Sustainable Summer is committed to providing exciting educational opportunities to a diverse group of high school students interested in environmental sustainability. We have two types of financial assistance: 20% tuition assistance and scholarships (30 – 85% of tuition).
If you are interested in supporting any of Sustainable Summer’s scholarship programs, please click here for more information about how to make a tax-deductible donation.

Financial Assistance

Education is an investment in your child’s future and we want to help make our programs attainable for families from all corners of the economic spectrum. We offer six different types of financial aid. Note: All students must apply for and be accepted into a program BEFORE applying for financial assistance. Please see our application deadlines.

Program Summary Type of Support Deadlines
Tuition Assistance Sustainable Summer operates on a tiered tuition model. Our tuition assistance level represents a 20% discount on the standard course fee. Please see the “More Info” section for details. 20% of tuition No Deadline More Info
Scholarships Sustainable Summer maintains an internal scholarship fund to provide financial assistance to students that would otherwise be unable to afford full tuition. Scholarship awards typically range from 15% to 85% of tuition, with the most common award amount being 50%. Please see the “More Info” section for details. Up to 85% of tuition Feb 7th or April 1st More Info
Payment Plans We offer payment plans to eligible families, which is a convenient, interest free way to spread the cost of participation out across several monthly payments. No interest payments April 1st More Info
Fundraising Support Sustainable Summer makes it easy for you to fundraise the extra financial support you need to participate. Donations April 1st More Info
Early Enrollment Families applying before December 6th can save 5% on tuition. Tuition discount & interest free payment plan Dec 6th More Info

Scholarship & Financial Aid FAQs

Sustainable Summer welcomes any student currently enrolled in the 9th, 10th or 11th grade in the United States to apply for financial assistance or a fellowship. Applicants must be US citizens and be between the ages of 15 and 18, inclusive. At minimum, successful applicants will have a desire to learn, demonstrated interest in the environment and sustainability, and be in good academic standing (minimum GPA: 2.5).

Overview of Scholarship Application Process

All scholarship applicants should complete our regular online application as the first step in the application process. Our online application asks for some basic information about you, your family, and your interest in Sustainable Summer and environmental sustainability. There is a $35 non-refundable application fee. If you would like to request a fee waiver, you can do so here.

Upon acceptance into Sustainable Summer, you will be provided with access to our scholarship application, and to our crowdfunding platform. There are no additional application fees other than the $35 non-refundable general Sustainable Summer application fee.

Financial Assistance Application Components

To apply for scholarship funding of up to 85% of Sustainable Summer tuition, students and parents will need to first complete our general Sustainable Summer application and then, after being accepted into the program, our online financial aid application. Students should prepare a “extracurricular resume” and personal statement, request a school transcript, and identify two references to write a letter of recommendation, as outlined below. Parents will need to complete a detailed statement of financial status and provide documentation including tax returns.

To apply for scholarship funding, if accepted, parents should enroll their student in a program within 7 days of notification of acceptance and select the “scholarship” enrollment option. Do not wait until the enrollment deadline for your round. No enrollment deposit is required, however we cannot guarantee the availability of a place in a program nor scholarship funding. Students and parents will immediately be provided with access to our supplemental scholarship application.

A completed scholarship application must be received by the enrollment deadline for your application round. Our scholarship committee meets within 48 hours of this deadline and award decisions are communicated shortly thereafter. Scholarship awards must be accepted (by providing an enrollment deposit) within 14 days of notification. Late scholarship applications will be considered in the next round if not received on time (which means diminished funding and program availability).

Scholarship applicants are strongly encouraged to apply during our Early or Priority admissions rounds. Funding and program availability for applicants later in the admissions cycle is unlikely to be available.

A complete application for financial assistance will include all of the following:
1. Submitted Sustainable Summer Application ($35 application fee or request a fee waiver?). After you have completed this step and have been accepted into the program, you will receive additional information about how to complete the remaining steps, described below:

2. Extracurricular Resume (submitted online through your account)

  • Please include extracurricular activities, volunteer involvements, work experience, leadership experience, etc.

3. Two Letters of Recommendation (Academic and Personal)

  • Academic: should be completed by an instructor or advisor.
  • Personal: should be completed by someone who can attest to your character.
  • In general, we would like to see letters of recommendation that can speak to your environmental leadership potential.

