Youth Scholarships

The VFW is dedicated to promoting patriotism and investing in our future generation. If you are a democracy-loving high school student interested in a $30,000 college scholarship or a patriotic middle school student interested in winning $5,000, these scholarships may be for you.

VOD winner

Voice of Democracy

Established in 1947, our Voice of Democracy audio-essay program provides high school students with the unique opportunity to express themselves in regards to a democratic and patriotic-themed recorded essay. Each year, nearly 40,000 9-12 grade students from across the country enter to win their share of $2.1 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the program. 

The national first-place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school. A complete list of other national scholarships range from $1,000-$16,000, and the first-place winner from each VFW Department (state) wins a minimum scholarship of $1,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. Want to apply? Read the rules and eligibility requirements, then download and complete the 2019-20 entry form. All student entries must be submitted to a sponsoring local VFW Post by midnight, Oct. 31

The 2019-20 theme is: 
What Makes America Great


About the 2018-19 winner ...

Christine Troll, a senior home-school student from Somerset, Pa., was named the 2018-19 Voice of Democracy first-place winner. Christine's speech on the theme, "Why My Vote Matters," won her a $30,000 college scholarship. Christine was sponsored by VFW Post 554 and its Auxiliary in Somerset, Pa. Watch as Christine delivered her winning speech.

Want to catch up on everything that happened this year? You can watch the Parade of Winners ceremony from the 2019 VFW Legislative Conference, see this year's complete list of winners, or listen to the winning essay from your state. 

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Patriots Pen winner

Patriot's Pen

Each year more than 132,000 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest. The national first-place winner wins $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. The first-place winner from each state competes for national awards totaling $55,000, with each first-place state winner receiving a minimum of $500 at the national level. 

The essay contest encourages young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300- to 400-word essay, expressing their views based on a patriotic theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief. Want to apply? Read the rules and eligibility requirements, then download and complete the 2019-20 entry form. All student entries must be submitted to a sponsoring local VFW Post by midnight, Oct. 31.

The 2019-20 theme is: 
What Makes America Great


About the 2018-19 winner ...

Daniel Rodriguez, a sixth-grade student from Nogales, Ariz., was named the 2018-19 Patriot's Pen first-place winner. His essay on the theme, "Why I Honor the American Flag," won him a $5,000 award. Daniel was sponsored by VFW Post 2066 in Nogales, Ariz.

Watch as Daniel delivered his winning essay, or see the complete list of 2019 national winners.

Attention Teachers! 

NASSP Logo

The National Association of Secondary School Principals has placed this program on the NASSP National Advisory List of Contests and Activities for 2019-20. We thank all of America's teachers and youth leaders for the time, effort and commitment they invest in our young people each year. We have a number of ways in which to assist you in helping to ensure your students get a head start on their future.


Get Acquainted with VFW's Programs


National Scholarship Programs Brochure

 

 

 

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