The Voyager Scholarship: Obama-Chesky Scholarship for Public Service

The Voyager Scholarship helps students pursuing careers in public service by providing access to travel and education to rising Juniors who seek financial support to alleviate their student debt and take on opportunities that otherwise seem financially out of reach.

For full details, follow this link to the website for the The Voyager Scholarship: Obama-Chesky Scholarship for Public Service 

Here is what the scholarship offers:

  • Financial aid up to $50,000: Students will receive up to $25,000 per year in “last dollar” financial aid to cover remaining tuition and/or living costs for their junior and senior years of college. This last-dollar approach builds on other financial aid programs and helps ensure the students can pursue a career in public service and are not constrained by crushing student debt.
  • Summer Voyage: President Obama and Brian have different backgrounds, but share the fundamental belief and lived experience that exposure to new places and experiences broaden our horizons and redefine what we believe is possible. With a budget of $10,000, students will design their own summer voyage between their junior and senior year of college. The experience will allow students to pursue internships or mentorship opportunities anywhere in the world that will broaden their horizons and prepare them for careers in public service. Students will also be able to stay in homes on Airbnb using credits provided by Airbnb.
  • 10-year travel stipend: After graduation, Airbnb will provide the students with a $2,000 travel credit every year for 10 years, totaling $20,000. This will allow students to continue to broaden their horizons and forge new connections throughout their public service careers.
  • Fall Summit: Voyagers will be invited to an annual Fall Summit. This fall, the summit will include a meeting with President Obama, Brian Chesky, and other leaders. They will also get access to a network of other Voyagers and alumni with whom they can connect with at the summit and beyond.
  • A network of leaders: Throughout the program, students will be invited to an ongoing speaker series, giving them access to a network of leaders. This network of leaders will expose them to new areas of service and innovations happening in their fields. After graduation, they will join the Obama Foundation’s global community, providing them with Foundation resources and programming.

Here are the basic eligibility requirements for people applying to this program:

  • Plan to enroll full-time in their junior year of study at an accredited four-year college or university in the United States in Fall 2022. Eligible students are:
    • Finishing sophomore year in Spring 2022
    • Or transferring from a two-year to a four-year college for their 2022-2023 junior academic year
  • Have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, or equivalent
  • Have demonstrated a commitment to public service**
  • Plan to pursue a career in public service upon graduation
  • Be a United States (US) citizen, US permanent resident (holder of a Permanent Resident Card), or an individual granted deferred action status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA)

    **This scholarship allows for a broad definition of public service, which includes careers in government, non-profits or the private sector. A career in public service includes a range of occupations—from community organizing to social work and from entrepreneurship to the arts—all committed to solving our biggest challenges together.

More information is detailed on their website, but additional critical points are as follows:

  • Preference may be given to applicants with no or limited prior engagement with other leadership programs in their undergraduate experience. 
  • Students must demonstrate financial need to be considered for the program.
  • Scholarship America, which is administering the application and disbursing scholarships to selected students, uses a formula similar to that used by college financial aid offices (Federal Methodology), using information provided in the Financial Data section of the application.
  • This application does not require long essays, references, or affiliates. It does require a video essay, and several short-answer questions — components the II F&G office is equipped to advise on.