High School Program

The largest portion of the scholarship program has been the high school scholarships. Originally the program was only open to high school sophomores and juniors, who would spend their scholarship year in Germany during what would be their junior or senior year in high school. In 1995, a new program was started, offering 10 scholarships for high school seniors to spend a year in Germany after graduation. Currently the program makes 250-280 (the number fluctuates, depending on funding) national scholarships available to any high school student between the ages of 15-18, with a 3.0 or higher GPA on a 4.0 scale, and who is a U.S. citizen, national or permanent resident. Applications are due in December of the year prior to the scholarship year. After receipt of a full application, select students will be offered an interview, conducted by selection committees in various locations in the United States. These selection committees then put forward the names of the best candidates to receive the scholarships, which are usually approved by the administering organizations.

The following organizations currently administer the high school program by regions:

* American Field Service (AFS) - Northeastern United States
* American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) - Midwestern United States
* American Scandinavian Student Exchange (ASSE) - Northwestern United States, Alaska and Hawai'i
* Academic Year in the U.S.A. (AYUSA) - Southwestern United States
* Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) - Southeastern United States

Through CBYX's first decade and a half, Youth for Understanding (YFU) had been the primary administrative organization for the program. That organizations administration of the CBYX program ended when YFU, Inc. went bankrupt. Its successor organization, YFU-USA, has expressed an interest to rejoin CBYX once the new organization is eligible.

American students who win the scholarship usually spend a full year (July-July) in Germany. The first few weeks of the program are taken up by an Orientation and Language Seminar, where several of the high school students will be living in the same town, each with their own German family, for the duration of the seminar. The only exception is for the students with CIEE, who all live together in a hostel in Tübingen for the first three weeks before going on to their host families. The remaining eleven months of the program usually see the students spread out over Germany, assigned to a second host family (though some do opt to stay with their first host family, by mutual agreement). They attend either a German equivalent high school (specifically a Gymnasium, Realschule, or Gesamtschule, based in part on location and cooperation of the schools) for an academic year. Other programs take place over the course of the year, including trips to the capital in Berlin.