Voyager Scholarship: Obama-Chesky Scholarship for Public Service

Website: Obama Foundation


An increasingly globalized world needs young leaders who can bridge divides and help solve our biggest challenges together. The Voyager Scholarship was created by the Obamas and Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO, to help shape such leaders. Even though they come from different backgrounds, both the President and Brian believe that exposure to new places and experiences generates understanding, empathy, and cooperation which equips the next generation to create meaningful change.

This scholarship gives college students financial aid to alleviate the burden of college debt, meaningful travel experiences to expand their horizons, and a network of mentors and leaders to support them.

The scholarship provides (see more extensive details):

  • Up to $50,000 in financial aid
  • A $10,000 stipend and free Airbnb housing for a summer work-travel experience
  • 10-year travel stipend of $2,000/year
  • Annual fall summit
  • Network of leaders

This scholarship program is looking for young people from every corner of the US who share a curiosity about the world and the conviction to want to make positive change within it—just like its founders. Students should have a passion for helping others, experience serving in or building community, and an expansive view of what’s possible through public service.

Applicants must meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

  • 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. Eligible students are:
    1. Finishing sophomore year in Spring
    2. Or transferring from a two-year to a four-year college for their junior academic year next 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. The program has 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.
  • 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)

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.

Please see eligibility full requirements for additional details & FAQs.

Student Type
  • sophomore
  • junior
Citizen Type
  • US Citizen
  • Permanent Resident
  • Undocumented

Apply online at

Application materials include:

  • Information about education, work, public service experiences, leadership program experience and other activities
  • Brief information about your public service path (250 character maximum): If chosen as a Voyager Scholarship recipient, tell us about the issue or field you’re interested in exploring during the program.
  • 2-minute video on the topic: What gives you hope for the future? How does public service fit into your vision for that future? How does connection and understanding play a role in this vision? How will this program help?
  • Short response essays: 500 character maximum
    • If you are chosen as a Voyager Scholarship recipient, what would you like to focus on during your Summer Voyage? What are you hoping to learn? How can travel and exposure to new experiences help with these goals?
    • When was the last time your perspective changed? Who or what changed your perspective? How did this shape the type of impact you want to make in the future?
    • What values motivate you? As you look back on challenges, what did you learn and how did those values guide you?
    • Tell us about an experience in your life when you created positive change within a community. Describe the experience: What problem did you address? What community did you serve? What was the impact? How did this experience shape your view of public service?
    • Please describe how and when any unusual family or personal circumstances have affected your achievement in school, your work experience, or your participation in school and community activities.
  • Additional essays: 1000 character maximum
    • What’s a problem that you’d like to solve? How would the world be different if it were solved? How would you use creativity, cooperation, and a shared vision to solve this? How are you already having an impact? 
    • Based on the vision you shared in your previous response, what would you like to accomplish one year after graduation? What would success look like five years after graduation? How will you collaborate with others to get this done?
  • Financial information

As part of your application, you must also upload the following:

  1. A current, complete transcript of grades. Grade reports are not accepted. Transcripts must display:
    • Student name
    • School name
    • Grades and credit hours for each course
    • Term in which each course was taken
  2. A copy of pages one and two of the most recently filed 1040 form used to complete the financial section of the application.
    • If you are claimed as a dependent, please supply financial information and the tax form from your parent(s) or guardian(s).
    • If you are independent, please supply financial information and the tax form for yourself.
Contact Information

Please see the very helpful FAQs, which answer most questions.

Please reach out to Scholarship America at for additional questions.