The Blank Summer Institute for the Arts & Sciences (BSI) is a prestigious one-week residential summer program for 60 of Iowa’s most talented 8th-grade students, nominated by their schools. BSI provides exceptionally talented students with an intensive and advanced educational experience designed to enhance their intellectual and social growth. Each student selected for BSI will receive a $1000 Blank Scholarship to cover the majority of the Institute's costs.

About the Program

On hiatus for summer 2023

Spend time on the University of Iowa campus, immersing yourself in one of your favorite subjects, in a class full of other kids your age who share your level of interest and ability. Experience a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet Iowa's brightest and most promising middle school students. For the duration of the program, you will live together in a residence hall and experience life as university students. Evening activities include seminars, cultural and recreational activities, and off-campus field trips.

BSI's plan of study is intended to complement the regular school curriculum, offering three interdisciplinary courses which showcase the uniquie aspects of college learning and collaboration. Neither grades nor academic credit will be given for participation in BSI. However, participants will be expected to show a high level of motivation and achievement.

I liked developing new ways to see the world that I had never thought about before.

BSI Student


On hiatus for 2023


How to Apply

While the application process is straightforward, planning ahead is essential. Schools must first nominate students (two per BSI class), and then students must submit a complete application. Here's all the information you and your school will need in order to complete the process.


You must be nominated by a school official in order to apply for the Blank Summer Institute. Parents may not nominate students. All current 7th and 8th grade students enrolled in Iowa are eligible for nomination. You do not have to be identified by or enrolled in a talented and gifted program to be nominated.

All nominated students should be highly motivated and possess high levels of task commitment and emotional maturity.

In addition, some of the special qualities that are desirable for each of the courses will be included below when classes are announced.

    Nomination and Application Process

    Nominations open: December 1, 2023

    All application materials must be submitted online by February 1, 2024.

    For each school, we will accept only two nominations for each course. Schools must develop their own selection process to determine six students. All nominations must be made by school officials, not parents. Nominated students DO NOT have to be enrolled in a talented and gifted program. We encourage developing a nomination process that supports your school in increasing access for students to advanced opportunities by identifying students with domain-specific talents or deep interests.

    Once a student is nominated, they must apply for the class. When applying online, they will need to submit the following:

    • Demographic information
    • Grades
    • 2 Essays (100-200 words each):
    • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your experiences at school. Not sure what to write? You can tell us about where you are from, your family, your pets, what you like to do, and your favorite classes, teachers, or activities (sports, music, student council, etc.). 
    • Tell us about what you want to do after high school. Not sure what to write? You can tell us about what you want to do in college, what you think might be an interesting career, or where you want to live?


    Faculty and staff from the Belin-Blank Center will evaluate completed applications. Selected students will be notified by February 15, 2024.

    After You're Accepted

    You can look forward to a life-changing week! Here you can find answers to all the pressing questions you may have while making your plans to join us.

    Cost & Financial Aid


    Each student selected for the Institute will receive a $1000 scholarship which covers the majority of the Institute's costs. Each student will pay a program fee of $200 to cover the remaining costs. Together, the scholarship and the program fee cover all instructional costs, room, board, books, and admission to all regularly scheduled activities.

    The program fee does not include transportation to and from the University of Iowa or incidental expenses, such as souvenirs and snacks. You and your family are responsible for these expenses.

    Payment Deadlines

    You must either pay in full or have arranged monthly installments by June 1 in order to participate. All fees are payable to the Belin-Blank Center.

    Payment Options

    1. Pay the entire amount on a credit card.
    2. Pay in three equal installments using a credit card.

    Financial Aid

    Once you are accepted into the program, you may apply for financial aid. Financial aid may cover up to 50% of the remaining cost of the program. Awards will be applied directly to your program fees. After your information is reviewed, a decision will be made, and you will receive an email regarding the amount of your award. Awards will be applied directly to your program fees. Additional scholarships may be available. International students are not eligible for scholarships or financial aid.

    Daily Schedule

    You will attend classes from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and Friday until noon.

    The typical schedule for each day looks like:

    • 7:30–8:30 Breakfast
    • 9:00–12:00 Class
    • 12:00–1:00 Lunch
    • 1:00–4:00 Class
    • 4:00–5:00 Free time
    • 5:00–6:00 Dinner
    • 6:00–10:00 Evening activities
    • 10:30 Lights out

    Evening activities include special seminars, on/off-campus field trips, and cultural and recreational activities. We carefully select activities to complement the program. For this reason, all activities are required.


    You will be supervised at all regularly scheduled events and activities. Supervision at the residence halls will be provided by a Belin-Blank Program Coordinator and a residence hall staff specially selected and trained to work with and supervise students. There is approximately one resident advisor for every ten students. You are expected to live within the policies of the residence halls, the university, and the program.

    Living on Campus

    You will be housed in a residence hall located near the Blank Honors Center on the University of Iowa campus. Most program activities will take place within brief walking distance of the residence hall. Male and female students will be assigned to separate floors and all students will share a room with at least one other student.

    Family Visits

    We ask that your family inform staff of their plans so that arrangements can be made to facilitate any family visits. Because the program is dedicated to the development of a cohesive community, you may not have non-family visitors during the program.

    Check-in / Check-out

    Check-in for the program will be held from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm on Sunday.  All students should be checked in during this time. If you are unable to check-in during these times, please contact the Belin-Blank Center.

    Check-out for the program will be held after the closing on Friday. The closing for students and families will begin at 1:00 pm and will conclude by 2:00 pm. Students should pack all their belongings prior to the closing.

    Cancellation Policy

    If you must cancel, email as soon as possible to decline the acceptance so that a student on the waiting list may attend. A $100 administrative fee will be retained for cancellations received by June 1st. Cancellations made after June 1st will not be refunded.


    You may request a roommate once you have been accepted to the program and are asked to fill out enrollment forms. If you do not have a specific request for a roommate, you will be matched with another student from the program. Students who have medical conditions or other unique circumstances may request a single room.

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