States That Help Latino and Black Students Pay for STEM Education
Several states in the United States have implemented scholarships or initiatives to help Black and Latino students with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) tuition.
Scholarships are one way to help cover the costs of education. Scholarships vary in size and application requirements. Some scholarships are awarded based on grades and achievement, while others are awarded based on need. Unlike loans, they do not have to be repaid. The scholarship application process is separate from the federal and state financial aid application and students can search for scholarships year-round and deadlines are scattered throughout the year.
Below are a variety of states have programs that will cover tuition and assorted fees, putting you on a debt-free path to success — if you know where to look.
New York: The “Excelsior Scholarship” offers tuition-free education at New York State’s public colleges and universities for families whose household income is below a certain threshold. This includes STEM fields. The Excelsior Scholarship, in combination with other student financial aid programs, allows students to attend a SUNY or CUNY college tuition-free. The program covers tuition for eligible SUNY and CUNY students. For the 2023-24 academic year, families who earned $125,000 or less in the tax year 2021 are eligible to apply.
Maryland: The “Howard P. Rawlings Guaranteed Access Grant” provides financial aid to low-income students pursuing STEM degrees at Maryland colleges and universities. The Guaranteed Access Grant is a need-based grant that provides 100% of the student’s financial need to eligible applicants. Also available are the Educational Assistance Grant, Campus Based Educational Assistance Grant, 2+2 Transfer Scholarship, Part-Time Grant, Graduate & Professional Scholarship Program, Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship, Near Completer Grant and Delegate Scholarship.
California: The “California State University STEM Teacher and Researcher (STAR) Program” provides scholarships to students pursuing STEM teaching credentials or careers in high-need California schools. Need-based Cal Grants are for students attending schools in the University of California, California State University or California Community College systems, or qualifying independent and career colleges or technical schools in the state.
Also available are the Golden State Education and Training Grant, California Chafee Grant for Foster Youth, Middle Class Scholarship, California Military Department GI Bill Award Program, Law Enforcement Personnel Dependents Grant Program, Golden State Teacher Grant Program and California Dream Act Service Incentive Program.
Florida: The “Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program” includes scholarships for students pursuing STEM majors at Florida universities.
Florida Bright Futures Scholarships are awarded by the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) for the Fall and Spring terms based on academic merit (Summer funds may also be available, as determined by FLDOE.). Funds cover up to 45 credit hours per academic year.
Along with other general requirements, students must complete the Florida Financial Aid Application no later than Aug. 31 after high school graduation and be enrolled in a minimum of six non-remedial credit hours per term to be eligible.
The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program has three award levels with different criteria for initial eligibility:
Students who have demonstrated academic merit through a recognition program may be eligible for Bright Futures without having to meet one or more of the requirements.
- Florida Academic Scholars (including Academic Top Scholars): Florida high school graduates must:
- Complete 16 credits of required high school coursework
- Achieve a minimum weighted high school GPA of 3.5
- Achieve minimum required scores on college entrance exams (29 ACT/1290 SAT)
- Complete 100 hours of community service
- Florida Medallion Scholars: Florida high school graduates must:
- Complete 16 credits of required high school coursework
- Achieve a minimum weighted high school GPA of 3.0
- Achieve minimum required scores on college entrance exams (26 ACT/1170 SAT)
- Complete 75 hours of community service
- Gold Seal Vocational Scholars: Florida high school graduates must:
- Achieve a minimum weighted high school GPA of 3.0 in non-elective high school courses and a minimum weighted high school GPA of 3.5 in career education courses
- Take at least three full credits in a single Career and Technical Education program
- Achieve required minimum scores on college entrance exams (ACT, SAT or PERT)
- Complete 30 hours of community service
Eligibility requirements vary for non-traditional students, including home education, GED and out-of-state students.
To learn more about eligibility requirements for each award, visit the Bright Futures Scholarships website.
Georgia: The “HOPE Career Grant” provides tuition assistance for students pursuing careers in high-demand industries, including STEM.
Michigan: The “Michigan Competitive Scholarship” provides financial aid to students pursuing STEM degrees in Michigan.
Oregon: The “Oregon Opportunity Grant” assists students pursuing STEM degrees at Oregon institutions, with priority given to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Also available are the Oregon Tribal Student Grant, Chafee Training and Education Grant, Oregon Student Child Care Grant, Deceased or Disabled Public Safety Officer Grant, and Oregon National Guard State Tuition Assistance.
Washington: The “Washington State Opportunity Scholarship” supports low- and middle-income students pursuing STEM degrees at eligible Washington institutions.
The Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS) supports Washington students on their path to high-demand careers in occupations. WSOS offers several pathways to high-demand careers in Washington state.
- Career & Technical Scholarship: For Opportunity Scholars who intend to earn their certificate, apprenticeship, or associate degree. CTS provides up to $1,500 per quarter for apprenticeship, certificate, or associate degree programs in STEM, health care, and the trades. Search the eligible CTS programs offered at Highline. Enter Highline in the search box to view program options.
- Baccalaureate Scholarship: For Opportunity Scholars who intend to earn their bachelor’s degree — including those who want to transfer or receive their bachelor’s degree from a community college. The Baccalaureate Scholarship (BaS) provides up to $22,500 in scholarship funding to students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in high-demand STEM and health care majors in Washington state. See if your major is eligible.
These are just a few examples, and many other states also offer various forms of financial aid, scholarships, grants, and loan forgiveness programs for students pursuing STEM education.
Founder IO Scholarships
Her determination and hard work paid off as she won grants and scholarships to pay for her entire education. In realizing how time consuming and complicated the process of finding scholarships for STEM diverse students was, María Fernanda created IO Scholarships to make things much easier. She learned first-hand to find, apply for and win scholarships and became an advocate promoting scholarships nationwide.
“IOScholarships was inspired by my own experience as I was very fortunate to access scholarships to attend prestigious universities and realized that more could be done to support minority students especially now as STEM education becomes more important to workforce opportunities,” said María Fernanda Trochimezuk, Founder of IO Scholarships. “IO Scholarships will not only help underrepresented students find scholarships, but level the playing field so all students have the opportunity to achieve their education goals.”
To read the entire article visit NBC News.
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