History and Purpose

Over the last 10 years, VSP has provided more than $1 million dollars in scholarship support to hundreds of optometry students. This year the American Academy of Optometry is hosting a joint annual meeting with the 3rd World Congress of Optometry in Orlando, FL. To commemorate the meeting, VSP is generously providing opportunities to students at selected Australian schools who are pursuing a future as private practitioners to learn more about what VSP, the Academy, and the Foundation has to offer.

The scholarships will be funded through the VSP Global companies Eyes of Hope® Global Charitable Fund and administered by the AAOF.


The scholarship will enable these outstanding students to attend a premier education opportunity in primary eye care, as well as attend a reception co-hosted by VSP Global and AAOF to help foster networking opportunities and teach the importance of Academy Fellowship.

VSP, through the American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF), will make one award of $2,500 each to one student entering their fourth year (graduating class of 2020) at each of the Australian institutions of optometry listed. The student must attend the VSP reception at Academy 2019 Orlando to receive the award. No additional travel grant will be awarded with this scholarship.

Eligibility and Nomination

The submission window opens July 1, 2019 and closes August 30, 2019.

VSP Global® has partnered with the American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF) to provide scholarships for optometry students at five Australian optometric schools.

  1. Deakin University
  2. Flinders University
  3. QUT – Queensland University of Technology, School of Optometry and Vision Science
  4. University of Melbourne
  5. University of New South Wales, Sydney

The scholarships will be funded through the VSP Global companies Eyes of Hope® Global Charitable Fund and administered by the AAOF.

Scholarship recipients must be a student member of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO). Please visit Student Membership for more information.

Each institution's Awards and Scholarship committee is tasked with selecting a pool of five business minded students who meet the clinical and academic standards below and then & choose two scholarship recipients.

The AAOF will not accept applications directly from students for this program. AAOF will notify institutional contacts that the submission window is open for nominations.

Demonstrated excellence

  • Clinical Performance: Candidates must excel in delivering primary eye care services to clinical patients.
  • Academic Performance: Candidates must have a grade point average that ranks in the top half of the class.

Future private practitioners

  • Student should have a commitment to enter the independent practice of optometry.
  • Participation in the private practice or practice management club on campus recommended with special consideration given to students who have served a leadership role.
  • At the discretion of the selection committee, the selection process may include a written essay that encompasses the independent practice goals of the candidate.

Award Notes

The VSP/AAOF Australian Practice Excellence Scholarship Program will be based on the above performance criteria only. Recipients shall not be restricted from receiving this scholarship as a result of receiving other awards, scholarships or grants-in-aid.

Each institution will be provided with an institution specific login and password for an online submission tool that will gather the institutions nominations.

Please send program materials to AAOF via: Jennifer Rubin - Foundation Program Manager Email: AAOF@aaoptom.org / Fax: 407-893-9890

Recognition of Recipients

The recipient will be presented with a check for $2,500 and an engraved plaque during a special reception sponsored by VSP which will take place at Academy 2019 Orlando (invitation to follow). To receive the scholarship the student must also submit an IRS W-9 form or W-8BEN form if non-U.S. resident , no less than one month prior to attending the AAO annual meeting.

Each recipient of an AAOF award is requested to volunteer a small portion their time at the AAOF exhibit hall booth during Academy. Further details will be included in official congratulatory letters. 

Institutions are encouraged to also recognize the recipients at any planned award ceremonies that may be held prior to graduation.

Foundation Policies

Institution representatives typically receive a confirming email within 1-3 business days after receipt of program materials. An additional message is only sent if your institution's nominations are not received by deadline. If you do not receive a confirmation contact Jennifer Rubin, Foundation Program Manager, at: Jenniferr@aaoptom.org or call our office: 321-319-4870.

All scholarship recipients by acceptance of the program funds agree to allow the AAOF and/or the sponsor of the program to publish their name, image, institution information, and any statement or quote provided by the recipient. These items may appear in a variety of media formats that will announce and promote the program including, but not limited to, the AAOF and/or sponsor annual report, optometric media publications, website, social media, and annual meeting promotional materials.

For further information on this program or any other offered by the AAOF contact:

Jennifer Rubin - Foundation Program Manager
American Academy of Optometry Foundation
2909 Fairgreen Street
Orlando, FL 32803, USA
Phone: 321-319-4872 


 2019 is the inaugural year for this award.

About VSP Eyes of Hope

Eyes of Hope® is a global charity platform supporting activities that directly impact communities to give the gift of sight. United with one mission, multiple programs within the Eyes of Hope platform take on challenges involving access to eyecare around the globe.