Scholarships for Black and African American STEM MajorsMarch 30, 2022
If you’re looking for a career path with plenty of job opportunities, majoring in STEM could be a solid way to find it.
STEM — or science, technology, engineering, and math — is a growing field, and demand for qualified workers is expected to continue rapidly for years to come. In fact, an estimated 3.5 million STEM jobs may need to be filled by 2025, and there is currently a shortage of qualified applicants to fulfill them.
While students of all races enter STEM majors at around the same rates, a study published in Education Researcher shows that 40% of Black and African American students switch out of STEM majors before earning a degree. Researchers suggest this high percentage could be due to many Black students in STEM not having access to the academic and financial resources that help support students through the completion of the program.
Getting a job in a STEM field will require specialized education that can be expensive. However, if you are a minority student looking for assistance with funding your education, scholarships for Black students in STEM are available.
Top Scholarships For African American STEM Majors
If you’re a minority student interested in finding free money to help you earn a degree in science, technology, engineering, or math, check out this list of organizations that offer scholarships for Black students in STEM.
- The American Association of Blacks in Energy: The American Association of Blacks in Energy awards more than $350,000 in annual scholarship funds to eligible students interested in pursuing a career related to the energy industry. The deadline for applying is in March of each year, and the scholarship handbook provides details on how scholarship applications are rated.
- The American Meteorological Society: The American Meteorological Society provides scholarships to minority students who have traditionally been underrepresented in the sciences. This includes Black or African American students, as well as Native American and Hispanic students. The scholarship provides $6,000 in total funding distributed over a two-year period during freshman and sophomore years. Applications are due each February.
- The Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program: The Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program is available to those earning a master’s or doctoral degree in oceanography, marine biology, and maritime archaeology. While open to everyone, members of minority groups are especially encouraged to apply. The application period opens each October, and closes late December of each year.
- The Gates Millennium Scholars Program: The Gates Millennium Scholars Program provides 20,000 “outstanding students of color” with scholarship funding. The Gates Millennium Scholars Program offers funding for those pursuing an undergraduate degree in any area of interest. Continuing Gates Millennium Scholars can request funding for graduate degrees in computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health, or science. African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American, and Hispanic American students are all potentially eligible for funding.
- The Society of Physics Students Scholarship Program: The Society of Physics Students offers an Underrepresented Student Scholarship to undergraduate students in their sophomore or junior year of college who are majoring in physics or related science. Applicants must be undergraduate members of the SPS national organization and be from a group that is underrepresented in science and engineering. Applications are due each March.
Where to Find Scholarships for Black Students in STEM?
If you’re looking for scholarships for African American STEM majors, there are a number of resources available to you. These include:
- Your school’s financial aid office: School financial aid offices provide resources to help you find scholarships. The financial aid office can be the best place to discover scholarships that may be available from specific departments at your school, as well as other general scholarships available to all students in the STEM field.
- Professional organizations: Professional organizations in STEM may offer scholarship opportunities to aspiring students who want to study science, technology, or related subjects. Check with local and national organizations to find all of the potential scholarships for which you could be eligible.
- Local or community groups: Churches, local businesses, and community groups may offer scholarship funding as well. Research scholarship opportunities in your community and utilize your network to find potential leads.
- Online scholarship websites: Online websites such as BigFuture and FastWeb make it easy to search for scholarships for Black Students in STEM.
Learn More: Ways to Find Scholarships
What if Black STEM Scholarships Don’t Provide Enough Money for School?
Although there are many different scholarships for Black students in STEM, not everyone will be able to fund their educational costs with scholarships alone. Here are some other funding options to fill the financial gap if Black STEM scholarships can’t cover your entire tuition and other educational expenses.
Look into Other Scholarship or Grant Opportunities
You don’t have to restrict your scholarship search to just scholarships for Black students in STEM. You can broaden your search into other scholarship or grant opportunities for minority students, as well as more general scholarships that could be available to all individuals studying in a certain field or who earned a certain GPA.
Take Out Federal or Private Student Loans
When scholarships for African American STEM majors aren’t sufficient to cover all of your educational costs, you may need to borrow some money in order to pay for school. Both federal and private student loans could be available to you — and both options can be very affordable.
First, consider federal student loans as they have favorable interest rates, a choice of repayment options, and a simple qualification process.
Private loans also have competitive interest rates, and you may be able to borrow more than you can from the Department of Education. After you have researched scholarships and grants and explored federal loan products, you may find that an undergraduate student loan from ELFI could be right for you.* With ELFI, you won’t pay application fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties.
To learn more about ELFI and determine what interest rates may be available to you, check out our Student Loan Calculator.*