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Using Road Scholarships to Support Your School Trip

Posted by Stephanie Kelly, High School Teacher and Instructional Coach on Mar 11, 2019 10:06:18 AM

NYC-Students_with_Hands_in_AirAffording student travel can be one of the biggest roadblocks for students and their families.  But did you know that teachers can apply for travel scholarships on behalf of their students?


One of NationsClassroom’s teacher trip leaders has been featured in the latest issue of the Student and Youth Travel Association’s (SYTA) publication Teach and Travel.  The article highlights Atkinson’s experience using SYTA student scholarships and the impact that access to travel has had on her students over the past 22 years.


California teacher and NationsClassroom trip leader Susan Atkinson has been taking her middle school students on a historic East Coast trip for the last 22 years.  

In the article in Teach and Travel magazine, she shares that one of her biggest tips for planning a school trip is to start planning early. Early planning, she explains, allows her families to start financially planning for the trip and also allows teachers the opportunity to apply for any need-based travel scholarships, like the SYTA Youth Foundation’s Road Scholarship Program.

The SYTA Youth Foundation (SYF) established the Road Scholarship program to provide financial support to students who are unable to afford the cost of school trips. Based on their belief that travel is essential for a complete education, it is SYF's goal to make a positive difference, through travel, in the young lives of our global citizens.


How to Apply

Unlike most other scholarships where the responsibility lies with the student to apply, student, the Roads Scholarship application must be submitted by an educator, program leader, or designated school official for students in grades K-12 and 18 years of age or younger.   The nominated student should meet the criteria within the following five categories: Achievement, Need, Initiative/Involvement, Service/Citizenship, and Connection.



  • Achievement: Accomplishment in the student/group's area of focus
  • Need: Financial, Cultural, Linguistic, Homelife hardship
  • Initiative/Involvement: Preparation financially and/or through enrichment activities
  • Service/Citizenship: Student citizenship within the classroom or community, Family service in military or as first-responder
  • Connection: Relevance to student/group's area of focus

The grants are vetted and approved through the SYF Board of Trustees


Impact of Student Travel


Atkinson explains how travel opportunities have impacted her students.  During her 22 years of taking students on school trips to the historic East Coast, she’s exposed her middle school students to colleges and universities like Juilliard and Georgetown.  She’s exposed her students to Broadway and theater, as well as other diverse experiences.

Atkinson explains that her students “...live in the rural Sierra foothills and the population of our area does not represent the diversity of the United States. For many of our student travelers, the East Coast trip is the first time they’ve had the chance to be on an airplane.  I’ve seen students gain confidence in themselves because of traveling.”


When to Apply for Road Scholarship


Application windows for the Road Scholarship have been announced for 2019-2020:


Application Periods:                                      Announcement Dates:

February 4, 2019 - March 15, 2019                  Week of April 15, 2019

October 1, 2019 - November 15, 2019             Week of December 16, 2019

February 3, 2020 - March 20, 2020                  Week of April 20, 2020


Atkinson concludes, “My hope is that students will realize that there are many opportunities out there for them beyond our own small community.”

If you’re interested in learning about more ways to pay for a school trip, check out our popular blog post Using Crowdfunding and Scholarships to Pay for a School Trip.


Topics: How to Pay for Student Trips

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