U.S. Senate Youth Program

Applications for the 2019-2020 school year will be available here August 2019.

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) administers the United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP), an annual scholarship competition funded by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation and sponsored by the United States Senate. Each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia (and the Department of Defense Education Activity) select two high school juniors or seniors to participate in the USSYP. The delegates receive a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship and attend a one-week, all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Students must be high school juniors or seniors currently serving in an elected or appointed leadership capacity in a student government, civic, or educational organization. The student must actively serve in this position for the entire school year. The positions may include:
  • Student body president, vice president, secretary or treasurer.
  • Class president, vice president, secretary or treasurer.
  • Student council representative.
  • National Honor Society officer.
  • Student representative elected or appointed (appointed by a panel, commission or board) to a local, district, regional or state-level civic, service and/or educational organization approved by the state selection administrator.

Some positons that do not qualify: National Honor Society member; attendance or leadership position at boys/girls nation/state conference; founder/chairperson/participant of a self-created group; officer/participant in mock trial, debate team, model UN or other academic clubs, conferences or competitions.

A nominated student must be a permanent resident of the United States currently enrolled in a Minnesota public or private secondary school.

What is the postmark deadline for the application packet?

The deadline to apply for the 2019-2020 school year is Friday, October 11, 2019. Applications will be available in August 2019. Late, incomplete or applications received by fax or email will not be accepted.

What do I need to send?

Please send three (3) copies of each of the following:
  • Completed USSYP Minnesota Student Application
  • Student essay.
  • Unofficial student transcript. 
  • Two letters of recommendation.

Where do I send the application packet?

U.S. Senate Youth Program Coordinator
Communications Office
Minnesota Department of Education
1500 Highway 36 West
Roseville, MN 55113

How are Minnesota’s student delegates and alternates selected?

A selection committee will review eligible nominees. From the top competitors, the Minnesota Department of Education commissioner will make the final selection of two finalists and a first and second alternate to represent Minnesota.
Selection criteria:
  • The quality of the application, including the ability to write with clarity, express ideas in an organized and original fashion, and the use of correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
  • High academic achievement.
  • Knowledge of American government and U.S. history.
  • Involvement in school and community service activities.
  • Demonstrated qualities of leadership by currently serving in an elected capacity in student government such as student body president, vice president, secretary or treasurer; class president, vice-president, secretary or treasurer; student council representative; or as a student representative elected or approved (approved by a panel, commission, or board) to a school, district, regional, or state-level civic or educational organization for the entire school year.
The Hearst Foundation requires that to obtain scholarship funds, a student must participate in the Washington Week program and use the funds within four years of enrollment at an accredited U.S. college or university. Students are encouraged to include history, political science, or related subjects in their undergraduate program.

For further information, contact:
U.S. Senate Youth Program Coordinator for Minnesota
Email: mde.communications@state.mn.us
Phone: 651-582-8208