RSVBee is a participation pathway that qualifies more spellers for the national finals. It is the only way students living in unsponsored regions can advance and is an additional opportunity for the best spellers in the country to compete on the national stage. This year, the Scripps National Spelling Bee will introduce new features to its popular invitational program to enhance the annual Bee Week experience for champion spellers and their families. 

Applications will open on February 11, 2020, and the deadline to apply is March 29, 2020.
There is a $7.50 nonrefundable application fee.


The RSVBee application is open to 7th and 8th grade students who attend a Bee-enrolled school. Each applicant must be either a school spelling bee champion for the 2019-2020 school year or have previously participated in the national finals.


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Important Dates and Deadlines

February 11 – RSVBee application window opens
March 29 – RSVBee application window closes
March 31 – Invitations go out via email to first round of invitees (about 140 applicants)
April 2 – 12 p.m. EST deadline for initial round of invitees to accept and pay $1,500 participation fee; second round of invitations go out via email (pending available spots)
April 7 – 12 p.m. EST deadline for second round of invitees (pending available spots) to accept and pay $1,500 participation fee

New This Year: Financial Aid

The Bee will now offer financial aid packages to spellers who qualify for RSVBee but whose families might not be able to afford the entry fee and cost of traveling to National Harbor, Maryland. 


For 2020, the Bee will award up to 18 financial aid packages to pay a majority of the RSVBee expense for qualified families. The aid will include:

  • the $1,500 participation fee
  • a hotel room for six nights during Bee Week
  • a $500 gift card for meals
  • a $500 stipend for travel. 


Parents who receive financial aid for their child will be responsible for any additional travel expenses to the competition, which is held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.
Parents can apply for financial aid after receiving an RSVBee invitation. Children who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch are eligible for financial help. It is available only for students living in the U.S. (50 states). The Bee will verify financial aid applications and award aid on a first-come, first-served basis.


Press Release