Israel Experience

Israel Experience High School Scholarship Program

The Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation 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

  • Applicant must be enrolled in grade 9, 10, 11 or 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 for a Jewish Federation Israel Experience scholarship.
  • Applicant must have applied to or be in the process of applying to an approved Israel Experience program which does not begin until after the application deadline.
  • Applicant must be committed to participating in communal Jewish activities after returning from Israel.
  • Families may apply for only one Jewish Federation 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 Jewish Federation Israel Experience financial need scholarship, and are only eligible to do so if the second program is substantially different from the previous program. 

Application and selection information

  • Applicant must be available to participate in a personal interview
  • At least one English-speaking parent or adult guardian is required to attend the applicant's personal interview
  • Scholarship priority is given to applicants who have never been to Israel, although those who have been to Israel before may still apply. Jewish Federation 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-based scholarship
  • No full scholarships are awarded

Application deadlines

Scholarship applications for summer and fall programs are due March 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 March 1 and applicants will be notified by late May, 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 available in mid-September and are due November 1. Please refer back to this page for the link to FACTS Grant & Aid Assessment during the posted months.

For more information, please see the Scholarship Guidelines.