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Explore America Scholarship Program Requirements

What's the Explore America Travel Scholarship experience like? Learn more about the tasks and documents awardees will need to submit before, during, and after travel, as well as information on how to receive travel stipends and free overnights.

Important Program Dates

  • Application Close Date: March 1, 2024 
  • Awardee Notification Deadline: March 30, 2024 
  • Required Document Deadline: April 22, 2024 
  • Virtual Program Period: March 15, 2024 – June 10, 2025 
  • Travel Period: June 10, 2024 – August 30, 2025 
  • Pre-Travel Fund/Dorm Requests Open Date: June 10, 2024 
  • Pre-Travel Fund/Dorm Request Close Date:  August 1, 2025 
  • Post-Travel Fund Request Close Date: August 30, 2025 

Pre-Travel Requirements

The following documents are required by all awardees:

  • Explore America Contract, Release, W-2 (this award is considered taxable income by the IRS), Financial Verification, Copy of ID

  • Completed Pre-Travel Survey

  • Submitted headshot and video profile as per HI USA guidelines

Required Documents are due by the Required Document Deadline (see above).
Failure to submit required documents on time will result of forfeiture of award.

All awardees must attend at least 2 virtual workshops provided by HI USA during the Virtual Program Period (see above).

Topics include:

  • Orientation (required),

  • Hostelling 101 – Discover why hotels are a great way to travel!

  • Experience the City – Dive into the the culture of your travel location!

  • Travel logistics – How to plan your trip from transportation to sites!

  • Packing – How to pack efficiently!

  • Creating Memories – How to take great photos and videos of your travel.

No travel is permitted until after the Virtual Program Period.

Awardees must request dorm accommodations and pre-travel funds ($1200) once the Travel Period beings.

Requests should be sent at least 45 days prior to travel to ensure funds arrive in advance. 

Travel funds may be used to prepare for your trip including transportation*, travel gear and other travel related items.
*awardees must book their own transportation

Funds are disbursed by check to the address on file.

The hostel location must match the location submitted in your application. If a change of location is required, it must be requested in advance and approved by HI USA 

Pre-Travel funds must be requested prior to the deadline. No funds will be released after the Pre-Travel Fund Request Close Date (see above). 

Requirements During Your Travel

Awardees may travel during the Travel Period (see above).

While visiting our hostel locations awardees should participate in the activities held at the hostel and explore the local community.

Awardees must post two (2) videos and two (2) images to Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok and/or Facebook as per the HI USA Guidelines and tag @hiusa and/or #exploreamericahiusa 

Travel must be completed by the end of the Travel Period (see above). Failure to complete travel by the deadline will result in forfeiture of award, and all disbursed funds must be returned to HI USA.

Post-Travel Requirements

Once travel is completed, awardees must submit images and videos with the request for post-travel funds ($300). 

Awardee will need to record a post-travel impact video and write an impact statement as per HI USA guidelines. Awardees must also complete a post-travel survey. 

The post-travel request includes an upload of travel images and videos along with the impact video and statement. 

Funds are disbursed by check to the address on file. 

Post-travel funds must be requested prior to the deadline. No funds will be released after the Post-Travel Fund Request Close Date (see above).

After everyone has returned from their travels, the awardees will participate in a final virtual program! Awardees can share insights gained from their travels (and discuss their future travels now that you’ve been inspired!)

We will also discuss ways to stay engaged with HI USA.

Award Changes, Cancellations, and Forfeiture

Award changes must be submitted to HI USA in writing in advance. Any changes to the award are subject to approval by HI USA.

Awardees may cancel the award at any time in writing. As long as no travel has commenced and all disbursed fund have been returned to HI USA, the awardee is eligible to apply for the program at a future time. Failure to meet the cancellation requirements will make awardees ineligible for future participation.

Awardees will forfeit the award if they submit false or misleading information or fail to complete the required tasks by the specific deadlines. Forfeiture of award means that no travel will be permitted and all disbursed funds must be returned to HI USA.

Reservation of Rights

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

Still have questions? Contact scholarships@hiusa.org