Values & Capitalism is now AEI’s Initiative on Faith and Public Life. Click here to learn more about our mission and new name.

2019-2020 V&C Young Scholars


The Values & Capitalism Young Scholar Award program seeks to foster high-quality academic research and writing by awarding $5,000 scholarships to up to six undergraduate students each year. Students are awarded scholarships for demonstrating significant promise in their field of research and a commitment to AEI’s mission of expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity, and strengthening free enterprise.

Under the guidance of a faculty advisor at their school, selected students conduct year-long academic research projects on a topic of public policy, economics, law, or political philosophy. Upon submitting their final projects at the end of the academic year, students travel to Washington, DC to present and defend their work before panels of experts. 

Values & Capitalism is an initiative that engages Christian college students and faculty in conversations about economics, public policy, and faith. Research proposals may include faith-related content, but are not required to.



  • Applicant must be a rising junior or senior (in other words, have junior or senior status by Fall 2019);
  • Applicant must be a full-time student; and
  • Applicant must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 at the time of entry.

Application Instructions:

  • Submit an electronic applicant-information form, a resume and an unofficial transcript;
  • A 500-word statement describing his or her views on the free enterprise system and why he or she would like to be selected as an AEI Young Scholar;
  • A 500–1000-word prospectus for a research project in public policy, economics, law, or political philosophy. The prospectus must include an explanation of the motivation behind the selected topic, a clear hypothesis, literature review, outline of any potential data sources and brief explanation of the intended methodology for the project–for further instructions and examples, go here;
  • A previous undergraduate research paper of at least 2,500 words (not required, but preferably a paper in a discipline related to your intended topic); and
  • Two letters of recommendation submitted here, including one from a faculty sponsor at the applicant’s undergraduate institution who has agreed to oversee the project.

Final Project Parameters:

  • Projects must be at least 5,000-7,000 words in length and demonstrate serious scholarship in the fields of public policy, economics, law, or political philosophy;
  • Projects may be presented as a formal academic research paper or as a public policy analysis paper;
  • Projects may have a historical component but should focus on a relevant, contemporary public policy topic or economic trend;
  • Projects may include hands-on research and interviews, although it is not required; and
  • Projects may be completed as part of a credit-bearing course at the Young Scholar’s college or university, although it is not required.

The application deadline is extended to Monday, July 15th. 

Questions may be directed to Aryana Petrosky at

Young Scholars will receive:

  • A $5,000 scholarship toward college tuition, to be disbursed to the college or university in the student’s name in two installments: after the November 2019 progress report has been received and approved, and after the second (winter) progress report has been received and approved. If the Young Scholar does not have remaining undergraduate financial commitments, he or she may designate the scholarship to a charity or nonprofit;
  • An invitation to AEI’s 2020 Annual Dinner (expenses paid);
  • A complete set of V&C mini-books;
  • Opportunities to blog for the Values & Capitalism project website; and
  • Placement of an op-ed-length version of their project (along with the entire essay) on the Values & Capitalism website.

Faculty sponsors will receive:

  • A $2,500 stipend, to be received after the project’s completion; and
  • An invitation to AEI’s 2020 Annual Dinner (expenses paid).

To receive their scholarship, applicants must commit to:

  • Provide a work schedule by September 2019, that includes three AEI progress reports over the course of the year and terminates no later than the end of March 2020. Applicants must allow at least eight business days for their faculty sponsor to review the project in advance of each progress report. The first progress report must be received no later than November 15, 2019;
  • Submit the final project no later than April 1, 2020;
  • Travel to Washington, DC (expenses paid) to present and defend their project before a panel of AEI scholars in April 2020; and
  • Make final revisions to the project and write an op-ed version of their project to be published on the Values & Capitalism website following the project defense. The op-ed and final project may be submitted up to one month after the defense is complete.

To receive their stipend, faculty sponsors must commit to:

  • Provide oversight and periodic feedback for the project; and
  • Review the project in advance of each progress report and return feedback in a timely manner. Students must give faculty sponsors at least eight business days to review the project.
  • Schedule permitting, attend the project defenses in Washington, DC in April 2020 (expenses paid).