4. Recent high school transcript (minimum 2.5 GPA; unofficial transcripts are acceptable)

5. Personal statements (500 words – submitted online through

  • Please describe your interest in sustainability, and your involvement in environmental issues to date

6. Statements of financial status (completed by parents through

  • i.e. recent tax information, itemized assets and expenses, special financial circumstances, etc.

Sustainable Summer scholarships are competitive and, unfortunately, we are not able to award scholarships to all of our applicants. While we encourage you to apply, we ask that you manage expectations.

Financial Assistance

Preference for our financial assistance awards is given to students with outstanding academic and extracurricular achievement, and a demonstrated commitment to achieving environmental sustainability, who have a clear financial need that can be met by the limitations of our financial assistance program. Our financial assistance scholarships are not granted on merit alone (see fellowships below); only those students who could not attend a program without financial assistance will be awarded scholarship funds. (NOTE: We cannot fund requests for 100% of tuition in aid and it is expected that all financial assistance applicants will make a family contribution of at least 50% of the tuition, fundraise their family’s tuition responsibility, or a combination thereof.) A competitive candidate will possess all of the following:

  • A demonstrated personal commitment to and interest in achieving environmental sustainability
  • Outstanding academic and extracurricular achievement (or unique experience related to environmental sustainability)
  • An application that articulates how Sustainable Summer will benefit the participant and help him or her become a future sustainability leader
  • Letters of recommendation that underscore all of the above
  • Clear financial need

Scholarship awards are determined based on financial need and on demonstrated merit. This amount will vary from scholar to scholar based on total program tuition and his or her unique financial circumstances. In most cases, participants are expected to provide a “family contribution” and/or fundraise at least 50% of tuition in most circumstances. We also have a few highly selective “program grants” that can fund up to 85% of tuition costs, but these award amounts are less common (usually one person per program). Families will be responsible for all program fees, including travel expenses such as airfare, less the scholarship award.

We know that every family’s situation is unique and we do not have a definitive threshold on family income for the purpose of determining scholarship eligibility, although families with an adjusted gross income of less than $65,000 will generally be considered eligible whereas families with adjusted gross incomes in excess of $100,000 will generally be considered ineligible. However, we consider cost of living in your area, your financial commitments, and a number of other factors in determining eligibility.

Sustainable Summer scholarships can be combined with outside grant support (from a foundation, school, etc) to reduce the total participation costs of the program. Sustainable Summer scholarship award decisions are applied after outside grants. Participants are expected to make a minimum financial contribution of at least 10% of tuition before Sustainable Summer funding will kick in.

Scholarship awards are applied to total program fees (including housing, activities, and meals). Related travel expenses (airfare, etc) are not included in the award. Spending money is not included in the award calculation and is the responsibility of your family. (Note: Some outside grants will cover travel expenses.) Fundraising and outside grants are both very viable means for funding participation costs beyond any Sustainable Summer scholarship support. We will apply outside funding sources to the total cost of participation first, before applying internal (ie; Sustainable Summer) scholarship funds towards a student account.

The student should apply online to Sustainable Summer using our regular application. There is a non-refundable $35 application fee. Accepted applicants will be provided with access to our scholarship applications. If you would like to ‘preview’ a scholarship application before applying to Sustainable Summer, please email with your request. You can also request an application fee waiver if you meet our eligibility requirements.

You must first be accepted into a Sustainable Summer program to be able to apply for a scholarship. If you are planning on applying for a scholarship, you should apply for admissions before our priority admissions round deadline. We are occasionally able to consider scholarship funding for applicants during later rounds, but it is not advisable to wait. You will receive an acceptance decision based on the timing specified for the admissions round along with information on how to apply for scholarship funding. Your scholarship application materials must be received in full before the enrollment deadline of that admissions round. Our scholarship committee meets within 48 hours of the enrollment deadline and you’ll receive a scholarship award decision shortly thereafter.

Maybe. It depends how late in the year it is, which program you’re interested in, and other factors. Please go to our Get More Info page to inquire about availability or call 646.504.5046.

No. Our Tuition Assistance plan is available to all families at any point during the year; no additional documentation or application is required. Students should apply to their program of choice. If accepted, a parent will indicate their desired tuition tier when enrolling the student in the program.

Go to our Get More Info page and submit your question there or call 646.504.5046. If you have questions about your eligibility to receive a scholarship, call us. We can’t confirm a scholarship award before receiving your application, but we can help determine if you would most likely meet our qualification criteria.