Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education U.S. Senate Youth Program Information and Application

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Office of Learning Services
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Assistant Principal; Assistant Superintendent; Curriculum Coordinators; Equity Coordinators (Disability/Race/Gender/National Origin); Gifted & Talented Coordinators; Parent Involvement Coordinators/Facilitators; Principals; School Counselors; Superintendents; Teachers

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The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) is pleased to announce that the state departments of education nationwide have begun the selection processes for the 62nd annual Washington Week to be held March 2-9, 2024. During the comprehensive education, leadership, and public service learning experience, 104 student delegates will be chosen to meet their U.S. senators and other government officials, and each delegate will receive a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship. Students must attend the entire Washington Week program to receive the financial scholarship.  


The USSYP was created by Senate Resolution 324 in 1962, as stated in supporting Senate testimony from that year, “to increase young Americans’ understanding of the interrelationship of the three branches of government, the caliber and responsibilities of federally elected and appointed officials, and the vital importance of democratic decision making not only for America but for people around the world.”


This extremely competitive merit-based program brings two high school juniors and seniors from every state, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity, to Washington, D.C., for an intensive week-long study of the federal government and its leaders. The state departments of education throughout the country select the students through a rigorous nomination and selection process. 


The $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship is given to each student in the name of the United States Senate, with encouragement to continue coursework in history, government, and public affairs. Military officers who serve as elite chaperones and mentors to the student delegates throughout the week are also competitively selected through the Office of the Secretary of Defense, representing one of the longest standing partnerships between a national youth program and the Department of Defense. The Hearst Foundations have fully funded and administered the program since inception; no government funds are utilized.


APPLICATIONS must be clearly POSTMARKED no later than October 20, 2023. Applicants who are unable to mail the application should contact Ronda Smith at (501) 682-7816 or for assistance.   


A selection committee composed of Arkansas Department of Education officials, educators, and other experts in the field will screen all eligible applicants and make recommendations to the Arkansas Secretary of Education. Selection is based on outstanding ability and demonstrated qualities of leadership. Complete rules and information about eligibility are contained in the linked brochure. If you have questions regarding this scholarship opportunity, please contact Ronda Smith, USSYP State Coordinator, Division of Elementary and Secondary Education, at (501) 682-7816 or by email at


Additional information and applications are available on the DESE website at:

For general program information, please visit the United States Senate Youth Program website

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