Financial Awards

The Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies sponsors several scholarships for AU students.

The Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies has established an award fund for the Campaign Management Institute, the Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute, and the European Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute through the generosity of friends and alumni of the Center. These awards are intended to provide financial assistance to students enrolled in the Institute.

The recipients of the Benefactors Award will be selected on the basis of two criteria: merit and financial need. To apply, please submit a resume, transcript with your most recent GPA (unofficial transcript acceptable), and a 1-2 page cover letter that addresses the two criteria for the award:

  1. Detail merit: previous academic and professional accomplishments and future aspirations.
  2. Detail financial need: including scholarships, loans and expenses.

Campaign Management Institute Benefactors Award

This fund provides a $1,500 award to a student interested in pursuing a career in campaigning. Available to those taking CMI for credit.

Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute Benefactors Award

This fund provides a $1,500 award to a student interested in pursuing a career in lobbying or advocacy. Available to those taking PAAI for credit.

European Public Affairs and Advocacy Margery Kraus Award

This fund provides a $1,500 award to a student or young professional interested in pursuing a career in lobbying or advocacy. Available to those seeking credit and non-credit course options.

The Benefactors Awards are reserved for students seeking academic credit. Please contact CCPS for application deadlines. Only successful applicants will be notified. Contact the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies for more information.

Send applications to: In the subject of the email, please indicate if the application is for PAAI, CMI, or EPAAI. Deadlines vary each semester. Please contact CCPS for more information.

Bryce Harlow Foundation Scholarship Program

Since 1985, the Bryce Harlow Foundation has awarded fellowships to highly motivated graduate students who are pursuing a career in professional advocacy through public affairs, government relations or lobbying. The award includes $6,000 for tuition assistance and various networking and mentorship opportunities.

For more information, email

Please visit the Foundation's website for more information and instructions on how to apply.

Bryce Harlow Ethics and Lobbying Workshop Essay Contest

Every year CCPS and the Bryce Harlow Foundation jointly sponsor the Bryce Harlow Workshop on Ethics and Lobbying. In conjunction with this course, students are required to write a paper about the topic of ethics in lobbying. Students taking the workshop are encouraged to submit their papers for the workshop essay contest, which features a $250 prize for the best essay. The award winner is also honored at the SPA Awards Ceremony.

AU students wishing to take the workshop and enter the essay contest can register for the workshop like any other AU course online. Non-AU students interested in the workshop should contact the CCPS office. Please visit the Foundation's website to see the work of past winners.

Gill Family Foundation Scholarship

To Support a Dissertation Using Quantitative Methods

The Gill Family Foundation announces a $5,500 scholarship for dissertation support to a PhD student working on a dissertation in the areas of American Politics, Comparative Politics, Public Administration, or Policy Analysis at American University using quantitative methods.

The Gill Family Foundation was established in 1997 in Houston, Texas, to further the Gill family’s interest in support of educational philanthropy.  As a statement of philosophy, the Gill family has noted that “Education plays the critical role in providing opportunities for growth, development, success, lasting relationships and satisfaction in life.  We are committed to giving back to the system which provided us so much opportunity for success and financial independence.”

Submit application directly to: Selection Committee, c/o Prof. David Barker, Dept. of Government, Kerwin 234 or by email (preferred) to both and

 The following information is needed to apply.

  1. A letter of interest, highlighting the statistics and methods courses you have taken and your grades in these courses.
  2. A signed dissertation proposal, outlining research questions, theories, hypotheses and a detailed research design using quantitative methods.
  3. A transcript(s) of your graduate course work, including overall GPA.
  4. A current CV.

Gill Scholarship is open only to PhD students in the School of Public Affairs at American University.

Griffin Scholarship for the Public Affairs & Advocacy Institute

This fund provides up to two $1500 scholarships to students enrolled in the Public Affairs & Advocacy Institute (PAAI). From the pool of qualified applicants, the Donor requests that first preference be given to non-degree seeking candidates from historically underrepresented populations in higher education and candidates who are employed at a non-profit organization. If there are no qualified candidates who meet the first preference, the Donor requests that secondary preference be given to non-degree seeking international students. If there are no candidates who meet either the first or second preferences, the University shall award the Fund to a degree-seeking student(s)enrolled in PAAI, the preference is to support a student working in a non-profit organization. This is a one-time award and not available for renewal.

Contact David Barker at, Director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies for more information.

Thurber Dialogues on Democracy

The Center for Congressional Presidential Studies is proud to announce, and very grateful to receive, a generous gift from Distinguished University Emeritus Professor Jim Thurber and his wife Claudia Thurber. Their gift will fund the Center’s Dialogues on Democracy (now the Thurber Dialogues on Democracy), an ongoing series of conversations with prominent thought leaders about how to strengthen democracy in the US and abroad. In 2021, their inaugural year, the Dialogues drew nearly 500 attendees per event, featuring Senator Cory Booker, House Majority Whip James Clyburn, author/journalist Anne Applebaum, and social scientists Robert Putnam and Shaylyn Romney Garrett. Thanks to the Thurbers’ benevolence, vision, and public-spiritedness, the Dialogues will now continue.

The inaugural Thurber Dialogue on Democracy of 2022 featured Rep. Adam Schiff for a conversation with Professor Jim Thurber on Thursday, March 31st at 7:30pm. This event, co-hosted by CCPS and KPU was held via Zoom.

Congressman Adam Schiff represents California’s 28th Congressional District. In his 11th term in the House of Representatives, Schiff currently serves as the Chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which oversees the nation’s intelligence agencies. Schiff is on a leave of absence from the House Appropriations Committee, where he remains an ex officio member. He is also the author of Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could.

The second Thurber Dialogue on Democracy will feature Rep. Hakeem Jeffries for a conversation with Professor Liz Suhay on Tuesday, April 19th at 7:00pm. This event, co-hosted by CCPS and KPU, will be held via Zoom. 

Hakeem Jeffries represents the diverse Eighth Congressional District of New York, an area that encompasses large parts of Brooklyn and a section of Queens. Serving his fifth term in the United States Congress, Rep. Jeffries is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and House Budget Committee. He is also Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, having been elected to that position by his colleagues in November 2018. In that capacity, he is the fifth highest-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives. He is also the former Whip of the Congressional Black Caucus and previously co-chaired the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee where he helped develop the For The People agenda.

The third and final Thurber Dialogue of Democracy will take place on Thursday, May 5th at 6:00pm via Zoom and will feature Harvard University political scientists Professor Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt. They will discuss their 2018 New York Times Best Seller, How Democracies Die, and broader themes of their work in recent events. This event will be moderated by American University Professor Laura Paler. RSVP here. Zoom link will be send the day of the event.

Steven Levitsky is a David Rockefeller Professor of Latin American Studies and Professor of Government at Harvard University. He is also Director of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard. 

Daniel Ziblatt is Eaton Professor of Government at Harvard University and is director of the Transformations of Democracy research unit at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center in Berlin, Germany.

Contact David Barker at, Director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies for more information.

$1,500 Stipend Benefactor's Award