Does My Family Qualify for Financial Aid for Summer Camps?

If you struggle with finances and have a child who is begging you to go to a summer camp, don't give up hope. Most camps offer some type of financial assistance. They do this in order to provide a camping experience for all children, no matter what their socio-economic status is. Camping is a great way to meet friends and enjoy the outdoors. Apply for financial aid early and give your child the best opportunity to attend a summer camp and have the time of their life!

There are many ways to determine if your child has a good chance of receiving financial aid to help cover their camping fees. If your family lives in low income housing, your child will probably qualify for financial assistance. Likewise, people who qualify for food stamps most likely will be eligible for financial assistance. If your children qualify for the reduced or free lunch program through the public school system, they can also receive financial help for camping. Lastly, if your family is eligible for Medicare or Medicaid, you will probably also qualify for help with camping fees.

There are two important pieces of advise to keep in mind when applying for a camp scholarship. First, apply as soon as the applications are available. There can be a lot of competition for camp scholarships. Most camps only have a certain number of spots for campers who do not have the means to pay their fees. Once the money for these scholarships is used up, you lose the opportunity to get any financial assistance. Second, be sure you know when the deadline is to have the financial aid application turned in. Many camps stop taking applications in January or February. Once the deadline is passed, they will not accept any more applications.

Some camps will request a copy of your previous year's federal income tax 1040 form. This verifies what the parents yearly earnings are. This document will also show any alimony or child support that your family receives. The information on this form demonstrates which individuals have a true financial need. All of these factors will be considered when the camp selects eligible applicants to receive scholarship money.

Most camps offer financial assistance. It's important to start filling out camp applications as early as possible. By providing accurate and complete information, your child can become eligible for the best possible financial package. Your child will be happy to know they get to go camping. You will be glad you started early, filled out the application correctly and secured a place for your child to gain a fun, camping experience.

Here are some resources to get you started:

  • The The American Camp Association® (ACA) promotes camping for all children. They maintain a list of a variety of camps, and how much they cost.
  • Scholarships and grants can also be found. Go to their website for additional information: