Is the ACLU National Advocacy Institute still happening?

  • Yes, the ACLU National Advocacy Institute is still happening! However, in light of the current Covid-19 pandemic and out of concern for the health of our participants and staff, we will now be holding the Institute virtually. Both the High School Program and College and Community Program will run simultaneously.

What are the new dates for the ACLU National Advocacy Institute Virtual Program?

  • The ACLU National Advocacy Institute Virtual Program (both the High School Program and the College and Community programs will run from Sunday, July 19th - Friday, July 24th, 2020
  • Note: some program components taking place over the preceding and following weeks. Please check back at for more details. (We’re working on this now and will update the website ASAP.)

What will the virtual program look like? 

  • The ACLU Advocacy Institute will be moving to a virtual format for the summer of 2020. Our program staff will ensure that that your days will be interactive and engaging, and that the core and quality of the experience will be maintained. You'll spend your week immersed in a blend of online lectures, activities, and small group discussions involving more than 100 ACLU and other experts. Details of your program curriculum will be made available in the coming weeks as we work to reshape the curriculum for remote instruction.

Will the ACLU National Advocacy Institute tuition fee change now that the program is being offered virtually?

  • Yes, the program tuition fee is now $250. The new tuition fee covers all planning, programming, curriculum, and instruction costs. Scholarships are available for students who qualify.

If I’m already enrolled in the Institute, will I automatically be signed up for the virtual program? 

  • All participants will receive a survey via email with more information on how to confirm your participation in the virtual program by May 15th. If you already completed your enrollment for the in-person Institute and paid a deposit, we will transfer both to the virtual program once you confirm that you plan to attend the virtual program. If you are no longer able to participate, tuition payments will be refunded. 

I have paid in full, how do I receive a refund for the balance over the new program tuition? Can I donate my remaining balance to the ACLU to support a low-income student?

  • All participants will receive a survey via email with response requested by May 15th on how you can opt-in for the virtual program or cancel your enrollment. At that time, you will have the option to receive a refund or donate your payments to support another student in need of financial assistance.


What is the application process for the ACLU High School Program?

  • The application is now open and can be found here. Each applicant is asked to provide contact and demographic information, and answer a short essay prompt. We encourage students to apply as soon as possible. Space is limited and priority is given to students who apply during the Early Decision and Priority Decision rounds.

Who Can Apply?

  • High school-aged students who are 15-18* years old are welcome to apply. (*You must have completed one year of high school by July 2020 to be eligible. The graduating class of 2020 is encouraged to apply).
  • Students currently enrolled as college freshmen and higher should apply for the College and Community Program.

What is the admissions deadline?

  • The admissions process for the program is built around three application deadlines: Early Decision, Priority Decision, and Regular Decision
    • Virtual Decision: Applications are due July 1st and successful candidates with be notified by July 15th.

    • During this challenging time, we have heard from many students who have requested additional time to complete their applications. As a result, we are now extending application deadlines through July 1st. 

How many students will be accepted to the ACLU High School Program?

  • The ACLU plans to accept between 1500 - 1800 highly qualified candidates to participate in the High School Program.

Are scholarships available?

  • Yes, the ACLU is committed to providing full and partial scholarship opportunities for students who qualify based on family income. Students must apply for financial aid within the program application found here. Students will receive their program admission decision and financial aid decision at the same time.

How would you describe a highly qualified participant?

  • The ACLU High School Program is looking for students who demonstrate a keen interest in civil liberties issues and social justice advocacy. Students are not required to have previous familiarity with civil liberties issues or advocacy methodologies (and those students who are already deeply immersed in civil liberties issues/advocacy will have a unique opportunity to deepen their skill-set and expand their organizing network).

Who can I contact with application or scholarship questions?


Can you tell me more about the student experience during the ACLU High School Program?

  • The High School Program will prepare participants for lifelong engagement in grassroots organizing, professional advocacy, and (legal) activism. Join alum of the ACLU Advocacy Institute, as well as other participants with a passion for campus and community organizing, in a program that will build advocacy skills, enhance knowledge of civil liberty and social justice issues, and expose students to internships and career opportunities in public policy, law, communications, and social impact work.

Who should I contact with any questions or concerns before and during the ACLU High School Program?

  • For any concerns leading up to the program or while your child is at the program, please email


How much does the ACLU High School Program cost?

  • The program tuition fee is now $250. The new tuition fee covers all planning, programming, curriculum, and instruction costs. Scholarships are available for students who qualify.

How is payment made for the ACLU High School Program?

  • After acceptance to the program, the ACLU team will reach out via email with additional information to register and make payment. 

How can participants raise funds for their program tuition?

  • Participants can raise money by crowdfunding online. Participants can create a GoFundMe page and remind friends and family via social media to help support their attendance to the program.

When are payments due?

  • Payments are due 1 week after your acceptance into the program. An email will be sent out to students with more information regarding payments and deadlines.

Can I set up a payment plan?

  • No. Upon acceptance please pay tuition before the deadline given to students via email. Please contact for questions.

Are payments refundable?

  • Payments are fully refundable through July 15, 2020.

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