Scholarships Descriptions, Timelines and Tips

Academic Merit, Art Merit Award and Community Service Program Overview

In 2018, AFSA will award 31 one-time awards of $3,500 and two honorable mention awards of $2,000 to high school senior children 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. One award at $3,500 is given and up to four honorable mention awards of $500 to $1,500 are made across all categories. Applicants submit an application, essay, two letters of recommendation, transcripts (to only verify a minimum 2.75 GPA) and their art submissions as described in each category.

Students may also apply to be considered for a Community Service Award for their volunteer activities in their local community. One $3,500 award and two $2,000 honorable mention awards will be given in 2018.

Volunteers from the Foreign Service community judge the winners. For AFSA membership information, call (202) 338-4045 or visit Finally, click here to learn how AFSA scores and selects the winners of its Merit Awards.

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 comes 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. Applications are handled by International Scholarship & Tuition Services (

Applicants are ranked according to the financial need of the family. Students with greater need receive higher awards. Not all applicants will receive 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.

2018 AFSA Academic Merit Awards, Art Merit Awards, and Community Service Award Application Timeline

  1. By January 10, 2018, Financial Aid, Academic Merit and Art Merit Application applications are available via a link on AFSA’s website (
  2. March 29, 2018, is the deadline for applicants to submit all components on their AFSA 2018 Academic Merit Awards application, AFSA 2018 Art Merit Awards application, and/or AFSA 2018 Community Service Award application.
  3. By March 29, 2018, the Merit Awards judges have attended a judge orientation program and received the applications they will score.
  4. By April 10, 2018, the Merit Awards judges have attended a panel meeting to determine some of the Merit Awards winners and finalists.
  5. By April 19, 2018, one judge from each panel has met together to select the additional winners.
  6. On April 25, 2018 the AFSA Scholarship Committee meets to determine all Merit Award winners.
  7. By April 28, 2018 all applicants are notified of the results of the AFSA Merit Award Competition.
  8. May 19, 2018, is the deadline for Merit Award winners to submit photos, biographical information, and thank you letters.
  9. On July 13, 2018, Merit Award winners and their friends and families are invited to receive their awards at the annual Youth Awards Ceremony at Main State. Other attendees include donors, AFSA leadership, and Merit Award judges.
  10. By July 15, 2018, 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 2018 issue of The Foreign Service Journal, AFSA’s magazine in the AFSA News section, AFSA announces its 2018 Merit Award winners.

Please email with any questions.

2018/19 American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) Financial Aid Scholarship Application Timeline

  1. By January 10, 2018, Financial Aid application information is available via a link on AFSA’s website.
  2. March 29, 2018, is the deadline to submit the Financial Aid Scholarship application and any required components.
  3. By the end of May, 2018, notifications are sent to recipients and applicants not selected to receive an award via email. For recipients, an Acceptance link will be displayed on the home page at following the notification.
  4. By July 1, 2018, any changes to the recipient’s college/university and/or mailing address should be made to the Profile Page at
  5. In early August, checks will be issued to each recipient’s mailing address and made payable to the institution on the profile page at One check will be mailed in the fall with funds for the entire academic year. The school will apply half for the fall semester and hold the other half for the spring semester.
  6. By September 1, 2018, students submit a thank you letter(s) and photo which is forwarded to their scholarship donor(s).
  7. By September 30, 2018, all thank you letters and photos are shared with AFSA Scholarship donors.
  8. By December 11, 2018, 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 2019 Spring Semester expenses.
  9. In the March 2019 of The Foreign Service Journal, AFSA’s magazine in the AFSA News section, the 2018/19 Financial Aid Scholarship recipients will be published.

Please email with any questions or go to