Explore America Travel Scholarship

Program Details

Eligibility Requirements
Application Process
Local Communities Served
Program Requirements
Award Distribution
Selection Process
Number of Scholarships
Awardees Announced
Award Cancellations

Eligibility Requirements:

To be considered for the Explore America Scholarship, candidates must:

  • Be 18 - 30 years of age
  • Be a permanent, legal resident of the USA
  • Reside or attend school in one of the select metropolitan areas where HI USA is offering the Explore America Scholarship:
  • Have a strong desire and motivation to experience other people and cultures through hostelling
  • Plan to take a 5-10 day trip to a HI USA Hostel(s) within the 50 United States between February 15, 2017 and January 15, 2018
  • Employees and relatives of HI USA and its licensed facilities are ineligible to receive an Explore America Travel Scholarship.

Application Process:

  • Complete an Explore America Application for your location.
  • Provide 2 personal references
  • Deadline: The deadline for submitting the Explore America Scholarship is November 15, 2016.
  • Please Note: Applicants may only submit one application per calendar year. Applicants who are not selected may reapply in the future. However, prior scholarship recipients are ineligible to reapply.

Local Communities Served:

Applicants must reside or attend school in one of the select metropolitan areas where HI USA is offering the Explore America Scholarship:

IL - Chicagoland

  • Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, McHenry County, Will County

TX - Austin

  • Travis County, Bastrop County, Blanco County, Burnet County, Caldwell County, Hays County, Williamson County

TX - Houston

  • Harris County, Brazoria County, Chambers County, Fort Bend County, Galveston County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Waller County

Program Requirements:

As a scholarship recipient, the candidate agrees to the following:

  • Travel to a HI USA Hostel(s) within the 50 United States. Travel may include more than one HI USA hostel.
  • Stay at a HI USA hostel(s) for a duration of at least 5 consecutive days, but no more than 10 consecutive days.
  • Complete travel between February 15, 2017 and January 15, 2018.
  • Use the online scholarship management application to submit required documentation.
  • By January 10, 2017, provide required documentation indicating official acceptance of the award. Documentation includes contract, release, W-9, ID, photo and bio.
  • At least 30 days prior to travel, complete a pre-travel survey and the pre-travel funds request for the first $250 funds disbursement. Processing can take up to 21 days.
  • During travel, post at least three photos and/or status updates to Instagram and/or Twitter using the hashtag #exploreamerica and tagging @HIUSA.
  • Within 30 days of return, provide a report of your travels as per HI USA guidelines, submit at least three additional photos, and complete a post-travel survey after returning from travel and before the second $250 funds disbursement.
  • Failure to complete the Program Requirements by the specified deadlines can result in forfeiture of award.

Award Distribution:

  • The total amount of the award is $500. The award is split in two equal installments of $250. Please allow up to 21 days to process fund requests.
  • The first installment of $250 is awarded before travel upon completion of the pre-travel requirements.
  • The second installment of $250 is awarded after travel upon completion of post-travel requirements.
  • Recipients will work with HI USA staff to book their 5-10 consecutive overnights at HI USA hostels (subject to availability).
  • Under certain conditions, this scholarship may be taxable income. For further details, please review the IRS Taxable Scholarship qualifications here.
  • Scholarship funds are to be used solely for the travel opportunity as outlined in the scholarship contract.

Selection Process:

A scholarship committee of local residents will score and select awardees from completed, eligible applications based on the candidate’s ability to:

  • Present a compelling case on why/how the proposed travel will benefit him/herself and others
  • Convey a genuine interest in enhancing intercultural understanding through travel
  • Demonstrate financial need

Number of Scholarships

  • Each location will award two scholarships for a total of six awards in 2017.

Awardees Announced:

  • All applicants will be informed of the local committee's decision by December 18, 2016.

Award Cancellations:

  • If travel is not completed by January 15, 2018, the scholarship is forfeited.
  • Recipients must officially cancel the scholarship using the cancellation form.
  • If a scholarship recipient cancels his/her award, any funds released must be returned to HI USA immediately. HI USA has the right to pursue funds not used for the intended purpose.
  • Prior applicants who were awarded a scholarship but were unable to use the scholarship are eligible to reapply for the Explore America Scholarship. Applications from prior awardees will only be considered if awardee officially cancelled the award, has reimbursed any of the scholarship funds that were paid in anticipation of travel, and did not utilize any awarded overnights.

We reserve the right to modify this agreement and any policies of the HI USA Explore America Travel Scholarship. Modification is effective upon posting to our website or distribution via email or convention mail.