NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Program  (S-STEM)

Information on S-STEM and S-STEM-Net

Students interested in applying to S-STEM: The S-STEM program funds US institutions of higher learning who in turn implement the scholarship program and select scholars based on the eligibility requirements described in the S-STEM solicitation. S-STEM does not fund students directly. Students who are interested in applying to an S-STEM scholarship should inquire with their institution’s Office of Financial Aid or Office of Sponsored Programs whether an S-STEM project is available on campus and who is the responsible PI.

About the upcoming FY21 S-STEM competition:

A new 2021 S-STEM solicitation (NSF 21-550) is available. Proposers are advised to take note of several important changes to prior solicitations. Note: The text of this solicitation underwent minor revisions on 01/12/2020.

FY2021 Narrated Webinar for Potential S-STEM Proposers (NSF 21-550)

S-STEM potential proposers are advised to watch the narrated webinar here (press F5 on your keyboard to begin the slideshow).

New S-STEM-Net solicitation:

In addition, the S-STEM program published a new S-STEM-Net solicitation. In March 2021, NSF’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources and Division of Undergraduate Education released a new solicitation for proposals to strengthen the S-STEM program by supporting a new S-STEM Network (S-STEM-Net), NSF 21-569.

Purpose of the S-STEM-Net: S-STEM-Net will build a robust national ecosystem to support domestic low-income STEM students in achieving their career goals.  It will achieve this goal through collaboration with multi-sector partners, including the more than 500 S-STEM sites across the country and territories.  Expected outcomes of S-STEM-Net include increased access and inclusion in STEM, greater adaptability of higher STEM education to changing learning needs, improved dissemination of innovations and achievements of the S-STEM community, and deeper understanding of how to support the success of the diverse population of low-income STEM students.

Name Email Phone Room
Alexandra  Medina-Borja amedinab@nsf.gov (703) 292-7557   
Michael  J. Ferrara mferrara@nsf.gov (703) 292-2635   
Thomas  D. Kim tkim@nsf.gov (703) 292-4458   
Susan  Carson scarson@nsf.gov (703) 292-5111   
Mary  Crowe mcrowe@nsf.gov (703) 292-5111   
Michael  J. Davis mdavis@nsf.gov (703) 292-5111   
Connie  K. Della-Piana cdellapi@nsf.gov (703) 292-5309   
Bonnie  Green bongreen@nsf.gov (703) 292-5111   
Abiodun  Ilumoka ailumoka@nsf.gov (703) 292-2703   
John  Jackman jjackman@nsf.gov (703) 292-4816   
Jill  K. Nelson jnelson@nsf.gov (703) 292-5111   
Pushpa  Ramakrishna pusramak@nsf.gov (703) 292-2943   
Dawn  M. Rickey drickey@nsf.gov (703) 292-4674   
Eric  J. Sheppard esheppar@nsf.gov (703) 292-5111   
Keith  A. Sverdrup ksverdru@nsf.gov (703) 292-4671   
Paul  Tymann ptymann@nsf.gov (703) 292-2832   


Solicitation  21-550

Important Information for Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 22-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after October 4, 2021. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 22-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.


Full Proposal Deadline Date

    March 16, 2022

    Third Wednesday in March, Annually Thereafter



The main goal of the S-STEM program is to enable low-income, talented domestic students to pursue successful careers in promising STEM fields. Ultimately, the S-STEM program wants to increase the number of low-income students who graduate 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) to fund scholarships and to adapt, implement, and study effective evidence-based curricular and co-curricular activities that support recruitment, retention, transfer (if appropriate), student success, academic/career pathways, and graduation in STEM.

The program seeks to 1) increase the number of low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need obtaining degrees in S-STEM eligible disciplines and entering the US workforce or graduate programs in STEM; 2) improve support mechanisms for future scientists, engineers, and technicians, with a focus on low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need; and 3) advance our understanding of how interventions or evidence-based curricular and co-curricular activities affect the success, retention, transfer, academic/career pathways, and graduation of low-income students in STEM.

The S-STEM program encourages collaborations among different types of participating groups, including but not limited to partnerships among different types of institutions; collaborations of STEM faculty and institutional, educational, 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, if appropriate. 

Scholars must be domestic low-income, academically talented students 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 population of students they are trying to serve. This analysis must include the predicted number of students who meet all the eligibility requirements at the time of proposal submission as a proxy measure of the pool of students that would qualify in the future if the proposal is awarded. This number may be based on current and/or historical data about students who are currently pursuing degrees in the STEM disciplines targeted by the proposal.

S-STEM Eligible Degree Programs

  • Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Engineering, and Associate of Applied Science
  • Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Applied Science
  • Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Engineering
  • Doctoral

S-STEM Eligible Disciplines

  • Biological sciences (except medicine and other clinical fields)
  • Physical sciences (including physics, chemistry, astronomy, and materials science)
  • Mathematical sciences
  • Computer and information sciences
  • Geosciences
  • Engineering
  • Technology fields associated with the disciplines above (e.g., biotechnology, chemical technology, engineering technology, information technology)

Note that programs in business schools that lead to Bachelor of Arts or Science in Business Administration degrees (BABA/BSBA) are not eligible for S-STEM funding.

Proposers are strongly encouraged to contact Program Officers before submitting a proposal if they have questions concerning degree eligibility.

The S-STEM program particularly encourages proposals from 2-year institutions, Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), tribal colleges and universities, and urban and rural public institutions.

What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program