Governor's School FAQs

Establishing a governor's school program requires participation in the political process. While each state has different strategies for creating governor's schools, the general process is as follows.

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Most governor's schools are held on college campuses. Each state's process for choosing the location of individual governor's schools is unique.

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Governor's school programs are funded, in part or in full, by state legislatures and/or governor's offices. As a result, governor's schools are available exclusively to residents of the funding state or commonwealth. Students living in states that do not have a governor's school program are unable to attend. As a result, the National Conference of Governor's Schools encourages parents and youth in states without governor's school programs to lobby their elected representatives to propose and fund such programs.

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Although the National Conference of Governor's Schools affiliates and represents only summer residential governor's school programs, other types of programs do exist.

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The number of states that operate summer residential governor's school programs fluctuates as programs gains and lose legislative funding. For example, Tennessee lost all its governor's school programs one year as a result of budget cuts; the programs were then reinstated, in slightly modified form, the following year. In general, between 15 and 20 states offer governor's school programs any given summer.

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Not all governors or state legislatures wish to connect the governor's school program to the governor. While the reasons for such decisions are largely political, the defining characteristic of being endorsed and supported by the state or commonwealth remains consistent from program to program, regardless of name.

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The Governors' School concept and practice began in North Carolina in 1963 when Governor Terry Sanford established the first one at Salem College in Winston-Salem, NC. The idea came from a member of Governor Sanford's staff, novelist John Ehle. This first school was initially funded through a grant from the Carnegie Corporation. Later it came under the auspices of the North Carolina Board of Education.

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Since most governor's school programs are partially funded and wholly endorsed by the state or commonwealth, tuition fees are kept as low as possible.

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