The American Enterprise Summer Institute brings together 25 select college undergraduates for an opportunity unlike any other in Washington: a monthlong, fully-funded experience debating ideas about liberty and free enterprise and learning the principles and methods of public policy analysis.

Summer Institute students spend a month working with and learning from AEI scholars and fellows. But these aren’t typical think tankers. AEI researchers uniquely understand Washington, having spent time as political appointees, executive branch consultants, journalists, professors, and writers. No other program has a core faulty with such diverse and distinguished backgrounds.

At the end of the summer, students leave understanding why—and how—AEI scholars think like they do. And they leave prepared to make a difference, as more effective intellectual and practical supporters of liberty, individual opportunity, and free enterprise in America and around the world.


What topics are covered?

Economics. Understand the way markets work and the application of market analysis to public policy analysis. Instructor Kevin Hassett (former senior adviser to McCain 2008) will walk you through market dynamics and the interaction between public policy and the private sector.

Foreign and defense policy. With defense experts Gary Schmitt and Thomas Donnelly, explore the principles of democratic statecraft, American strategic culture, and current issues in national security policy. Take a trip to Gettysburg National Battlefield and contrast White House National Security Strategies.

American political leadership. Reagan and Churchill biographer Steven Hayward examines American presidents who have demonstrated extraordinary political leadership and the limits of “executive power” in a constitutional regime. Find out what we can learn from Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, and Reagan.

Public policy. Dig in to the nitty-gritty of specific policy issues including entitlement reform; campaign and elections; energy policy; modern revolutions such as the Arab Spring; and the impact of world demographic change—and apply the concepts from other seminars to pressing policy issues.


Who should apply?

Students who are passionate about public affairs. Who want to understand what makes Washington tick. Who want to delve beyond talking points to really understand policy issues from macroeconomics to environmental regulation, from foreign affairs to entitlement reform.

Successful applicants will have a demonstrated interest in public affairs, a superior academic record, and first-rate analytical and communication skills.  Any college or university undergraduate or recent graduate may apply. 

Up to 25 applicants will be selected to participate in the Summer Institute. All students receive a $1,000 stipend, dormitory accommodations (including most meals), and up to $500 in travel expenses. The program will be held at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC from Sunday, June 17 to Saturday, July 14, 2012.

The AEI Summer Institute is a full-time endeavor. Classes meet five days a week from nine until noon. Guest lectures and other program events will fill many afternoons. (NOTE: This is a separate application from the AEI internship program. Students interested in the AEI internship program should apply here.) 


How do I apply?

The following items are needed for your application:


Apply by email: [email protected]