The American Civil Liberties Union is offering 15 of the nation’s most committed, young civil liberties activists $7,000 each toward their first year in college.

Winners will also become part of an elite class of scholar-activists who will be invited to participate in ongoing activities with the ACLU, including the Youth Activist Institute training program at the ACLU National office in New York City.

We are looking for students who have stood up for civil liberties, tolerance, free speech, and equality! Past scholarship winners were recognized for a wide variety of civil liberties activism including:

  • Creating and teaching a class for middle school students that aimed to lower the risk that they would enter into the "school-to-prison" pipeline
  • Challenging a principle’s policy of punishing students for writing “gay pride” on their arms and notebooks
  • Advocating on behalf of Native American youth in the juvenile justice system
  • Producing and hosting a youth radio program focusing on LGBTQ rights and issues
  • Working with school officials to ensure that intelligent design would no longer be taught in the public schools
  • Starting an organization to get teen girls involved in the decisions that effect them, such as policies on sexual harassment and access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare

To qualify for the scholarship you must:

  • Have demonstrated a strong commitment to civil liberties through some form of activism
  • Be a high school senior planning on entering an accredited college or university as a full-time, degree-seeking student
  • Have attained a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale at the time of graduation
  • Not be a current ACLU plaintiff or witness in a legal case

To be considered for the ACLU Youth Activist Scholarship your local ACLU affiliate must nominate you for consideration. Please contact the Youth Scholarship Coordinator at the ACLU of Oklahoma, Tamya Cox, at for details about the scholarship.

Tamya Cox will explain the application process to you in detail, ask you some questions about your involvement in civil liberties activism and, if you qualify, send you scholarship application forms and counsel you on how to proceed.
Student Activist Scholarship flyer
Activists who complete the application forms will be judged on the following standards (in order of importance):

  • The strength and depth of the candidate’s contributions to civil liberties
  • Demonstrated leadership
  • The likelihood of the applicant continuing commitment to civil liberties in the future
  • Commitment to academic excellence
  • Demonstrated financial need

If you are passionate about protecting, and fighting for, the Constitutional rights of everyone contact your local ACLU affiliate and apply for the ACLU Youth Activist Scholarship!

Deadline for submissions is November 20, 2009.

Click here if you are the parent of a student activist.