STEM Scholarships: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math scholarships comprise a sizeable percentage of today’s college and university scholarships. While the liberal arts may have been quite popular in the mid-twentieth century and actually continue to enjoy considerable interest, the STEM majors are becoming more and more popular.
With technology making leaps and bounds over the last 20-odd years and careers in related fields becoming more common and more profitable, students are finding the ROI from such pursuits very appealing. Add to that the increased popularity of “nerdy” careers and the desire to be a part of the rapidly expanding and multiplying social media platforms and SaaS products, along with myriad advances in medical technology, specialized engineering opportunities and a near endless list of other applications for such degrees and you begin to see the big tech picture.
Even though STEM jobs tend to pay more than other industries, students still want to minimize how much they have to borrow in student loans. Those who don’t qualify for enough internal grants and scholarships can apply for STEM scholarships from third-party organizations and companies.
What is a STEM Scholarship?
STEM scholarships are designed for students interested in studying computer science, engineering, healthcare science and more. These scholarships may be sponsored by companies in the STEM field or organizations promoting STEM careers.
Both undergraduate and graduate students can apply for STEM scholarships, though scholarships are more common for undergraduate students.
Some STEM scholarships may only be given on a one-time basis, while others are guaranteed for a certain number of years. If a STEM scholarship renews for multiple years, you must generally maintain a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) or keep a STEM-related major.
How to Apply for a STEM Scholarship
Applying for a STEM scholarship is like applying for any other kind of scholarship. Make sure to read through the instructions carefully and submit everything by the scholarship deadline.
The essay portion may ask questions related to your interest in STEM. This is where you can highlight your passion. If you have to provide a letter of recommendation, choose a teacher who can speak to your knowledge of STEM. This doesn’t have to be the teacher of a class where you earn the best grades - just someone you respect and with whom you have a good relationship. Ideally, this teacher should also know about your enthusiasm for STEM. If you’re allowed to choose a non-teacher, you can even pick the sponsor for your robotics club or the supervisor at your last summer internship.
Remember to allow whomever you ask for a "lor" at least a few weeks’ notice so they have enough time to write a high-quality letter. If you wait until the last minute, they might refuse or draft something generic.
Frequently asked questions about STEM scholarships
Who is eligible for STEM scholarships?
The eligibility criteria for STEM scholarships vary depending on the scholarship provider. Some STEM scholarships may be available to students pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in STEM fields, while others may be targeted towards specific demographics, such as women, minorities, or veterans.
How much money can I receive from STEM scholarships?
The amount of money awarded from STEM scholarships can vary widely, from a few hundred dollars to full tuition coverage. It depends on the scholarship and the amount of funds available.
What is the deadline for STEM scholarships?
The deadlines for STEM scholarships vary depending on the scholarship. Some have early deadlines, while others have late deadlines. It's important to check the deadline for each scholarship and submit your application as early as possible.
Can I apply for STEM scholarships if I'm not pursuing a STEM degree?
Most STEM scholarships are targeted towards students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. Science scholarships cover a lot of different concentrations and include Health Sciences, Social Sciences and dozens of others. However, there may be some scholarships that are open to students pursuing other majors or disciplines. It's important to check the eligibility requirements for each scholarship before applying.
Do I have to repay STEM scholarships?
Most STEM scholarships are grants or gifts, which means you do not have to repay them. However, some scholarships may have conditions that require you to maintain a certain GPA or fulfill certain obligations, such as community service or research. It's important to read and understand the terms and conditions of each scholarship.
Can I get a STEM scholarship as a graduate or doctoral student?
Yes, graduate and doctoral students are eligible to apply for STEM scholarships. In fact, there are many STEM scholarships specifically targeted towards graduate and doctoral students in STEM fields. These scholarships can be based on academic merit, research potential, financial need, or other criteria, depending on the scholarship.
To find STEM scholarships for graduate or doctoral students, you can check with your school's financial aid office, professional organizations in your field, or search for scholarship opportunities online. It's important to research and apply for scholarships early, as many have application deadlines and limited funds available.
It's also important to note that some STEM scholarships may require recipients to work in a STEM-related field or participate in research activities after graduation. Be sure to read and understand the terms and conditions of each scholarship before applying.
Are STEM scholarships based on financial need?
STEM scholarships may or may not be based on financial need, as the eligibility criteria vary depending on the scholarship provider. Some STEM scholarships are based solely on academic merit, while others may consider financial need as one of the eligibility criteria.
For example, the Minnesota State Grant program provides need-based financial aid to students pursuing STEM majors who demonstrate financial need. Similarly, the Minnesota Indian Scholarship program offers financial assistance to American Indian students pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in STEM fields.
However, there are also many STEM scholarships that are based solely on academic merit, leadership, or other criteria, without considering financial need. To find STEM scholarships that match your qualifications and needs, you can check with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, your school's financial aid office, or search for scholarship opportunities online. It's important to research and apply for scholarships early, as many have application deadlines and limited funds available.