Applying for a Scholarship

Our 2023 Scholarship Period Has Ended

Access our 2023 award press release here.

To be notified when the application period for 2024 is officially open, join our mailing list here. You can also find general information about our scholarship process below.

The Scholarship Application Process

The Highlights Foundation offers scholarships to our programs, awarded on a yearly basis.

In addition to General Scholarships, there are a number of Special Scholarships in support of specific recipients or workshops, and Named Funds honoring those who have had a significant impact on children’s literature. You can find out more about these on our scholarship list.

Awards are based on the following criteria, evaluated via the application:

  • Seriousness of purpose, including time and effort devoted to craft.
  • Talent displayed via a writing or art sample.
  • Financial need.

Applicants apply for specific named scholarships (see list here), or our General Scholarship program. Recipients use their scholarship toward a Highlights Foundation workshop or personal retreat, depending on their award.

Terms & Conditions

  1. Applicants are encouraged to apply only once per year.
  2. Travel is not typically included as part of scholarships, though we have restricted funds available to offer on a limited basis during the application window. Ten travel stipends of $500 each will be awarded during this scholarship period, and there is a place on the application to let us know if a travel stipend is helpful.
  3. 2023 Scholarship recipients can choose the workshop or retreat that matches their interests and their award during the 2023 or 2024 program seasons.
  4. Whole Novel Scholarship awards are made during this process, but they have separate scholarship funds and you must denote your interest in them on your application. Funds will be awarded specially for Whole Novel programs.
  5. While scholarships can be used for applicable programs, participation is still subject to the availability of the course (i.e. recipients should sign up early to reserve their seats and ensure availability).
  6. In a case where a course requires an application or questionnaire for acceptance/registration, scholarship recipients may still need to complete those requirements. Information will be made available at the time of course registration.

For questions (including help if you have trouble submitting your application), contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Where do we go to access scholarship information?

Details about scholarships (including scholarships available and information about applying for and supporting scholarships) can be found here.  You can apply here.

If I apply for a certain type of scholarship, will I also be considered for other types of scholarships?

When you apply, you’ll be asked to select the type of scholarship for which you’d like to be considered:  

  • an in-person workshop scholarship (for workshops held at our retreat center),  
  • an online workshop scholarship (for our online courses),  
  • a personal retreat scholarship (for solo retreat time at our retreat center),  
  • or a Whole Novel workshop scholarship (specifically for use on your choice of one of our Whole Novel workshops). 

You can only choose one type, and you will only be considered for the type of scholarship you choose.  As such, please choose carefully according to your goals and what workshop type you’d like to and would be able to attend. 

You may denote your interest in and qualifications for more than one special scholarship via your application.  Learn about these various scholarships here to make your application as accurate as possible. 

You may only submit one application during the scholarship period. 

Are travel costs/stipends included with in-person scholarships and personal retreats?

In general, travel costs are not included for in-person scholarships and personal retreats unless otherwise noted.   

However, ten travel stipends of $500 each will be awarded during the scholarship period.  Please denote your interest in one of these travel stipends when you apply.   

If you are awarded a travel stipend with your in-person workshop or personal retreat scholarship, you will be notified at the time the scholarship is awarded. 

Will the application save as you go so that you can work on it in a few sessions?

No, the application does not save as you work. It is recommended that you fill it out in one go, or have the answers ready to copy and paste into the proper fields.

I am having technical issues with the application. Where can I get help?

If you are having any difficulties, please contact us via our website here.

Who Can Apply?

Can people who live outside the US apply?

Yes!  Everyone is welcome to take our courses and apply for scholarships regardless of location.  If you are international and applying for an in-person scholarship, please be aware that most scholarships do not include transportation to our retreat center or cover travel costs. 

Are all scholarships trans-inclusive, including those noted as “women”? 


Are scholarships only for pre-published people? Or will published authors and illustrators and others be considered?

Anyone is welcome to apply for a scholarship, published or unpublished. Some named scholarships are specific to where a person is on their creative journey, but many are not. 

Does the eligibility requirement for unpublished writers apply to children’s writing, children’s books, or any kind of publishing?

Anyone can apply for scholarships, but the seriousness of purpose aspect of consideration for the scholarships is related to writing for children/young adults. There is space on the application to tell us about your general background as well.

Can I use a sample from an adult novel in my application, if I have not yet written anything for children?

