U.S. Senate Youth Program

Download the 2019-20 application form below. The deadline for submission is October 11.

The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP), established in 1962 by U.S. Senate Resolution, is a unique educational experience for outstanding high school students. Each year, two student leaders from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity spend a week in Washington, D.C., experiencing their national government in action.

During Washington Week, students will attend briefings and meetings with several senators, the president of the United States, a justice of the Supreme Court, secretaries of the Cabinet, an ambassador to the United States, other federal agency leaders, and senior members of the national media. Each speaking event includes a substantial question-and-answer session, allowing the students direct and personal interaction with the high-level leadership. This in-depth exposure is what fuels and sustains the students’ commitment to making a difference in their country, communities and schools.

In addition, each delegate will be awarded a $10,000 college scholarship. The Hearst Foundation provides all transportation, hotel and meal expenses.

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) administers this program in Minnesota. Principals nominate students; one student per school will be considered. Interested? Students may complete the application on this page or check with their high school counselor to learn more about the program.

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.

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

What is the postmark deadline for the application packet?

The deadline to apply for the 2019-20 program is Friday, October 11, 2019. Late, incomplete, faxed or emailed applications 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 (3 copies each).

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, phone or in-person interviews may be scheduled. MDE's 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 fully in the Washington Week program; this includes travel days and all activities. In order to enter government buildings and take part in all the parts of the program, students must have proof of U.S. citizenship at the time of application. Delegates who do not attend all parts of the program will forfeit the scholarship monies. Students must use the scholarship funds within four years of enrollment at an accredited U.S. college or university and 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