Merit Scholarship Program

The Jewish United Fund offers a limited number of merit scholarships ($1,000 each) annually to high school, college, and graduate students up to age 23 who demonstrate significant leadership skills. The purpose of these scholarships is to strengthen 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 program which does not begin until after the application deadline.
  • 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 (in addition to the application form).
  • Applicants who qualify must participate in a personal interview.

Application Deadlines

Scholarship applications (PDF) are due March 15 for summer, fall, and academic year programs. 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. Applicants will be notified by late April, 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.

Scholarship applications for winter and spring programs are due November 1. Please refer back to this page for more information and the application in mid-September.

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