Israel Experience

College Student/Young Adult Scholarship Program

The Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation provides need-based scholarships for college students and young adults (up to 28 years old) to participate in an approved Israel Experience program. The purpose of these scholarships is to strengthen Jewish identity and to nourish greater commitment to Israel and the Chicago Jewish community. 

Eligibility requirements

  • Applicant must demonstrate financial need
  • Applicant must reside or attend school in metropolitan Chicago
  • Applicant must have already graduated from high school at the time of application
  • Applicant must be between the ages of 17 and 28
  • Applicant must have applied 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.  Please note that in-person interviews cannot take place until a completed application has been received.  
  • Applicants age 18 and under whose parents are Chicagoland residents must bring at least one parent to the personal interview
  • All applicants age 26 and under must submit their parents' most recent Federal income tax returns as well as their own
  • Applicants who reside outside 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. Scholarships may not be used to extend a current program or to participate in a program that is 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

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 application, not the college student/young adult application.

Scholarship applications for summer and fall 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 summer and fall programs are available by mid-September and are due November 1. Please refer back to this page for the FACTS Grant & Aid Assessment during the posted months.

For more information, please see the Scholarship Guidelines.