrease may be a new trend for the University, which prides itself on creating Fulbright scholars. This year’s pool was about 25 percent smaller than last year’s, with 55 applications sent out to the prestigious scholarship program, as opposed to 74 last year.
Hoyt-O’Connor called the number of awards granted to GW students this year similar to years leading up to last year’s record-setting number, but is confident the numbers will increase in the future.
“These numbers are going to be trending upwards,” Hoyt-O’Connor said. “I don’t know whether we will get such a high number of winners again anytime soon – but looking at the most recent set of applications we finished and sent off last week, it’s a pretty strong group.”
Dr. Dianne Martin, associate vice president of graduate studies and academic affairs, said “an occasional dip” does not have an impact on GW’s overall commitment to being among the top Fulbright scholar producers in the country.
GW now ranks behind several Ivy League universities and comparable institutions, including Northwestern University, Boston College and Johns Hopkins University, for producing high numbers of Fulbright scholarship recipients.
GW still ranks ahead of Georgetown University, which produced 12 award winners this year from a nearly identical number of applicants.