Forty-eight U.S. students have been awarded the 2019 Marshall Scholarship, the largest class of scholars in the program's 65-year history.

The U.K. government mainly funds the scholarships and announced them Monday. Recipients come from across the U.S., and next year's group includes more women than ever before.

The scholarships enable intellectually distinguished young Americans to study for up to three years at any U.K. institution.

The scholarship was created in 1953 and began as a gesture of gratitude to the U.S. for assistance the U.K. received after World War II under the Marshall Plan, the program that aided in Europe's economic recovery between 1948 and 1951.

Alumni include Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer and Neil Gorsuch, and the late 2008 Nobel Prize recipient Roger Tsien, a biochemist.