Israel Experience College Student/Young Adult Scholarship Program

The Jewish United Fund offers scholarships based on financial need for college students and young adults (up to 28 years old) participating in approved Israel experience programs. The purpose of Israel Experience College Student/Young Adult Scholarship Program is to strengthen Jewish identity and nourish greater understanding and commitment to Israel and to the Chicago Jewish community. 

Eligibility requirements & guidelines

  • Applicant must have already graduated from high school at the time of application.
  • Applicant must demonstrate financial need.
  • Applicant must reside in metropolitan Chicago (but may attend school elsewhere).
  • Applicant must be between the ages of 17 and 28.
  • Applicant must have applied to an approved Israel experience program which does not begin until after the application deadline.
  • Applicant must be committed to participating in Jewish communal activities after returning from Israel.
  • 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 earning in excess of $150,000 annually should contact our office at before submitting an application.

Application and selection information

  • All applicants under age 26 must submit their parents' most recent federal income tax returns as well as their own.
  • Applicants who reside outside of Chicago but attend school in the Chicago area must apply for financial aid through their local Federation.
  • Parents are urged to contribute according to their financial ability even if applicant is legally independent, and applicants are expected to make an appropriate and meaningful contribution toward the cost of the program.
  • Scholarship priority is given to applicants who have never been to Israel, although those who have previously traveled to Israel 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.

Please note: If you are currently in high school and have not yet graduated (even if you are applying to go on an Israel program after you graduate from high school), you must fill out the high school scholarship applicationnot the college student/young adult application. 

Application deadlines

Scholarship applications for winter and spring programs are due November 1. FACTS Grant & Aid Assessment will be conducting the financial analysis for Israel experience scholarships. Applicants can apply online at FACTS Grant & Aid Assessment by November 1 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 fall and academic year programs before applying.

Scholarship applications for summer programs are due March 1. Please refer back to this page for more information and the application link in early January.

Scholarship applications for fall and academic year programs are due April 15. Please refer back to this page for more information and the application link in early January.

Scholarship Applications Available

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

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