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Financial Aid and Scholarships

It is the mission of the Great Books Summer Program to create warm and lively communities of learning where free inquiry, reason, and civil discourse shape critical thinking skills.  Our unique combination of academic rigor and supportive communality gives literary-minded students the tools and the confidence to develop their own best thinking in preparation for college and beyond. 

To extend this opportunity to students who wish to participate but may lack the financial means, we, along with our mission partners, offer a number of scholarships to deserving students who qualify. 

In addition to each of the scholarships listed below, GBSP extends a limited amount of financial aid for our domestic (US) programs, through our relationship with the following sponsors and mission partners: Amherst College, Open Books Foundation, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, KIPP Charter Schools,  Achievement First, Schuler Scholar Program, Reach Prep, Red Cloud Indian School, Chicago Youth Programs, and Beacon Academy

Financial Aid for Summer 2020: 

Great Books offers limited Financial Aid opportunities for families that demonstrate significant financial need. At this time there is no financial assistance for our Oxford, Dublin, or Beijing programs.

The 2020 Financial Aid application cycle will open this fall. Complete Financial Aid applications will be due by 11:59 PM, EST, on March 11, 2020. Applicants will be notified about financial aid decisions by March 31, 2020.

General Financial Aid Instructions:

Families applying for Financial Aid must submit:

  1. A complete Financial Aid Application form. Instructions below.
  2. Copies of parent(s) 2018 signed Federal Income Tax Return form with documentation on all 2018 income (i.e. W-2, 1099, interest statements). If you are not required to file a 2018 tax return, please submit a statement to explain why and submit documentation of income. 
  3. A personal statement from the student in response to the following prompt: Write an essay describing your short- and long-term goals. How does GBSP fit into these goals? What do you hope to learn from GBSP?
  4. A parent statement describing any special financial circumstances, and why you feel Financial Aid should be awarded to your child. 
  5. A teacher nomination. Great Books will seek this nomination on your behalf using the information provided in the Financial Aid Application, or you may submit the nomination along with supporting materials.


Scholarships for Summer 2020: 

The Lewis-Sebring Scholarship

The two recipients of these one-week full scholarships to the Amherst Program or the Chicago Program are selected based on the criteria established by the Lewis-Sebring Family Foundation, which provides educational scholarships to deserving students from communities of color and low-income backgrounds to attend the Great Books Summer Program.

Please note that Lewis-Sebring Scholarship applicants must write a minimum 400-word essay in response to one of the following prompts:

  • 1. Write an essay describing a challenging experience, and how you overcame it. 
  • 2. Write an essay describing a leadership experience in your community.

Applicants who do not receive the Lewis-Sebring Scholarship will automatically be considered for General Financial Aid.

The Joseph W. Korner Memorial Scholarship

The recipient of this one-week full scholarship to the University of Chicago or Amherst College Program is selected based on the criteria established by the estate of Joseph W. Korner and The Open Books Foundation.  The scholarship will be awarded to a Chicago Public School high school student who demonstrates a love of learning and a desire to read and discuss ideas. To learn more about Joseph W. Korner and his commitment to learning, please click here. Please note that Joseph W. Korner applicants must write a minimum 400-word essay in response to the following prompt:

Write an essay describing the teacher from whom you've learned the most. What about that teacher's approach made their lessons meaningful?

Applicants who do not receive the Joseph W. Korner Memorial Scholarship will automatically be considered for General Financial Aid.

The Joseph J. Ellis Scholarship for American History

ESSAY BASED SCHOLARSHIP FOR THE AMHERST PROGRAM

Recipients for these two full one-week scholarships to the Amherst Program are selected based on a minimum 500-word essay in response to the following prompt:

Write about an important person in American history, and explain the role they played in that history. Further instructions can be found in the online Financial Aid Application. 

Applicants who do not receive the Ellis Scholarship will automatically be considered for General Financial Aid.

“I am honored and thrilled that the Great Books Summer Program has created these scholarships in my name,” said Ellis, who speaks at the program every Fourth of July. “These scholarships go to a cause that I believe is really worthy. The program is based on an elegantly simple idea—bringing bright kids together to read great works and classic texts, which is the closest thing to the sacred for me.”

“For the last ten years, Joseph Ellis has generously shared his time and expertise with our students, who look forward to his inspired talks about the founding of our country. We could not be more pleased to honor him by offering these scholarships in his name,” said David Ward, co-founder and President of the Great Books Summer Program.

For questions about financial aid or scholarships, please contact our Admissions Office at 1-866-480-7323 or via email.

Financial Aid Application Form instructions:

New to Great Books Summer Program?

1. Go to this link to set up your account.

2. Fill in your basic information (student contact information, parent contact information, home address).

3. Additional Information section:

  • -From the “How did you hear about us?” drop-down menu, select the entry that best describes how you learned about GBSP.
  • -In the box next to “Who did you hear about us from?” please type “Financial Aid Applicant.”

4. On the second page of the application, choose the session that works with your schedule. Note: this action does not sign you up for the program. 

5. At this point, you will be taken to the “checkout” page of the website where fees like “registration” and the full tuition will be shown. Please quit the application here. The information you’ve inputted so far will be saved.

6. Whichever email address was entered in the Parent Information section (with an asterisk) will receive a system-generated password from Campsite after these steps are completed. All correspondence will be made through the parent email address.

7. Within two business days, you will receive an email notifying you that your account is set up for you to apply for financial aid. 

8. To complete these steps, log into your account using the parent email address and the system generated password. Then click on the “Forms” tab in your user profile to access the General Financial Aid form, upload the General Financial Aid Essay, upload the Parent Statement, and upload the 2018 tax return. 

The only additional requirement is a Teacher Endorsement, which you can send to a teacher or school counselor through this link.


Requested a Brochure Previously or a Past Participant?

1. Log into your account to apply. 

-Note that you should have received an email with your access information. If you do not have this or have forgotten your password, you'll have an opportunity to reset.

2. You will be taken to your family profile in Campsite. From here, select "Enrollment" in the gray top navigation.

3. In the Enrollment section, choose the session that works with your schedule. Note: this action does not sign you up for the program. 

4. At this point, you will be taken to the “checkout” page of the website where fees like “registration” and the full tuition will be shown. Please quit the application here. The information you've inputted so far will be saved.

5. Within two business days, you will receive an email notifying you that your account is set up for you to apply for financial aid. 

6. To access these steps, log into your account using the parent email address and the system generated password. Then click on the “Forms” tab in your user profile to access the General Financial Aid form, upload the General Financial Aid Essay, upload the Parent Statement, and upload the 2018 tax return. 

The only additional requirement is a Teacher Endorsement, which you can send to a teacher or school counselor through this link.


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Give to Great Books Scholarships

Great Books is grateful for scholarship assistance provided by our friends at the Open Books Foundation. OBF is a non-profit that was founded in 2009 by a group of education advocates and Great Books Summer Program parents to support excellent summer learning opportunities for students in need.

To learn more about the Open Books Foundation, or to donate to Great Books scholarships, please visit their website.

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