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Financial Aid for
STEM Education Scholarships & Other Resources to Help You Pay for a STEM Degree

Careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics continue to be among the most in-demand and highest-paying available but earning the required degree to qualify for these careers can be expensive. Fortunately, there are a lot of financial aid opportunities available for students interested in a STEM education. In this guide, you’ll find a list of current STEM scholarships and other resources to help make the cost of college more affordable.

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Scholarships, Grants & Fellowships for All STEM Students

Last updated: December 21, 2017

STEM Scholarships, Grants & Fellowships for Women & Minorities

Women

Minorities

Last updated: December 21, 2017

Other Ways to Get Financial Aid

The scholarships, fellowships and grants listed above aren’t the only ways to pay for a STEM degree. Here’s an overview of other options you may want to consider:

  • State-sponsored financial aid programs

    All states have financial aid programs of their own and offer a range of assistance, including scholarships and grants, to resident students. Some programs are merit-based, some need-based and some both. A great place to start your research on what your state has to offer is the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. You can also contact your state’s department of education or a specific college’s financial aid department to learn more.

  • Special incentive programs

    Some states offer incentive programs specifically for STEM students. Two examples are the NYS STEM Incentive Program and the Montana University System’s STEM Scholarship Program.

    Contact the financial aid officer at your school, or your state’s higher education office to see if a similar program is available where you live.

  • STEM-related contents or competitions

    Because STEM is all about innovation, many organizations, companies and even some colleges now host contents or competitions. Participants may be required to create an app, video game or develop a product. Winners may receive a cash reward that can be used towards college-related expenses but even if there isn’t a cash prize, the recognition can be used to boost your credentials and bring you one step closer to a STEM scholarship.

  • General scholarship and grant programs

    There are tons of non-STEM specific scholarships and grants out there that STEM students can also apply to. Sponsors include corporations, industry groups, national and local service organizations, unions and even private citizens.

    Finding scholarships you qualify for can be a challenge. A good place to start online is Scholarships.com. But be sure to stop by your school’s financial aid office for more leads.

  • Employer reimbursement benefits

    More and more employers are offering education reimbursement programs for their employees and, sometimes, their children. Employers recognize the value in retaining good workers who want to move up the professional ladder. If you’re considering pursuing a STEM-related certification, class or degree, talk to someone in HR to see if you can be reimbursed for it.

  • Work study

    Most colleges offer work study opportunities to students with a demonstrated financial need. Students typically work part-time on their campus in food service facilities, libraries and elsewhere on campus. STEM students may want to look into work study opportunities that are directly related to their field. Visit your school’s financial aid office more information.

  • Assistantships

    Almost all colleges have openings for teaching, lab and/or research assistants. Some positions come as part of a financial aid package, while others require students to apply and may be limited to a specific STEM department. Speak with your department head to see if STEM assistantship positions are available.

Ways to Cut Costs

Making college affordable involves more than just securing financial aid. Below are a few suggestions for cutting the costs of your STEM education:

  • Live at home

    Living at home is cheaper than paying for a dorm room or apartment. For some, it may also help you stay focused.

  • Expand your school choices

    Considering several different colleges can open the doors to greater savings and better financial aid opportunities. Many colleges now offer STEM degrees so, keep an open mind when it comes to picking your college.

  • Consider an online degree

    While you may not save that much on tuition and fees if you pursue an online degree, you can save money on other college-related expenses and fees. Most accredited and reputable colleges with STEM programs offer online learning options. The curricula and academic rigor are almost always the same for an online degree as for one earned on a traditional campus. And, in most cases, there’s no difference at all between a degree earned online and one earned on-campus in terms of your academic record or what’s on your diploma.

  • Start at a community college

    All students are required to complete general education courses as part of their degree program. Cost per unit/credit for these courses is typically more affordable at a community college than at a four-year university. So, you can save a lot by attending a community college the first year or two of your college career, and then transferring to a four-year school to complete your STEM degree.

How to Maximize Your Chances

Finding scholarship opportunities and submitting applications on time are two important steps in the STEM scholarship process, but they’re not the only ones. Here are a few recommendations to help maximize your chances of landing a STEM scholarship:

  • Pursue STEM classes and extracurriculars

    Scholarships are competitive, particularly those related to STEM studies. Demonstrate your passion and interest in the field by taking STEM-related courses in high school, especially AP courses. If you’re already in college, consider working or volunteering as a lab or research assistant for a professor in your department. Anything you can add to your resume regarding your chosen STEM field can help you stand out from other scholarship applicants.

  • Go for the tough ones

    It’s human nature to chart the easiest course possible in most endeavors, but doing so when it comes to scholarships can be a big mistake. Some scholarship programs are tougher than others when it comes to application requirements, but don’t let that scare you away.

  • Write a great essay

    If a scholarship application requires an essay, give yourself lots of time to write a great one. If writing isn’t your strong suit, ask a teacher, academic advisor, family member or friend to read it and give you feedback for improvement. You can also hire a writing tutor to help you through the process.

  • Keep looking

    Even if you’ve already landed a scholarship, don’t stop looking for opportunities. New STEM scholarships can pop up anytime and existing ones that you didn’t win before may allow you to re-apply the following year. On top of that, some scholarships are available only to students who have been in college for at least a year or require applicants to be declared STEM majors – two requirements that might have taken you out of the running before but no longer apply.