United States Senate Youth Program

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The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) is an annual high school scholarship competition sponsored jointly by the U.S. Senate and the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

After a testing and interview process, two high school student delegates are selected from each state, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense's overseas educational activities. Delegates are marked for their outstanding leadership abilities, strong commitment to their communities and public service, and impressive academics. In addition to a $10,000 scholarship, each delegate is awarded a week-long, all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. In Washington, the 104 student delegates are afforded unprecedented access to their federal government. Delegates will hear remarks from and meet directors of federal agencies, cabinet members, U.S. senators, justices of the Supreme Court, and the president. Delegates will also be given the opportunity to tour many Washington landmarks while staying at the historic Mayflower Hotel.


In 1962, Senators Everett Dirksen, Hubert Humphrey, Tom Kuchel, and Mike Mansfield introduced S.R. 324 to the Senate floor. The intention was to create a program for high school students that would "increase young Americans' understanding of the interrelationships of the three branches of government, the caliber and responsibilities of federally elected and appointed officials, and the vital importance of democratic decision making". The resolution was passed on May 17, 1962 and signed into law by President John F. Kennedy. In 1981, the resolution was amended to provide for the participation of the Department of Defense Education Activity.

The resolution specified that the program would be "supported by private funds with no expense to the federal government". Since the program's inception, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation has made available the necessary funds. Every year the Senate continues its partnership with the program by unanimous action through the Senate Rules Committee.

Today, the United States Senate Youth Program continues to provide an unforgettable Washington Week experience to some of the most politically active youth in the nation.

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