Israel Experience High School Scholarship Program

The Jewish United Fund and the Naftali Steinfeld Memorial Scholarship Fund offer scholarships based on financial need for high school students participating in approved Israel experience programs. The purpose of the Israel Experience High School Scholarship Program is to strengthen Jewish identity and nourish greater understanding and commitment to Israel and to the Chicago Jewish community.

Eligibility requirements and guidelines

  • Applicant must be enrolled in grades 9-12 (this includes graduating seniors who are going on a post-high school program).
  • Applicant must demonstrate financial need.
  • Applicant must reside in metropolitan Chicago. Applicants living outside Illinois but attending school in the Chicago area are not eligible to apply.
  • Applicants presently in school outside of the United States are not eligible to apply.
  • Applicant must have applied to an approved Israel program which does not begin until after the application deadline.
  • Participation in Jewish communal activities after returning from Israel is strongly encouraged.
  • Families may apply for only one JUF Israel experience financial need scholarship in any one academic year, except in the instance of twins or other multiples. Applicants must wait a full year before applying for a second JUF Israel experience financial need scholarship, and are only eligible to do so if the second program is substantially different from the previous program.
  • Please keep in mind that our funds are limited, and requests always greatly exceed demand. We work hard to make sure that the neediest families are given priority. While we do take into account the family’s total financial picture, not just income, families with an annual adjusted gross income of $130,000 or higher (including all sources—salary, parsonage, kollel, etc.) are not permitted to apply and will be withdrawn.

Application and selection information

  • Scholarship priority is given to applicants who have never been to Israel, although those who have been to Israel before may still apply. JUF Israel experience scholarships cannot be used to extend a current program or for programs that are substantially similar to a program in which the applicant has already participated.
  • Prior involvement in Jewish communal activities is not a requirement for receiving a financial need scholarship.
  • No full scholarships are awarded.

Application deadlines

Scholarship applications for winter and spring programs are due November 1. Applicants can apply online at FACTS Grant & Aid Assessment (please choose the Winter/Spring application and the 2023-2024 Winter & Spring term) and will be notified by mid-December, following the meeting of the Scholarship Committee. Applications are not considered on a rolling basis, so early submission of a scholarship application will not change the notification date.

Please read the Scholarship Guidelines for winter and spring programs before applying.

Scholarship applications for summer programs are due March 15. Scholarship applications for fall semester and academic year programs are due June 1. Please refer back to this page for more information and the application link in mid-January.

Scholarship Applications Available

Israel Experience scholarship applications are now being accepted. High school students, college students, and young adults are welcome to apply.

Learn More