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Sustainable Summer is committed to providing exciting educational travel opportunities to a diverse group of high school students interested in environmental sustainability. We have two separate scholarship programs: fellowships and financial aid. In general, scholarships are competitive and help fund the participation of motivated and accomplished students from across the United States in a Sustainable Summer program.
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 Aid

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 five different types of financial aid.

Program Summary Type of Support Deadlines
Financial Assistance Sustainable Summer maintains an internal scholarship fund to provide financial assistance to students that would otherwise be unable to afford full tuition. Scholarship awards range from 10% to 50% of tuition. Please see the “More Info” section for details. Up to 50% of tuition Feb 15th or Mar 15th 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 (12/1, preferred) 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
Foundation Grants Outside grants and scholarships are available to students meeting foundation-specific criteria. Varies Varies More Info
Early Enrollment Families applying before December 1st can save 5% on tuition. Tuition discount & interest free payment plan Dec 1st More Info

Fellowships

Our Fellowship program functions differently from our financial aid program. Sustainable Summer offers merit-based fellowships to students in the following areas: Film, photography, and journalism.

Program Summary Type of Support Deadline
Film Fellowship Aspiring filmmakers can combine their love of the environment with their love of film and apply to be a Sustainable Summer film fellow. The fellow is responsible for documenting the program on camera and producing a 60-90 second edited video. Students must have their own equipment. 50% tuition reduction Mar 15th More Info
Photography Fellowship If you’re passionate about the environment and know your way around a camera lens, you can apply to be a Sustainable Summer photography fellow. You will be responsible for documenting the program on camera and producing at least 25 retouched hi-res photos and a cohesive photo essay about the experience. Students must have a DSLR camera and an existing portfolio to apply. 20% tuition reduction Mar 15th More Info
Journalism Fellowship Sustainable Summer Journalism Fellows are responsible for documenting their experience through the written word. Successful applicants will have a pre-conceived subject of inquiry related to one of our sustainability themes (food, water, energy) or another aspect of the program. Fellows will pursue their story, conduct interviews with students and locals, and will oversee contributions to the Sustainable Summer blog and the group journal. Post-program, Journalism Fellows will seek publication of an original article in their school paper, a local newspaper, and possibly other news sources. The article will also appear in the Sustainable Summer blog. 20% tuition reduction Mar 15th More Info

Fellowships & 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 aid or a fellowship. 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). All applicants must be U.S. Citizens.


All scholarship applicants (includes both financial assistance and fellowships) 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 financial assistance and fellowship applications, 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 financial assistance of up to 50% 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. We use the same online application system that many private schools and universities use to manage their financial aid award decisions. The process should take between 20 and 30 minutes. Families that are already in the system because they have applied for financial aid at another institution will not have to provide duplicate documentation.

There is no additional fee to apply for financial assistance. The first round application period is open from Jan 1st to Feb 15th. Award decisions will be communicated to families on Feb 21st and all awards must be accepted, declined, or deferred by Feb 28th, 2014. If additional aid is available, we will open a second application round on March 1st.

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.

2. Extracurricular Resume

  • 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)

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

6. Statements of financial status (completed by parents)

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

Fellowship Application Components

To apply for a fellowship, please complete the general Sustainable Summer application first. The deadline to apply is Mar 15th. In general, applicants are asked to provide evidence of their capabilities related to their area of interest (film, photography, or journalism). A portfolio or other means of showcasing the student’s work is considered a minimum requirement. Letters of recommendation, short essay responses, and other information may be requested that can help us determine the best candidate for each fellowship.



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%, fundraise 50% of their tuition, 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

Fellowships

Your success as a candidate for a fellowship will be largely predicated on three factors: 1. Are you actively developing your skills as a journalist, photographer, or filmmaker and feel that you have the capacity to bring those skills to a Sustainable Summer program and use them in a semi-professional manner? 2. Are you genuinely interested in environmental sustainability as a subject of academic inquiry? 3. Are there other fellowship applicants that meet the preceding requirements that are also applying at that same time you are?

If you can confidently answer yes to the first two questions, you will have good chances of receiving a fellowship, especially if you’re flexible about the specific Sustainable Summer program you would like to attend. We are happy to work with applicants that get “edged out” of their first choice program and reassign them to another program that may not have an applicant that meets our minimum fellowship requirements. In the event that no candidate meets our minimum requirements, no fellowship will be awarded.


For Applications Received PRIOR to December 1st

We have specifically structured our application dates and deadlines so that all Sustainable Summer tuition fees are fully refundable to early applicants who don’t receive a scholarship. We strongly encourage all prospective Sustainable Summer applicants to take advantage of our early enrollment savings by applying as a general applicant before December 1st. If you also apply for a fellowship or financial assistance and don’t receive the scholarship support you would need to participate, your deposit and any additional tuition fees you have paid are fully refundable until April 1st. If you conclude that the choice to participate is not right for your family, a full refund of any payments, except the non-refundable $35 application fee, will be issued on April 1st. (Please note, we offer our “early” scholarship applicants the option of “deferring” acceptance of an award an additional 1 month extension of the “March 1st no risk, full refund cancellation policy” associated with our early enrollment savings. However, deferments will be re-entered in a second round of considerations for scholarships and may be rescinded in favor of a stronger second round applicant. We offer the deferment option in consideration of the fact that some families may need additional time to weigh their individual financial circumstances and educational priorities.)

For Applications Received AFTER December 1st

Your $500 enrollment deposit is non-refundable if you apply after December 1st and/or enroll after December 31st. If your child will only be able to attend a Sustainable Summer program if (s)he receives a financial assistance award or fellowship, please do not provide an enrollment deposit. Unfortunately, we are not able to guarantee availability in a specific program. If your child would still be able to attend without a scholarship award, you should submit a deposit to reserve a space in your desired program.


Fellowships

Fellowships are awarded based on merit and fellows receive a reduced tuition. Film fellows receive a 50% tuition reduction. Photography and journalism fellows receive a 20% tuition reduction. Fellowships are not applicable for our Galapagos extension programs. We ask families with the ability to pay in full that are awarded a fellowship to consider making a contribution to our scholarship fund in the interest of “leveling the playing field.”

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance 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. The minimum financial assistance award is 10%. Participants are expected to provide a “family contribution” and/or fundraise at least 50% of tuition in most circumstances. Families will be responsible for all program fees, including 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 family’s with 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.



Scholarship awards are applied to total program fees (including housing, activities, and meals). Related travel expenses may be included in the award, however this is unusual, and families should expect to finance the cost of international airfare (estimated $500-1000) and a travel health insurance plan (approx $150). Spending money is never included in the award calculation and is the responsibility of your family. Fundraising and outside grants are both very viable means for funding participation costs beyond any Sustainable Summer scholarship support. Please note, we do not provide financial assistance for programs to the Galapagos.


Yes. You should first apply online to Sustainable Summer using our regular application. Once your application is received, all applicants will be provided with access to our financial assistance and fellowship applications.


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


We may still be able to put together a financial aid package for you. Please go to our Get More Info page to inquire about availability or call 646.504.5046.


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.