Yes. The seriousness of purpose aspect of consideration for the scholarships is related to writing for children/young adults, but there is space on the application to tell us about your general background.

Do you need to have a complete draft of a work in progress to receive a scholarship?

Nope! Apply no matter where you are in your creative journey. You only have to be serious in your passion. 

What if a person has been lucky enough to participate in a Highlights Foundation workshop already?

We’d love to see you again! If you’ve attended a workshop (or even if you’ve received a scholarship before), you can still apply. There is a space on the application to note if you have previously been offered support.

Financial Need

Are scholarships only need-based? If not, how important is financial need in determining how scholarships are awarded?

Financial need is an important part of the equation for scholarship selection.  Seriousness of purpose, talent, financial need, and your connection to a named scholarship are all taken into consideration by the scholarship committee. 

In terms of financial need, what is the maximum income to be considered?

There is no maximum income to be considered; however, financial need is seriously considered. While some organizations have a merit-only scholarship, the Highlights Foundation scholarship program is merit plus financial need. 

Do you need to show proof of income?

There is a question asking for your adjust gross income (AGI) from line 11 of tax form 1040. It is not required, but it does help. There is also a narrative question allowing you to describe your financial need.  

For income, do we include our spouse’s income or just our own?

Yes. Please include your spouse’s income. Some people make note of this in the narrative section about their financial need.


Are the personal retreats funds for a particular time frame (3-day, one week or more)?

Most personal retreat scholarships are for three nights. There are a couple that are longer. It depends on the personal retreat scholarship you are awarded (see the scholarship’s page on our website for details).  If you want to make your personal retreat longer than what is awarded, you could add extra time onto the retreat at our regular cost, if there is space available.

How long (on average) are in person workshops? Do they include meals?

It varies by workshop, but most are 3-5 days long. Meals and lodging are included; travel expenses are generally not included unless otherwise noted.

What are the safeguards on campus now with the current COVID environment?

Our most up to date protocols can be found here.

2023 Timeline and Deadlines

When did the scholarship application period open for 2023?

The 2023 Highlights Foundation scholarship application went live on Monday, January 23, 2023. 

When is the application deadline?

The deadline for submitting an application was Friday, February 10, 2023. 

When will awards be announced?

Awards were made during the first week of April 2023.  We will announce winners publicly in mid-April.

The workshop I want to take starts before April 2023.  Can I still apply for or use a scholarship toward it?

If you were awarded a scholarship prior to 2023, and you haven’t used it yet, you may use your scholarship toward a course this year.  Awards made in 2023 will only be valid for courses that start after the scholarship is awarded. 

I want to take a workshop that is already on the course calendar, but it’s scheduled to start after 2023 scholarships will be awarded.  If I register for it now to save my spot in the course, and am then awarded a scholarship after I register, can I still use the scholarship for the workshop?

Workshops/courses are filled on a first come, first served basis.  If a workshop is already filled, we cannot open additional spaces to accommodate scholarship winners if they are not already registered for the course. 

If you would take a workshop regardless of whether or not you receive a scholarship, feel free to register for it.  If you receive a scholarship, we’ll be happy to refund monies paid so you can use your scholarship on that course. 

Please note: After awards are announced, we will provide all winners with a link to all workshops that are currently accepting registrations. As noted on this application page, awards made in 2023 will be valid for the rest of calendar year 2023, and calendar year 2024.  

As such, winners are not required to use awards immediately.  However, if a scholarship winner wants to take a course that is already accepting registrations, we highly recommend telling us as soon as possible.  After awards are made, we will communicate the process for using a scholarship on a course to all winners in order to facilitate this process.

Workshops for Writers & Illustrators

> Online
> In-Person
> On-Demand (Self-Paced Online)

New to the Highlights Foundation? Try these:

About Children's Publishing | The Whole Novel Workshop | Summer Camp


Need help deciding on a workshop?  Ask an ambassador!

Visiting Our Campus

Our campus (The Barn at Boyds Mills) is tucked away in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.  It's a few hours from both New York City and Philadelphia, but worlds away from everyday life.

Line drawing of the Barn at Boyds Mills

Our Mission in Action

Equity & Inclusion in Kidlit

The Highlights Foundation positively impacts children by amplifying the voices of storytellers who inform, educate, and inspire children to become their best selves.  Learn more about our impact.

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