WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) today encouraged eligible Mississippi high school students to apply for the 2014 U.S. Senate Youth Program (USSYP).

A Sept. 30, 2013, application deadline has been set for students who want to be one of the two Mississippi high school students who will represent the state at the 52st annual USSYP Washington Week, March 8-15 in Washington D.C. High school seniors or juniors involved in student government at public or private schools are eligible for the week-long program.

The selection process is based, in part, on academic achievement, leadership capabilities and public service.

"The U.S. Senate Youth Program is an educational and scholarship program that will offer two Mississippi students an opportunity to learn more about our government, leadership and public service," Cochran said.

"This exceptional learning experience brings together students from all over the country to help build leadership skills and a commitment to public service," Wicker said.

"It also provides Mississippi students with the opportunity to see firsthand how the U.S. Senate and federal government functions."

The Hearst Foundation, which fully funds and administers the USSYP, will provide each of the 104 delegates with a $5,000 undergraduate scholarship and a trip to Washington. The program was established by the U.S. Senate in 1962 to expose student leaders to the federal government and the U.S Senate.

While in the nation's capital, the selected Mississippi students will join delegates from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity. The USSYP Washington Week program includes meetings with a Supreme Court Justice, U.S. Senators, cabinet secretaries and other policy makers.

Mississippi's 2013 Senate Youth Program delegates were Ethan Cartwright of Starkville and Brian Harrison of Pearl.

Interested students may visit www.ussenateyouth.org to access a 2014 USSYP brochure outlining the rules and selection process information.

Students may also contact their high school principal or Mississippi's state-level selection administrator: Cecily McNair, Director, Mississippi Teacher Center, (601) 359-3631 or cmcnair@mde.k12.ms.us