The Outward Bound California Scholarship Program is guided by a single principle:
Every person should have the opportunity to experience outdoor adventure, develop character and compassion, and learn leadership skills that last a lifetime.
A diverse student group on an Outward Bound course (including racial, religious, economic, gender identity, and ability) encourages learning across differences, compassion for the strengths and challenges of their crewmates, and space to practice inclusion and leadership. Every unique life experience brings richness to the course where we live by the motto, “You are needed” and that includes all students.
We bring together this diversity of students by reaching far and wide in our marketing and recruitment, lending gear to those who need it, and offering a wide variety of program lengths and difficulty levels. Yet still, the biggest barrier for students is almost always financial. We seek to lower or remove the high costs of these experiences through partnerships with public schools and youth-serving nonprofits, tuition reduction on individual courses, and other programs like the Youth Leadership Corps and our other full summer scholarships. You can read more about these opportunities and how to apply below.
Thanks to generous donations from alumni, parents, corporations, foundations, and other community members, 2/3 of our students receive scholarships each year and are, therefore, able to attend. If you are interested in learning more about opportunities to fund equitable access to Outward Bound experiences, please contact Matt Patchell, Development Officer at (415) 316-0563 or [email protected].
Through the generous efforts of staff and donors, our LGBTQ+ course is totally free, including a travel stipend, boots and socks to keep and gear to borrow while on course.
The course is designed for LGBTQ+ teens to build community and cultivate self-efficacy through service-learning, leadership development, and self-discovery in natural environments. This course is staffed with Instructors who have lived experiences with and demonstrated support for the LGBTQ+ community.
Learn more about the LGBTQ+ Scholarship Program here.
Pinnacle Scholarship Program
The Pinnacle Scholarship Program is Outward Bound’s signature scholarship program, founded in California in 1992. The program provides full-tuition scholarships for highly motivated youth from under-resourced communities to attend an Outward Bound wilderness course.
After a competitive application process, participants embark on a 10 to 24-day summer wilderness course in the High Sierra. After the course, each scholar will have a 6-month follow-up survey or phone call to discuss the course experience and how the skills and experiences have transferred home.
Current partners of Outward Bound California may nominate highly-motivated youth from their schools or organizations to become a Pinnacle Scholar. Youth are then required to fill out an application form.
Learn more about the Pinnacle Scholarship Program here.
Youth Leadership Corps
The Youth Leadership Corps is a one year leadership and service focused program that starts with a 12-day expedition including rock climbing, backpacking, camping, navigation, and a unique solo experience.
It is open to Bay Area high school students (rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors) who want to continue to develop their leadership skills and gain service experience.
All students who apply and are accepted into the program receive a full scholarship to participate.
Outward Bound helps thousands of returning service members and recent veterans** readjust to life at home through powerful wilderness courses that draw on the healing benefit of teamwork and challenge through use of the natural world. These courses are fully funded, including travel.
**All applicants to our veterans’ courses will be asked to verify their service with their DD-214 for veterans or deployment documentation for active duty military members.
Individual Students Awards – Tuition Reduction
Individual Students Awards – Tuition Reduction
Typical awards range from 10 – 30% off of tuition prices and are based on an individual student’s need. Tuition reduction is offered on a first-come, first-served basis beginning in the fall and continuing as long as we have funds available.
Answer “yes” to the question “Do you want to be considered for financial aid?” in the payment section of the online enrollment form.
Submit a $500 Deposit, this deposit is fully refundable in the event you do not qualify for Tuition Reduction and need to withdraw your enrollment
After applying, you will receive an enrollment email from your course advisor including a link to the Tuition Reduction Application. Please submit this form along with your course application. Documentation including 1040 tax forms and a statement of need will be requested. If you are accepted onto the course, we will review your application and send an offer letter. If the offer is not sufficient to meet your needs, we will refund the full $500 deposit.
If you cancel before an offer is made, or if you are unresponsive to communication from your course advisor, you will forfeit the $150 enrollment fee.
To inquire about tuition reduction, please call 415-933-6222 or email: [email protected]
We offer tuition reduction to schools and non-profit groups which work with low-income populations looking to expand experiential education. Please review the Group Page for more information.
For more information or to inquire about school or group programs, please contact Eli Fox at [email protected] or 415-316-0564
Participants can use their AmeriCorps Education Award to attend an Outward Bound course. Through registration at Western State Colorado University, participants will also receive education credit.
Through Western Colorado University, Outward Bound California participants can utilize a 529 College Saving Plan to fund their course and gain college credit. Please call the Student Services Department of Outward Bound California (415.933.6222) to find out how to use your saving plan. Enrolled applicants will be sent more information in your Applicant Portal. You can find out more on WCU's Outdoor & Experiential Education Program Partnerships website.