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Vfw Audio Essay Contest

$2.2 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the VFW’s Voice of Democracy audio-essay competition are shared each year with winners of the more than 51,000 high school students from across the country who enter to win.

Nurturing our democratic society, the VFW has sponsored the Voice of Democracy program (VOD) since 1947 to provide students grades 9-12 the opportunity to express themselves in regards to democratic ideals and principles.

The national first-place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school. Other national scholarships range from $1,000- $16,000 and the first-place winner from each (State) VFW Department wins an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.


Voice of Democracy Student Entry Form and Brochure 2017 Voice of Democracy Rules and Eligibility

The deadline to enter the 2018-2019  program is October 31, 2018.  The theme for 2018-2019 is:“WHY MY VOTE MATTERS”

Students should record their reading of the draft to a CD or flash drive. The recording can be no shorter than 3 minutes and no longer than 5 minutes (plus or minus 5 seconds).

Entries begin at the Post level. Once the student creates their essay and completes burning the audio version to a CD, they can submit their typed version, CD and the Voice of Democracy entry form to their local participating VFW Post by the November 1 deadline.

Originality is worth 30 points: Treatment of the theme should show imagination and human interest

Content is worth 35 points: Clearly express your ideas in an organized manner. Fully develop your theme and use transitions to move smoothly from one idea to the other.

Delivery is worth 35 points: Speak in a clear and credible manner.

The Veteran of Foreign War (VFW) is proud to present the Voice of Democracy Scholarship Program. The scholarship is open to students in grades 9-12 who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program. Voice of Democracy audio-essay program provides high school students with the unique opportunity to express themselves in regards to a democratic and patriotic-themed recorded essay. The winner will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., March 3-7, 2018, to tour the city, and its Auxiliary and receive their portion of $154,000 in national awards, the top scholarship being $30,000 award.

The VFW established the Voice of Democracy program (VOD) in 1947 to provide the opportunity for the students to express themselves in regards democratic ideas and principles. Veterans are respected for their service, always receive their earned entitlements and are recognized for the sacrifices, are the vision of VFW.


The applicants must follow the given criteria:

  • Students in grades 9-12 who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States, its territories and possessions, or in an overseas U.S. military/civilian dependent school.
  • Although U.S. citizenship is not required, students must be lawful U.S. permanent residents
  • Have applied for permanent residence (the application for which has not been denied) and intends to become a U.S. citizen at the earliest opportunity allowed by law.
  • Foreign exchange students, students age 20 or over, previous Voice of Democracy first-place state winners, GED or Adult Education Students are ineligible.

How to Apply:

  • Record your original 3-5 minute (+ or – 5 seconds max.) essay on an audio CD or a flash drive.
  • The recording must be in your own voice and in English. No music, singing, poetry or sound effects are allowed.
  • Hearing/speech impaired students should email the Voice of Democracy National Office at youthscholarships-at-vfw.org for special instructions.
  • If you have trouble getting in touch with them, you can contact them through the given link: https://www.vfw.org/contact-us

Financial Aid and Award Money:     

The national first-place winner receives a $30,000 and first-place winner from each VFW Department (state) also wins a minimum scholarship of $1,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.

A complete list of other national scholarships range from $1,000-$16,000

Application Deadline: 

The application deadline for Voice of Democracy Scholarship Program is October 31, 2017.

Link for More Information:


Contact Information:

If you need any assistance you can contact at

(816) 756-3390 ext. 6117

Email: youthscholarships-at-vfw.org www.vfw.org

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