Five years ago, President Barack Obama said, “…Leadership tomorrow depends on how we educate our students today – especially in science, technology, engineering, and math.” Unfortunately, the United States has fallen way behind other countries when it comes to students pursuing these subjects. Though we have the most prestigious institutions in the world in which to study STEM subjects, very few American students are pursuing academic and professional careers in engineering and sciences.

At the same time, we have incredibly interesting and important work going on right here in the United States with projects like Google’s self-driving car, the Department of Defense teaching robots the difference between right and wrong, and so much more. The industries that set our country apart and make us great are in dire need of skilled and talented students, and to give young people incentives to follow their dreams into these fields, the federal government is now offering STEM grants to these students.

If you are interested in entering a major related to STEM subjects, you may qualify for a governmental grant, a private scholarship, or some other financial aid. According to the president and our government, cost should not be a prohibitive factor in educating the next generation of engineers and innovators.

The industries that most need students like you are very much aware of the lack of talent coming out of high schools and colleges today, and they’re also on board with creating incentives to keep students interested and engaged with STEM subjects through high school and college. These incentives include a number of scholarships that can help you graduate from a STEM program without a mountain of student loan debt.

The SMART Scholarship

Just one example of the many STEM grants and scholarships, the SMART (Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation) is a Department of Defense backed program that has been put in place to get more civilian scientists working with the DoD. Students who are awarded this scholarship are given a full scholarship for their studies, and when they graduate they are guaranteed a full-time position working in their field for the Department of Defense.

AFCEA STEM Teacher Scholarships

At the same time that we need new scientists, engineers, and innovators today, we also need to raise and educate children to value STEM subjects. That’s why AFCEA is sponsoring $5000 STEM teaching scholarships, which are awarded to students pursuing careers teaching STEM subjects.

Corporate STEM Scholarships

Over the next five years, alone, the job increases in all STEM fields are expected to rise by 14%. Opportunities for software and systems developers are expected to increase by 32%, while biomedical engineering careers are expected to rise by an astounding 62%. American industries need skilled people to do these jobs, and they are very willing to pay the price of STEM grants and scholarships to prepare the next generation to get there.

For example, the Gates Millennium Scholarship is an annual STEM scholarship offered to minority students. The Dell Scholars Program was founded to help under-served students achieve their dreams, and each winner in this program is awarded $20,000 for their studies. Oracle partners with no less than ten different organizations to bring STEM grants and scholarships to minority and underprivileged students, as well.

Applying for STEM Grants and Scholarships

So what is the difference between a STEM grant and a STEM scholarship? Most STEM grants are awarded on the basis of financial need, while some also take minority status and/or gender into account, as well. While almost all STEM grants and scholarships will have performance requirements, scholarships will be more heavily weighed on merit than on financial need.

Not all STEM grants and scholarships will require an essay or personal statement, but most will require at least one reference letter from a teacher or counselor, demonstration of merit, and proof of financial need. The requirements for each of these will differ from one another, and you can find each within individual scholarship application instructions.

If you are looking for and applying to STEM grants and scholarships, beware of scam sites that are only interested in taking your money and/or stealing your identity. Do not give any personal or financial information out when applying for scholarships or when registering for scholarship search sites.

When looking for legitimate STEM grants and scholarships, check out the websites we’ve included in this article and the organizations associated with them. There are many legitimate opportunities out there to help you pay for your education and get your career launched as an engineer, scientist, and innovative thinker in a thriving field. Follow these precautions, and you’ll have a very good chance of finding a great scholarship to help you. Good luck!

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