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Limited resources are a challenge for many ICMA members in their pursuit of gaining the tools they need to better manage their communities. In order to help members experience the difference that the ICMA Annual Conference has made for so many others, ICMA offers the opportunity to apply for conference assistance.

The applications for the 2024 Annual Conference will open in May. Scholarship recipients will be informed no later than August 1, 2024. The 2024 Conference is scheduled for September 21- 25 in Pittsburgh/Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. This conference will offer an in-person as well as a digital registration. Registrants for the in-person event will also receive access to the digital event. ICMA's Conference Assistance Scholarships provide members with assistance in attending the conference through complimentary registration and a travel stipend.

Scholarship Categories

The scholarships are divided into three categories. You may apply for more than one category if you meet the requirements; however, you may only be awarded one scholarship. The top six ranked candidates in each category (Early Career Professional, Workplace Diversity, Small Community Employee) will be awarded a complimentary in-person registration, plus a travel stipend.

Early Career Professional

Open to any ICMA member with three years or less experience as a full-time local government employee. There is no minimum salary requirement, although salary might be considered during the evaluation process. (See note under "How to Apply.")

Workplace Diversity

Our mission is to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This scholarship benefits ICMA members from historically marginalized or underrepresented populations (i.e., persons with disabilities or persons minoritized due to race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, immigration status, or religious affiliation). It is the applicant’s responsibility to demonstrate (through additional information included in the scholarship application) how your background merits receipt of an equity scholarship and how the local government and the community served will benefit from your conference attendance. There is no minimum salary or tenure cutoff for the Workplace Diversity scholarship, although those factors may be considered during the evaluation process.

Small Community Employee

Open to any ICMA member serving in a small community with limited financial resources. There is no minimum population; however, applicants can self-select and demonstrate their need in their scholarship application. There is no minimum salary requirement, although salary might be considered during the evaluation process.

Edwin O. Stene Scholarship

The Edwin O. Stene Scholarship was created in 1986 to honor Dr. Edwin O. Stene, a University of Kansas professor, and his efforts in recruiting young people into the local government. The scholarship includes complimentary registration and a stipend to assist with travel costs. 

The Edwin O. Stene Scholarship of $1,500 is awarded annually by ICMA to a graduate student who has little or no full-time experience in local government, internships excluded. Conference registration is included, and the stipend is intended to cover travel and lodging expenses.

The scholarship award was created in 1986 with a donation of $5,000 from KUCIMAT (Kansas University City Managers and Trainees) to honor Dr. Edwin O. Stene, a University of Kansas professor. The KUCIMAT board asked that the award be created for Dr. Stene for his dedication to recruiting young people into the local government management profession

Conference Assistance Eligibility for Early Career Professional, Workplace Diversity, Small Community Employee Scholarships

To be eligible for any of ICMA’s Conference Assistance (Early Career Professional, Workplace Diversity, Small Community Employee), an applicant must:

  • Be a member of ICMA at time of application. Visit the website to join.
  • Be a full-time local government employee (not a part-time/intern/fellow).
  • Submit a completed application (see next bullet).
  • Demonstrate, through a 500-word (or less) essay, an avid interest in a career in local government management and a need for financial assistance to attend the annual conference.
  • Must not have attended an in-person ICMA Annual Conference in the past five years (excluding attendance as fellow or student).
  • Submit biography and head shot upon receipt of a scholarship.
  • Make a post about the conference to preferred social media source once a day.

Eligible candidates may submit an application to multiple categories if they meet the requirements; however, candidates will only be awarded one scholarship.

Candidates for Conference Assistance Scholarships must be ICMA members at time of application. To apply for membership, contact ICMA’s Membership Services Department at 202/962-3680;, or visit the website to join.

How to Apply for the Early Career Professional, Workplace Diversity and Small Community Employee Scholarships

  1. The 2023 Scholarship Application is closed.
  2. You must be an ICMA member and logged into the ICMA website in order to submit an application.
  3. Once you are logged into your “My ICMA” account, you will see “awards” on the top blue menu bar. Hover over the “awards” tab and you will see the link for "Apply For Conference Assistance."
  4. Follow the online prompts and be sure to fill out all information. Do not forget to upload the essay. (Essay must be named with no spaces in the name of the document, i.e., SmithEssay.doc., and must have a .doc, .docx or .pdf extension).
  5. The 2023 Scholarship Application is closed.


Edwin O. Stene Scholarship Criteria and How to Apply


  1. A full-time graduate student (enrolled by the start of annual conference).
  2. Enrollment in a local government program at a college or university recognized by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration.
  3. Demonstration of a strong undergraduate academic record.
  4. Expressed interest in a career in local government general management.
  5. Little or no full-time experience in local government, internships excluded.

How to Apply:

The 2023 Edward O. Stene Schollarship Applicaiton is closed.

  1. Submit two letters of recommendation:
    • A letter of sponsorship from the department head, dean, or director of the public administration/affairs/policy or related program in which the applicant is enrolled.
    • A letter of recommendation from a local government manager, previous employer, or an additional academician.
  2. Prepare an essay (not to exceed 300 words) describing your interest and career objectives in local government management. 
  3. Provide unofficial undergraduate and graduate transcripts.

The 2023 Edward O. Stene Scholarship is Closed

Nonmembers: For New Members Only

If you have been considering joining ICMA and/or attending the annual conference, sign up between June 8 and September 21 to save 50% off your first year annual membership fee when you attend the 2023 ICMA Annual Conference in Austin, Texas. Join, Go, and Save Now!

ICMA Members in Transition

MITs are granted complimentary registration to the ICMA Annual Conference. There is a limited amount of funds available to provide travel stipends to MIT members. Contact Rosalyn Ceasar at or 202-962-3544.

ICMA Partners (of ICMA members) Scholarship Program

The Partners Conference Scholarship Program, created in the memory of Frances “Babs” Elwell, continues its mission to provide scholarships for partners of ICMA members who have never attended an ICMA Annual Conference. Application deadline is August 16. Get the details.

State Associations

Check your state association website (see list of state associations here) because many of them offer ICMA Annual Conference scholarships as well. 

Affiliate Associations

Many of our affiliate associations (see list of ICMA Affiliates here) also offer scholarships.

Direct questions about Conference Assistance to; 202-962-3551.