NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Program (351481)

National Science Foundation (NSF)

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Next deadline: Mar 4, 2025

Later deadlines: Mar 3, 2026

Grant amount: US $100,000 - US $5,000,000

Fields of work: STEM/STEAM Education Education - Higher Education

Applicant type: College / University

Funding uses: Scholarship, Education / Outreach

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: United States


NOTE: This grant replace NSF 23-527. All applications are due by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. 

In 1998 Congress enacted the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act which provided funds to the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create a mechanism whereby the hiring of foreign workers in technology-intensive sectors on H-1B visas would help address the long-term workforce needs of the United States. Initially, scholarships were only provided for students in mathematics, engineering, and computer science. Later legislation authorized NSF to expand the eligible disciplines at the discretion of the NSF director. Undergraduate and graduate degrees in most disciplinary fields in which NSF provides research funding (with some exclusions described elsewhere in this document) are eligible as long as there is a national or regional demand for professionals with those degrees to address the long-term workforce needs of the United States.

The main goal of the S-STEM program is to enable low-income students with academic ability, talent or potential to pursue successful careers in promising STEM fields. Ultimately, the S-STEM program seeks to increase the number of academically promising low-income students who graduate with a S-STEM eligible degree and contribute to the American innovation economy with their STEM knowledge. Recognizing that financial aid alone cannot increase retention and graduation in STEM, the program provides awards to institutions of higher education (IHEs) not only to fund scholarships, but also to adapt, implement, and study evidence-based curricular and co-curricular [1] activities that have been shown to be effective supporting recruitment, retention, transfer (if appropriate), student success, academic/career pathways, and graduation in STEM.

Social mobility for low-income students with academic potential is even more crucial than for students that enjoy other economic support structures. Hence, social mobility cannot be guaranteed unless the scholarship funds the pursuit of degrees in areas where rewarding jobs are available after graduation with an undergraduate or graduate degree. The S-STEM program encourages collaborations, including but not limited to partnerships among different types of institutions; collaborations of S-STEM eligible faculty, researchers, and academic administrators focused on investigating the factors that affect low-income student success (e.g., institutional, educational, behavioral and social science researchers); and partnerships among institutions of higher education and business, industry, local community organizations, national labs, or other federal or state government organizations, as appropriate.

To be eligible, scholars must be domestic low-income students, with academic ability, talent or potential and with demonstrated unmet financial need who are enrolled in an associate, baccalaureate, or graduate degree program in an S-STEM eligible discipline. Proposers must provide an analysis that articulates the characteristics and academic needs of the population of students they are trying to serve. NSF is particularly interested in supporting the attainment of degrees in fields identified as critical needs for the Nation. Many of these fields have high demand for training professionals that can operate at the convergence of disciplines and include but are not limited to quantum computing and quantum science, robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning, computer science and computer engineering, data science and computational science applied to other frontier STEM areas, and other STEM or technology fields in urgent need of domestic professionals.


  • Awards for Track 1 (Institutional Capacity Building) projects may not exceed $1,000,000 total for a maximum duration of 6 years.
  • Awards for Track 2 (Implementation: Single Institution) projects may not exceed $2,000,000 total for a maximum duration of 6 years.
  • Awards for Track 3 (Inter-institutional Consortia) projects may not exceed $5,000,000 total for a maximum duration of 6 years.
  • Collaborative Planning projects may not exceed $100,000 for a maximum duration of 1 year.

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This page was last reviewed March 19, 2024 and last updated February 26, 2024