Voice of Democracy Scholarship Program

Award Amount
Application deadline
Awarded By:

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)

Number of Awards & Eligibility: The number of awards offered varies annually. Awards are given at the local, district, state, and national levels.
In order to qualify, students must meet the following criteria:
  1. This award is for U.S. students.
  2. Must be a student in grades nine through twelve, who is enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States, its territories and possessions, or in an overseas U.S. military/civilian dependent school. Foreign exchange students and previous Voice of Democracy first-place state winners are ineligible.
  3. Must be 19 years of age or younger at time of application.
  4. Must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident.

In order to qualify, students must meet the following criteria:

Description: U.S. high school students in grades nine through twelve who are 19 years of age or younger are eligible for this scholarship. To apply, the applicant must write an essay on the theme listed on the Veterans of Foreign Wars website and record the reading of that essay; submit both essay and CD/flash drive to be considered for this scholarship.

Application requirements for the Voice of Democracy Scholarship Program are:

  • Essay
  • Entry form
Additional Information: The Voice of Democracy Scholarship Competition is an annual national audio essay contest that is designed to foster patriotism by giving high school students the opportunity to voice their opinions about their personal obligations as Americans, and address their responsibilities to our country. Applicants must win at the local level to advance to the district and state levels. Each department's first-place winner receives an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., plus the opportunity to compete for the national scholarship. If selected as a first-place state winner, the applicant has to have the consent of his/her parent/guardian and school to attend the Voice of Democracy National Finals in Washington, D.C. as a guest of the VFW National Organization. State winners who do not attend will forfeit all rights to compete in the national finals and will be replaced by their state's second-place winner.

Award Amount: The amount of each award varies annually. The first-place national award winner receives $30,000. The total amount designated for the entire program, including local, district, state, and national awards, is more than $2.5 million. All awards are non-renewable. All national scholarships are paid directly to the American university, college or vocational/technical school as selected by the recipient. All scholarship funding is held at VFW National Headquarters in escrow for 10 years from high school graduation. The funds, which are disbursed as needed, may be used for tuition, books, laboratory fees or other items relating specifically to the student's formal education. Clothing, room and board and pocket money are not considered authorized expenditures.  The total dollars awarded for this scholarship is $30,000.

Deadline Information:

Deadline for this scholarship is Monday, October 31, 2022

Deadline Information:

Deadline for this scholarship is Monday, October 31, 2022

Entry forms are available online on the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) website. The applicant must write and submit an essay on the current year's contest theme. The applicant must record his/her original essay on CD or flash drive. The recorded essay must be between three to five minutes (plus or minus five seconds). The applicant must submit a typed version of his/her recorded essay. The applicant must label the CD/flash drive and neatly typed essay with his/her name. All recordings must be in the applicant's own voice (hearing or speech impaired students should contact the Voice of Democracy National Office for special instructions), without music, special effects or background sounds. Songs and poetry are not acceptable. The applicant may not provide anything in the essay or recording that will identify him/her in any way. The entry form, written essay and recorded essay must be submitted to the applicant's local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Department by midnight on the deadline. No entries should be submitted to the VFW National Headquarters. The applicant should contact his/her local department for additional information. To find a department in his/her area, the applicant should should visit emem.vfw.org/findpost.aspx or look in the white pages of his/her local phone directory. The applicant may also call the VFW National Programs office during normal business hours at the number provided. The applicant may enter only one Voice of Democracy competition per year.
About Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW):
Contact Information: Kristin Harmer, Program Coordinator
Address: VFW Building 406 W. 34th St. Kansas City, Missouri 64111

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