USC Africa Student Fund


USC has extended the suspension of its study abroad programs through the fall 2020 semester. Africa Student Fund will be on hold until the university issues updated policies and guidelines on university-related travel. 

The USC Africa Student Fund is a scholarship intended to support undergraduate student travel to African countries for study, research, service-based learning and internships. Students who have identified a project or program are invited to apply with this funding in mind. Winners may receive full or partial funding to help cover airfare costs associated with their proposed project or program.

Since its inception in 2010 with an inaugural gift of $100,000 from Adam Clayton Powell III, vice provost of globalization, the Africa Student Fund has supported students representing various USC Schools in their travel to African countries. Visit the Awardee Archive to see how previous recipients have utilized the Africa Student Fund.

After The Trip
AHF Advising


Applicants must have a minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA and be enrolled as an undergraduate student with at least one semester of coursework remaining at USC (graduating seniors in their final semester are not eligible).

The Africa Student Fund is open to all majors and disciplines. Students must propose an itinerary with a minimum in-country stay of 10 days, though funding preferences are given to applicants who intend to stay in-country for three weeks or longer. Students must hold a valid passport (U.S. or international) at time of proposed travel.


The online application is available in October and February each year. A select group or recipients will be chosen during each application period.

USC has extended the suspension of its study abroad programs through the fall 2020 semester. Africa Student Fund will be on hold until the university issues updated policies and guidelines on university-related travel. 


The online application process includes:

  • 2-page Personal Statement
    • Your personal statement should address the following:
      • What is the purpose of your travel?
      • How have your previous academic, leadership and/or professional experiences prepared you for this opportunity?
      • How will this opportunity contribute to your overall USC experience and future professional goals?
      • What deliverables do you intend to produce as a result of this opportunity? (e.g. capstone project, published research paper, portfolio, conference presentation)
      • If you are part of a study abroad program, what are your plans for civic engagement and/or community impact outside of the classroom experience? (Note: Simply participating in a pre-arranged study abroad program is not competitive enough for funding)
  • 1-page Resume / C.V. 
  • 1 Letter of Recommendation 
    • Letters should be written on official USC letterhead by USC faculty or staff who are either directly involved in your travel experience or can speak to how your trip to Africa will contribute to your future learning.
  • Verification Documents OR Affiliation Letter
    • If you are participating in a study abroad program or internship, you must provide official documents verifying your acceptance into the program.
    • If you are conducting an independent research or volunteer service trip, you must submit a letter of affiliation from the individual(s) or organization in the host country. The affiliate(s) should confirm that they will support you during your time abroad (e.g. access to research facilities, lodging, supervision, etc.)


The Africa Student Fund awards travel stipends to African countries of up to $2,000 per student. Funds are intended for travel expenses only and primarily allocated towards airfare. Awardees can receive their travel funding in one of two ways:

  1. Reimbursement: Arrange and pay for travel out-of-pocket, and then receive a reimbursement check after you return from your travels. The benefit of requesting a reimbursement is that you have more flexibility with your travel planning.
  2. Travel Arrangement through USC: Work with AHF staff to book your travel through USC Travel Management. The benefit of this method is that you would not have to pay upfront on your own, but you may have less flexibility with the travel itinerary when booking through a third-party agency.

After The Trip

Within one month of their return to the United States, award recipients are required to submit the following:

  • 2-page reflective essay detailing the value of their experience in Africa.
  • Thank you note addressed to Adam Clayton Powell III, who endowed the fund.
  • Travel receipts for awardees who opt to receive reimbursement.

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