More than 170 graduate students applied for the GovLoop/NASPAA Public Service Graduate Scholarship, writing an essay that addressed the question:

“What if the U.S. government had only $100 million left in its budget?
Where should that money go and why? 
Should it be allocated on the local, state or federal level?
Which agency or department should receive funding, and for what project?”

Each essay was judged by a professor or admissions director at a NASPAA member school and a current graduate student or recent graduate who is a member of the GovLoop staff. After careful consideration by all the judges, we are proud to announce the 15 highest-scored essays as finalists (posted below).


After 2 weeks of community voting the 3 winners have been selected: 

  1. Evan White, UC Berkley
  2. Maurico Cifuentes, Texas A&M
  3. Brian Footer, NYU

Congratulations to our winners and all our finalists who wrote amazing essays. 

Evan White

UC Berkeley

“Promise Neighborhoods for a Promising Future”

Rather than inadequately mending the problems of today, we should invest in the promise of tomorrow.                                                                                   

Mauricio Cifuentes

Texas A&M University

“The Social Innovation Fund: Implementing Effective Bottom-up Solutions”

Developing bottom-up solutions through the Corporation for National and Community Service to grow communities and enhance citizenship.

Brian Footer

New York University

“Local Government Grant Program”

Devise a grant program for local governments to fund programs of their choice in conjunction with private businesses and NGOs.


Alex Luboff

Indiana University

“A Fiscal, Social, and Environmental Sustainability: Urban Agriculture Fighting Poverty”

Innovation & sustainable agriculture fund for low-income communities.


Joseph Towner

University of Southern California

“Community Service Grants”

Revamp public safety by allowing police officers to use more of their time doing what they are sworn to do, which is to protect and to serve.

Lee Blum

New York University

“The World’s Best Vocational Institute”

Create an elite national university to bridge the skills gap and train the next generation for high-value jobs.                 

Maggie Healy

Pacific Coast University

“Funding the Information Age, Beyond Infrastructure”

Using the $100 million to support and expand the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).                

Elizabeth Selbst

Duke University

“Fund Local Land Banking to Reverse Urban Sprawl”

Implement a land banking program to reverse inefficient land use patterns and foster new economic growth with-in post industrial cities.

Neil Reilly

New York University

“A Boost to Rentals and Public Housing”

Empower HUD to design an opt-in rental insurance program to provide safety net for the poor and promote positive externalities for communities.


Daniel Turner

Rutgers University

“Invest in the Future”

Encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship from small business to spur economic activity.  


Peter Thomas

University of Southern California

“Government Knowing Its Constituents”

Invest in AmeriCorps to improve citizen engagement and empower local communities.

Danny Vasconcellos

University of Hawaii at Monoa

“Government Getting it Right: The GAO”

Fund to the GAO to set-up infrastructure for future saving through government efficiency.                                              


Jay Sher

George Washington University

“Federal R&D Prizes for Technological Investment and Innovation”

Use the 100 million as prize money to spur private company innovation, research and development for use in the public sector.                                         

Kevin Sonoff

Indiana University

“Primary and Secondary Education: The Path to Recovery”

Invest in primary and secondary education at the state and local levels to better equip the rising generation in poor economic times.                                     

Mark Van Horn

University of Southern California

“Using Computer Games to Simulate Policy Problems in the United States”

Invest in gaming technology to encourage collaboration and educate citizens about the government process.                         

View the Scholarship Official Rules  


Other GovLoop Resources:

MPA Guide Applying for PMF Guide MPP Guide PMF Job Fair Guide




The National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration serves as a national and international resource for the promotion of excellence in education for public service. It is an institutional membership association of  280 schools of public administration, public policy, public affairs, and nonprofit management, both in the U.S. and internationally.  NASPAA is also the accreditor of master’s programs in the field in the U.S.