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Education Support Program

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The Education Support Program (ESP) only covers the cost of tuition up to a maximum of $1,000 per award. Awards will be made for the exact amount requested for tuition. Funds to pay tuition in excess of $1,000, and other costs of attending the program such as travel, transportation, meals, materials, and transportation to and from airports (including rental cars) at the site of the education program, must be obtained from other sources or be borne by the ESP award recipient.


Because of the limited amount of funding available, only full-time judges of state or local trial and appellate courts; full-time professional state or local court personnel with management responsibilities; and supervisory and management probation officials in judicial branch probation offices are eligible for the program. Senior judges, part-time judges, quasi-judicial hearing officers including referees and commissioners, administrative law judges, staff attorneys, law clerks, line staff, law enforcement officers, and other executive branch personnel are not eligible. The demand for the program precludes providing more than one award per year to any one recipient. Also, applicants are limited to one ESP award every other fiscal year (i.e. if awarded an ESP in FY 2015, the applicant will remain ineligible until FY 2017), unless the course specifically assumes multi-year participation, or the course is part of a graduate degree program in judicial studies in which the applicant is currently enrolled (neither exception should be taken as a commitment on the part of SJI’s Board of Director’s to approve consecutive ESP awards within a two-year period).


Awards are only for courses presented in a U.S. jurisdiction (other than the one in which the applicant resides, except in the case of online programs) that are designed to enhance the skills of new or experienced judges and court managers; or are offered by a recognized graduate program for judges or court managers. Attendance at annual or mid-year conferences or meetings of a state or national organization does not qualify as an out-of-state educational program for ESP purposes, even though it may include workshops or other training sessions.


The factors SJI will consider in selecting recipients include:

  • The date on which the application and concurrence (and support letter, if required) are sent;
  • The unavailability of state and local funds to cover the costs of attending, or participating in, the program or funds from another source;
  • The absence of educational programs in the applicant’s state addressing the particular topic;
  • The balance of awards among educational programs;
  • The balance of awards among the types of courts represented; and
  • The level of appropriations available to SJI in the current fiscal year, and the amount expected to be available in succeeding fiscal years.
  • The postmark or courier receipt will be used to determine the date on which the application form and other required items were sent, and applications will be reviewed on a “first come/first considered” basis on a quarterly basis.


Judges and court managers interested in applying to the program must submit an ESP-1 Form, and the written concurrence of the chief justice of the state supreme court (or the chief justice’s designee) on the ESP-2 Form. These forms must be submitted with original signatures. The signature of the presiding judge of the applicant’s court cannot be substituted for that of the chief justice or the chief justice’s designee. The chief justice’s designee must be established beforehand with SJI by a letter from the chief justice to SJI stating who has signature authority for scholarship application purposes.

Applications must be received by the due date; it is not a mail due date.
All applications should be sent by mail or courier (not fax or e-mail) to:

Education Support Program Coordinator
State Justice Institute
11951 Freedom Drive
Suite 1020
Reston, VA 20190

Applying does not register the applicant for a course. Applications to attend or register for an educational program should be sent to the organization offering the program.


The award is not transferable to another individual. It may be only be used for the course specified in the application unless attendance at a different course that meets the eligibility requirements is approved in writing by SJI. Decisions on such requests will be made within 30 days after the receipt of the request letter.


Recipients are responsible for disseminating the information received from the course to their court colleagues locally and, if possible, throughout the state. Recipients also must submit to SJI a certificate of attendance at the program. A state or local jurisdiction may impose additional requirements on recipients.

Payment is made on a reimbursable basis. In order to receive reimbursement, recipients must submit a Form ESP-3 together with a paid tuition statement/receipt from the program sponsor and a certificate of attendance/completion. The Form ESP-3 must be submitted within 90 days after the end of the course, or SJI will be unable to reimburse incurred costs.