An Update on Study Abroad Programs and Funding at AFS-USA

An Update on Study Abroad Programs and Funding at AFS-USA

As shared in this recent announcement from AFS-USA President Tara Hofmann, through generous support from the Speedwell Foundation, AFS-USA is positioned to award one million dollars in scholarship assistance for our flagship year, semester, and summer programs over the next year.

AFS-USA is committed to making studying abroad more accessible to high school students from all backgrounds who possess the unique qualities needed for success on an AFS transformative program. We also believe that studying abroad should not be contingent on personal finances, and we are dedicated to meeting the demonstrated financial need of all accepted applicants.

This transformation in our study abroad programs reflects our commitment to recruiting applicants who represent the diversity of our country, with removing cost as a barrier being a major step forward in our commitment to IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility).

Some key changes include:

  • To ensure that finances will no longer discourage students from starting their application, we will no longer require the payment of an application fee.
  • Applicants must demonstrate the Qualities of an AFSer, including flexibility, resilience, compassion, curiosity, and a willingness to contribute to ongoing dialogues and become lifelong active global citizens. Applicants will demonstrate these qualities through essay questions and an interview when applying for our prestigious scholarships and programs.
  • We have updated our website to reflect our new approach and our commitment to making study abroad programs accessible for all. This includes revisions to our Study Abroad and Scholarships webpages.
  • All applicants will now be required to obtain a recommendation from an educator at their high school. Not only will this step aid in the assessment of a student’s suitability for an AFS program but, as an added benefit, we seek to further engage educators in the general pursuit of global competence by providing resources and opportunities for their students and for the educators themselves.

While we are excited to share our new approach, we know there is still more work to be done in making study abroad more inclusive and in order to do that not only do we need the scholarship funding, but we have to promote our programs to more schools and communities across the United States. AFS-USA remains committed to furthering this endeavor. 

Coming soon, you will receive additional resources which will guide and assist you in promoting AFS study abroad and scholarship opportunities in your community. We’ll also be working to help ensure that you’re equipped to share more of the benefits available to the schools and the educational communities within your school district(s).

For now, we hope you find these first steps to be in a positive direction for our study abroad opportunities. We all know that more US students need to obtain the benefits afforded through an AFS experience, both for their own personal benefit as well as for the world in which we live. By alleviating the financial barriers, perhaps we can make a much greater impact and, over the coming years, see a greater number of lives being enriched by the AFS Effect!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions regarding these changes at

With much appreciation,

Caitlin Schneider
Jessica Robinson
Co-Chairs of the Study Abroad Advisory Group