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YFU offers over 200 full and partial merit-based scholarships and needs-based financial aid to students every year.

To be considered for scholarship awards, students must meet the eligibility requirements listed on the individual Scholarship Information pages below and demonstrate characteristics like flexibility, tolerance and open-mindedness. In addition to the standard application and fee (if required), students also need to submit essay responses, a host family introduction letter and teacher recommendations by the scholarship deadline. Students can apply for multiple scholarships and pay only one fee.

Through the generosity of numerous corporations, governments, foundations and individuals, YFU awards more than $2.3 million in partial or full study abroad scholarships annually. Students are encouraged to consider all of their scholarship options and apply to as many as they qualify for by the December 1 scholarship application deadline!

Holcomb & Farnell Foreign Study Fund

YFU Scholarship Information Sheet

At a Glance

Application Deadline

Program Length

January 7

- Fall Semester

- School Year (summer departure)

Eligible Countries

Please refer to individual country pages for program duration and departure times.
* Previous language study may be required.


A note from Sharon Holcomb, fund sponsor:

People can be very different from you and still be good people.  That lesson, learned as a foreign exchange student, has shaped my life. Of course, many things have shaped my life, starting with loving parents, Olive and Dorman Holcomb. They made sure my brothers and I went to school, went to church, and were taken on many camping trips.  "We're not lost, we're exploring," became a family motto. Living in Germany with its great public transportation, I learned to go exploring without adults. Marriage to Fred Farnell and the opportunity to live with him in Texas, California, Ohio, and Japan as an Air Force spouse, has also given us lots of opportunity for "exploring."

I'm a firm believer in public schools and a firm believer in travel. Every child deserves a solid education enriched by positive experiences.

We're also shaped by the children in our lives.  For me they include big brothers, Dorman and Ward Holcomb and the little German children who became my brothers and sister, Arne, Ariane, Ole and Phil Eggert.  Most of all, Fred and I have been blessed by our own children, Matthew, Patrick, and Ariane Farnell. 

As Fred and I tried to decide what legacy we want to leave behind, giving young people the opportunity for foreign travel and study seems fundamental. The lesson that people can be very different from you and still be good people, is one that can shape lives and help bring peace to our world.  Our wish is that this gift does just that for years to come.

To read Sharon Holcomb's full testimonial about her scholarship and view additional family photos or to donate to this fund, please visit her fund page.

Scholarship Amount:

  • This is a $5,000 scholarship.


  • The Holcomb & Farnell Foreign Study Fund is awarded to a U.S. Public High School student with a GPA of 3.0 - 4.0
  • Sophomore or Junior standing at time of application
  • Must enroll in a semester or year long study abroad program (summer and short-term programs not eligible)
  • Must have at least one year of foreign language study or be a non-native English speaker
  • No previous participation in a study abroad program
  • Student must demonstrate financial need; please see link to the FACTS application below. FACTS is an independent, third party that assesses student eligibility for tuition assistance

Age Requirements:

  • Students must meet the age requirements listed on the individual country pages.

Complete Application Includes:

  • Complete Online YFU Application
  • Host Family Letter
  • Health Certificate
  • Parent-student agreement
  • School Certificate
  • 1 Teacher Recommendation
  • 3 Short Answer Essay Questions
  • 5 Candid photos
  • 1 Profile Picture (headshot)
  • Completed FACTS application (due date March 1), accessed here

Application Fees:

  • $75 Nonrefundable YFU Application Fee (paid directly to YFU)
  • $35 FACTS Application Fee to Assess Financial Need (paid directly to FACTS)

Scholarship Covers:

  • Round-trip airline travel (domestic & international)
  • Placement with a carefully selected host family
  • School Placement
  • Local pre-departure orientation for recipient and parents
  • National pre-departure orientation for recipient
  • Preparatory materials
  • 24 hour student support services in host country
  • Medical insurance coverage – PLEASE NOTE: It is not recommended that selected students discontinue their current coverage while abroad.

Scholarship Recipients are Responsible for:

  • Passport
  • Visa fees (if necessary)
  • Any excess luggage tariffs
  • Personal spending money
  • Final program report and photos, due withing one month of return, detailing the exchange experience that will be shared with the Holcomb/Farnell Family


Note: Scholarship programs are subject to change or cancellation without prior notice. The FACTS application fee for financial aid assessment, due March 15, is an additional $35, paid to FACTS directly. The applicant can pay $35 and apply for as many financial-need based scholarships as they qualify and YFU offers. Students must be approved to go on a YFU program before YFU can consider them for financial aid scholarships. For this reason, students may want to wait to submit their FACTS application until after they are accepted into the YFU program. 

If applying for multiple scholarships, please indicate each scholarship's name and code on your application. All scholarship recipients are required to travel on the YFU group travel dates, and to complete the entire program. For more information regarding YFU and the scholarship selection process call 1.800.TEENAGE or refer to the Scholarships Overview section of this web site.