The Annual United States Senate Youth Program authorizes the selection of 104 student delegates, two from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Office of Dependents Schools (DoDDS). The delegates are immersed in Washington activities throughout their week-long stay, including visits to the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Supreme Court and the Pentagon. Delegates hear major addresses by senators, cabinet members and officials of the Department of State and the Department of Defense, as well as other federal departments. Additional activities include visits to the various Smithsonian Museums. The William Randolph Hearst Foundation pays all expenses for the weeklong Washington stay, including transportation, hotel accommodations and meals. In addition, each delegate is awarded a $5,000 college scholarship for undergraduate studies.
Each student applicant must be a permanent resident of the United States and currently a junior or senior enrolled in a public or private high school. The school must be located in the state in which either one of the applicant's parents or guardians legally reside. The student applicant must currently be serving in an elected capacity in any one of the following student government, civic or educational organizations:
A student attending a school located in a state other than the state of legal residence of his or her parents or guardians is not eligible.
Selection will be based on academic accomplishments, community service, knowledge of current American government issues and procedures and demonstrated qualities of leadership for the current school year.
In 1962, the United States Senate voted unanimously to endorse a nationwide youth program that would bring high school students to Washington, DC for a brief introduction to the functions of the federal government -- particularly the Senate.
The program was created and authorized by Senate Resolution 234 and has been reauthorized ever since. The original resolution specifiedthat the program be "supported by private funds with no expenseto the federal government". As a result, The William Randolph Hearst Foundation assumed financial support of the program and continues itssponsorship today. The Foundation states that "it is in the public interest to encourage these outstanding young people to continue their educational development".