An important update about the 2020 Scripps National Spelling Bee:

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is canceling its 2020 national finals due to the ongoing concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus and uncertainty around when public gatherings will be possible or advisable.


This decision follows the Bee’s announcement on March 20 that it was suspending the national finals and hoped to reschedule. The Bee has determined there is no clear path to safely set a new date in 2020. Learn More

Our RSVBee program has become a very important pathway for champion spellers to advance to the national finals. It has created many opportunities for spellers who previously had no other means to advance. Our hearts go out to all the students who have worked diligently on their spelling and vocabulary to be prepared in case they received an RSVBee invitation. 


Among those spellers are students in eighth grade. Students who have advanced beyond the eighth grade are not eligible to participate in the spelling bee program. It is so unfortunate that eighth graders won’t get their final shot at winning because of the pandemic and the difficult decisions it is forcing the Bee to make. Current eighth graders will not be eligible to participate as ninth graders in 2021.


While plans for a 2020 championship have ended, the Bee is engaging now with teachers, students and parents by offering educational resources and social media-based learning opportunities. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to learn more. We also have created a new weekly Bee-sources newsletter that parents and teachers can subscribe to receive more resources on spelling, vocabulary and reading.


The 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee is scheduled for June 1-3, 2021, in National Harbor, Maryland. We will share information about the RSVBee program later this year in preparation for the 2021 national finals. 

Applications are now closed as of March 20, 2020.


Applications were open beginning February 11, 2020.
There was a $7.50 nonrefundable application fee.


The RSVBee application was 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.


Important Dates and Deadlines

February 11 – RSVBee application window opens
April 26 – RSVBee application window closes
April 27 – Invitations go out via email to first round of invitees (about 140 applicants)
April 29 – 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)
May 1 – 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