Scholarships Descriptions, Timelines and Tips

Academic Merit, Art Merit Award and Community Service Program Overview

Approximately twelve one-time only awards of $2,500 and three honorable mention awards of $1,000 are bestowed in May to high school senior children state-side or overseas of AFSA members who are active duty, retired or deceased Foreign Service employees. AFSA uses the scholarship application, evaluation and management system called Community Force to manage this program (

Academic Merit awards acknowledge the accomplishments of Foreign Service high school seniors at home and abroad. Winners are determined by scores given in the following categories: personal essay; extra-curricular activities; rigor of classes taken in high school; two letters of recommendation; standardized test scores; grade point average and any special circumstances. From this pool of applicants, a token award is provided to the student who has written the most compelling essay.

Art Merit applicants apply only in one of the following categories: Creative Writing, Performing Arts, Musical Arts, or Visual Arts. Only one award at $2,500 is made and possibly up to two $1,000 Honorable Mention awards are made across all categories. Applicants submit an application, essay, two letters of recommendation, transcripts (to only verify a minimum 2.0 GPA) and their art submissions as described in each category.

Students may also submit an application to be considered for a $2500 Community Service Award for their volunteer activities in their local community.

Volunteers from the Foreign Service community judge the winners. For AFSA membership information, call (202) 944-5525 or visit Finally, click here to learn how AFSA scores and selects the winners of its Merit Awards.

Need-Based Financial Aid Scholarship Program Overview

Awards range from $3,000 to $5,000. Approximately 60 awards totaling about $260,000 are made each year. Eligible applicants include Foreign Service undergraduate college students entering their freshman, sophomore and junior years. Funding of these awards come from AFSA Annual and Perpetual Scholarships, the Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW), and DACOR Bacon House Foundation, trusts, and an AFSA Scholarship Fund Endowment withdrawal. AFSA uses the scholarship application, evaluation and management system called Community Force to manage this program (

All applicants who apply are not guaranteed an AFSA scholarship as the financial need of the family are factored into these awards as detailed in the next two sections.

Financial Aid Selection Process – In addition to submitting an application and transcripts, applicants must show financial need in order to be eligible for AFSA Financial Aid Scholarships. A family completes the College Scholarship Service (CSS) PROFILE at The PROFILE output, called the Financial Needs Analysis Report (FNAR) is then available to AFSA. AFSA's CSS PROFILE code is 0540. Each student needs their own PROFILE each year.

The FNAR contains financial information (assets and income) on the family and applicant from the prior year. AFSA aid decisions are based on the need of the family, the amount of total funds available to award that year, and the number of students applying. The applicants are ranked according to need. Students with greater need receive higher awards. AFSA Financial Aid awards are sent directly to the applicant's college or university. Awards are disbursed in two installments: August and December to coincide with the traditional fall and spring college semesters. AFSA scholarships are awarded to reduce loan and work study burdens. AFSA's policy does not allow its awards to reduce any school grants or school scholarships the student is receiving.

2017 AFSA Academic Merit Awards, Art Merit Awards, and Community Service Award Application Timeline

  1. By November 14, 2017, Financial Aid, Academic Merit and Art Merit Application applications are available via a link on AFSA’s website (
  2. On February 6, 2017, is the deadline for applicants to submit all components on their AFSA 2017 Academic Merit Awards application, AFSA 2017 Art Merit Awards application, and/or AFSA 2017 Community Service Award application.
  3. By March 2, 2017, the Merit Awards judges have attended a judge orientation program and received the applications they will score.
  4. By April 3, 2017, the Merit Awards judges have attended a panel meeting to determine some of the Merit Awards winners and finalists.
  5. By April 19, 2017, the AFSA Scholarship Committee receives the finalists’ applications for scoring.
  6. On April 25, 2017 the AFSA Scholarship Committee meets to determine all Merit Award winners.
  7. By April 28, 2017 all applicants are notified of the results of the AFSA Merit Award Competition.
  8. May 19, 2017, is the deadline for Merit Award winners to submit photos, biographical information, and thank you letters.
  9. On July 7, 2017 (tentative), AFSA hosts an afternoon reception and ceremony in our Washington, D.C. office to honor the Merit Awards winners and bestow on local winners their awards. Other attendees include past AFSA award and scholarship recipients, donors, AFSA leadership, and Merit Award judges.
  10. By July 15, 2017, Merit Awards checks and certificates are sent to all winners pending submission of thank you letters, picture and biographical information for publication in AFSA’s Foreign Service Journal.
  11. In the July/August 2017 issue of The Foreign Service Journal, AFSA’s magazine in the AFSA News section, AFSA announces its 2017 Merit Award winners.

Please contact Lori Dec at (202) 944-5504 (ph), (email), or (202) 338-8244 (fax) with any questions.

2016/17 American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) Financial Aid Scholarship Application Timeline

  1. By November 24, 2016, Financial Aid application information is available via a link on AFSA’s website.
  2. By March 6, 2017, is the deadline for students to submit their AFSA 2017/18 Financial Aid Scholarship application and any required components.
  3. By April 21, 2017, students and parents are notified of the student’s AFSA Financial Aid Scholarship’s application status. For the students that are eligible, AFSA emails more paperwork to complete that is due Mary 26, 2017. For the students who do not meet the eligibility criteria, the application process stops.
  4. By May 26, 2017, students submit the additional paperwork referenced in Step 3.
  5. By June 19, 2017, AFSA has proposed the AFSA Financial Aid Scholarship amount to each student’s college and given the schools time to reply back on the accepting the proposed award regarding the school’s financial aid/outside scholarship policy.
  6. By July 7, 2017, the AFSA Scholarship Committee approves all students’ awards.
  7. By July 14, 2017, students and parents are notified of the amount and name(s) of the student’s AFSA Scholarship(s).
  8. By August 4, 2017, AFSA sends the first of two award checks to the student’s college for half the AFSA Scholarship to be applied toward the student’s 2017 Fall Semester expenses.
  9. By September 1, 2017, students submit a thank you letter(s) and photo which is forwarded to their scholarship donor(s).
  10. By September 30, 2017, all thank you letters and photos are shared with AFSA Scholarship donors.
  11. On November 15, 2017, the 2018/19 AFSA Financial Aid Scholarship Applications will be available. The submission deadline is March 6, 2018.
  12. By December 11, 2017, AFSA sends the second of two award checks to the student’s college for the remaining half of the year to be applied toward the student’s 2018 Spring Semester expenses.
  13. In the March 2018 of The Foreign Service Journal, AFSA’s magazine in the AFSANews section, the 2017/18 Financial Aid Scholarship recipients will be published.
  14. By March 6, 2018, the process starts all over again as this is the deadline for students submitting their AFSA 2018/19 Financial Aid Scholarship Applications and required components.

Please contact Lori Dec at (202) 944-5504 (ph) or (email) with any questions or go to