Israel Experience

Merit Scholarship Program

The Jewish United Fund now offers a limited number of merit scholarships ($1,000 each) annually to high school, college and graduate students to age 23 who demonstrate significant leadership skills. The purpose of these scholarships is to encourage the development of Jewish identity, nourish greater commitment to Israel and the Chicago Jewish community, and to recognize future leaders.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicant must be enrolled in grade 10, 11 or 12 or must be no older than 23 years old and enrolled in a college or graduate program.
  • Applicant must reside or attend school in metropolitan Chicago.
  • Applicant must have applied to or be in the process of applying to an approved Israel Experience program.
  • Applicant must demonstrate leadership abilities.
  • Applicant must be committed to participating in communal Jewish activities after returning from Israel.
  • Previous Merit scholarship winners are not eligible to reapply. However, previous applicants who did not receive a Merit scholarship may apply again.

Application Information

  • Applicants must submit school transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and an essay.
  • Applicants who qualify must participate in a personal interview.

Application Deadlines

Scholarship applications (PDF) are available in mid-January and are due March 1. The selection process is extremely competitive and not all applicants will advance to the interview stage. Financial status is not considered in the merit scholarship process.