STEM education has been a hot topic over the past few years, with an emphasis on skills in science, technology, engineering, and math. Many career opportunities exist in these fields, so schools are shaping educational programs to prepare students for the modern workforce.
According to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities have been growing in STEM fields, with a growth rate higher than the rate in other industries. What’s more, this employment growth in STEM fields is predicted to continue for the next several years.
The good news about STEM occupations from the BLS report also includes the fact that salaries in STEM fields are high. The report states that in 2015, “The national average wage for all STEM occupations was $87,570, nearly double the national average wage for non-STEM occupations ($45,700).”
For those excited about careers in these areas, a college degree is crucial. As the BLS report explains, “Over 99 percent of STEM employment was in occupations that typically require some type of postsecondary education.”
But how can students afford to pay for a college degree in a STEM field? Luckily, many scholarships are available. Phillips Charitable Organization, for example, has provided financial assistance and guidance to students who are pursuing engineering degrees, and supports STEM education programs directly. Other opportunities for degree-seeking students include:
Stokes Educational Scholarship Program
This scholarship program is sponsored by the National Security Agency (NSA). High school seniors, particularly minority students, who intend to major in computer science, computer engineering, or electrical engineering are welcome to apply.
The scholarship awards up to $30,000 for tuition and fees at your choice of college or university. It also provides 12 weeks of employment at NSA each summer. Housing and travel for the summer employment is provided for recipients who meet certain requirements as well.
The award does stipulate that recipients must work for NSA for a set amount of time after graduation. However, this requirement comes with guaranteed employment at NSA, and it includes health and life insurance benefits, as well as participation in a retirement plan.
NIH Undergraduate Scholarship Program
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers this scholarship for undergraduate students. Students interested in health-related research are invited to apply.
The one-year scholarship offers up to $20,000 for tuition, other educational expenses, and living expenses. The scholarship is renewable for up to four years. It also provides a 10-week paid summer laboratory experience at the NIH each year.
The award stipulates that recipients must work for the NIH for at least one year, per year of scholarship awarded. However, this requirement guarantees employment at the NIH after graduation.
UNCF STEM Scholars
This scholars program is intended for African American students enrolling for the first time in a college or university. Applicants must be committed to completing a STEM degree.
The scholars program is renewable for up to five years, with the awards increasing over time. Recipients receive $2,500 per year for the first two years of the degree program and $5,000 each of the last two years. Students in a five-year program receive an additional $5,000 for their final year.
Recipients can also participate in a summer conference, benefit from academic and career support programs, and obtain a $5,000 stipend to participate in a STEM-related internship.
SWE Scholarships are sponsored by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Applications are available for those entering a college or university for the first time, as well as for sophomores through graduate students. Recipients must be women enrolled in an ABET-accredited engineering, technology, or computing degree program.
Scholarships are awarded in amounts that vary from $1,000 to $15,000. Some scholarships can be renewed for multiple years, and scholarships are also available for non-traditional and returning students.
National Society of High School Scholars Foundation
These STEM scholarships are provided by the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS). They are intended for high school seniors who are members of underrepresented groups and are planning to pursue a degree in a STEM-related major.
The scholarship awards $1,000 and has an overarching goal of diversifying the STEM college student population and the technology workforce.
B.A. Rudolph Foundation STEM Scholarship
These scholarships provided by the B.A. Rudolph Foundation are for female college students who intend to take an unpaid internship, fellowship, or similar position in a STEM-related field. The scholarship should be used the summer before the recipients’ junior or senior year, or soon after graduation.
The STEM scholarship provides support for living and travel expenses in the amount of $1,600 per month for a maximum of 12 weeks. Because the length of the program each recipient participates in will vary, the amount awarded to each recipient also differs.
Recipients are required to complete a final project at the conclusion of their scholarship period that explains the impact their summer program had on helping them reach their goals. Additionally, recipients must complete a survey at the conclusion of their scholarship period. Finally, recipients must be willing to help promote the B.A. Rudolph Foundation.