Summer Camp Scholarships


PARI works with a variety of sponsors, donors, and partner organizations to help keep camp within reach.  We match campers with available support based on the criteria set by the scholarship providers.

Learn About:



The kinds of support is available to campers.



Typical requirements to gain a scholarship.



What you need to do.



The scholarships available for the upcoming camp season.



If you or an organization you are a part of would like to create a scholarship, or help fund an existing program, please let us know!  There are campers eager for support this summer.

Scholarship Types

What do they cover

Full Scholarships

Some of the scholarships available cover the full cost of camp with the exception of the registration fee which is typically $50.

Partial Scholarships

Some scholarships cover a portion of the cost of camp. The amount they cover may be set so that every recipient receives the same amount of coverage, or the amount may vary based on financial need. Campers may be eligible for more than one partial scholarship so the total they cover may be higher.

Travel Scholarships

At times, scholarships to help cover the cost of travel to and from camp may be available.

Gift Shop Vouchers

Campers may be awarded funds to their camper account for use in PARI's camp gift shop or while on field trips. This can be used for things like apparel, snacks, and souvenirs.

Scholarship Criteria

How eligibility is determined

The single most important quality in a scholarship recipient is that they want to be at camp. There are often more campers seeking financial support than there is funding to go around so campers who ask for a scholarship should be prepared to make the most of camp and participate fully. If your camper attends with the support of a scholarship and does not follow the expectations laid out in our Camper Guide you may be required to pick them up from camp early.

Need Based Scholarships

Some scholarships are awarded to campers based on financial need. The method for determining this need can vary based on the source of the funds for the scholarship.

Typically though, this determination is kept as simple as possible and is based on elegibility for the National School Lunch Program provided by the USDA. When applying for a scholarship it is likely that you will be asked whether you are eligible for free or reduced school lunch through this program.

If you have already applied for this program and you or your school can verify eligibility, you don't need to do anything else. If you have not applied you can contact your school district for help and guidance on the application process. It is usually very easy and takes a few minutes so long as you have your family income information available.

You can find out more about the program here. You can also learn about the application process and view sample applications or you can review the Income Elibility Guidelines which are updated each year.

* You do not actually have to receive free or reduced school lunch, just to meet the creteria to be eligible for it. You may decline to receive it even if you apply and are found eligible.

Academic Performance Based Scholarships

Some scholarships are awarded to campers based on their academic performance. The perfomance requirements may vary based on the source of the funds for the scholarship. You may be asked to submit a camper's grades, or a statement from a teacher to be considered for a scholarship based on academic performance.

Essay / Interest Based Scholarships

Some scholarships are awarded based on the interest and ambitions of the camper. Campers who want to gain experience and knowledge in a particular field of space science or have a paricular career goal may be eligible for these scholarships. An essay or interview is typically required.

Demographic Based Scholarships

The region a camper is from, or their gender, are the most common demographic groups used in the distribution of scholarships. Some are awarded to campers from a specific state, county, or city. Other scholarships are intended to support girls or boys gaining experience in a topic in which they are historically under-represented.

At times there are scholarships for campers who are members of certain groups such as scouting organizations or civic organizations.

How to Apply for a Scholarship

We'll match you with the right one

Create an account for you and our camper

A camp account with us is free and will give us most of the information we need to match you with a scholarship. You'll enter your own information, and then the information for each camper in your family who is interested in attending.

Once your account is created and you have added the information about your campers, contact us and let us know you've created your account and we'll use the information to look for a scholarship for you. If there is one that is a match, we may then ask you for some additional information depending on the eligibility criteria for that scholarship. If there isn't, we will add you to the wait list and let you know as soon as one is available.

If you receive a scholarship it will then either be credited directly to your account, or a sponsoring organization may give you a code to enter when you register for a specific camp.


The sooner you apply, the better. So, if your camper is interested in one of our camps, get started now!

Typically camps start to fill and scholarships are all allocated by March. But, occasionally a camper who has received a scholarship is unable to attend. So even if there are only a few weeks left before camp starts there might still be a spot for your camper.

We also keep a waitlist for campers needing a scholarship. This list helps us when seeking funds as well because it helps us show potential donors how much need remains and can lead to more scholarships.


Most of our scholarships are awarded on a first come, first served, basis. That means if you meet the criteria for one that is available, we will award it to you right away rather than waiting until many campers apply and comparing them to one another.

One of the most important qualities in a camper is that they want to experience a challenging and engaging space science camp and have the drive to participate fully.

Scholarships for Summer 2024

What is available this upcoming camp season

3D Planets Scholarships

These scholarships start at $700 awards that will cover some or all of the cost of one of our 3D Planets summer camps for 2024. Additional travel vouchers may also be available to help with the cost of getting to and from camp.


  • Must be a middle school aged camper who has not yet have started ninth grade.
  • Must be a resident of North Carolina.
  • Must not have attended any other 3D Planets workshops presented by PARI.
  • Prior PARI summer campers are allowed, but preference will be given given to campers who have not attended a camp at PARI in the past.

Smoky Mountain Stem Collaborative Scholarships

The Smoky Mountain STEM Collaborative is providing scholarships for one and two weeks camps for middle school and high school aged campers.

For more information and to receive a scholarship contact Randi Neff at

Campers must be residents of one of the following North Carolina counties:

  • Haywood
  • Jackson
  • Macon
  • Swain
  • Graham
  • Cherokee
  • Clay
  • Qualla Boundary
  • Transylvania

General PARI Scholarship Fund

A variety of scholarships are available that are funded by PARI or by PARI donors. A limited number of full and partial scholarships are available each summer and are awarded to those with financial need. The requirements for each are different but designated for specific ages, places of residence, and genders.

Criteria may include:

  • Specific grade levels
  • Specific US States or North Carolina Counties
  • Specific levels of financial need.
  • Some are only for girls and some only for boys.
  • An applicant will need to submit an essay, no longer than one page, describing a specific interest of theirs in space science and why they want to attend camp.
  • Prior PARI summer campers are allowed, but preference will be given given to campers who have not attended a camp at PARI in the past.
Partner Scholarships

Currently, our partner Summer Kids Guide is offering a competitive scholarship for $500.

To apply:

  • Visit their site at and fill out the form.
  • Enter The Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute as the camp ou want to attend.
  • Make sure to follow the requirements listed on their page.
summer kids guide scholarship graphic

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