An education in the STEM field is a valuable asset. STEM, referring to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, permeates every aspect of our everyday lives.
A STEM degree involves a high degree of technical training in various skills that will make you more employable, set you apart from other candidates when applying for jobs or graduate schools, and prepare you more than adequately for entering the labor market.
The emphasis that STEM programs place on a hands-on approach to education, real-world problem-solving skills, and complex critical thinking provide STEM students with the tools they will need to navigate not just the employment market, but also life after college more broadly.
A STEM degree is a wise investment in your future. Of course, it is also a pretty steep financial investment, and many aspiring STEM students may find that the degree is prohibitively expensive.
On the bright side, there are many different ways that high school students who wish to pursue an undergraduate education in a STEM field can get financial support for earning their degree.
Here, we have compiled a list of some of the best STEM scholarships for high school students out there. Read on to learn more about how you can find free money to finance your STEM education.
NACME Engineering Scholarships
Each year, the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) provides around $3 million in scholarships for students who belong to minority groups and intend to pursue an undergraduate degree in either computer science or engineering. They offer financial support to about 1,000 underrepresented students annually.
NACME offers a number of different scholarships through corporate sponsorship from leading companies, including major employers like Apple, Google, IBM, and Proctor and Gamble.
As the scholarships are offered through partnerships with top universities, participating institutions vary from scholarship to scholarship.
To be eligible for any of NACME’s scholarships, high school students must be in their senior year and maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher on a four-point scale.
Breakthrough Junior Challenge Scholarship
The Breakthrough Junior Challenge Scholarship is a video contest open to students between the ages of 13 and 18 worldwide. To enter to win this scholarship contest, students must create a short, engaging video explaining a big idea in physics, life sciences, or mathematics.
Video submissions may be in whatever format or style the applicant prefers, including animated short films, documentaries, skits, and so on. The video must be no longer than one minute and 30 seconds long.
There are three prizes for being awarded the Breakthrough Junior Challenge Scholarship. First, the winner receives a $250,000 scholarship. The student’s teacher also gets a $50,000 prize.
Last, the student’s school receives a $100,000 grant for the purpose of renovating or building a science lab.
Hyundai Women in STEM Scholarship
The Hyundai Women in STEM Scholarship for high school seniors and college students who plan to pursue or are pursuing a degree in a STEM field. Each year, five students are selected to receive this $10,000 scholarship.
To be eligible for this scholarship, students must be legal residents of the United States and be at least 18 years old, or 16 with permission from a parent or legal guardian.
To apply for the Hyundai Women in STEM Scholarship, applicants must submit an essay of no more than 500 words describing how their past and present experiences related to a STEM field have
In the essay, students should explain how they will use their future and present achievements relating to a STEM field, including their degree, to impact others positively.
AAPT Barbara Lotze Scholarship
Offered by the American Association of Physics Teachers, the AAPT Barbara Lotze Scholarship is open to high school seniors and undergraduate students who plan to seek an undergraduate degree in a field of study that will pave the way for a career as a high school physics teacher.
The award for this scholarship is $2,000 stipend and complementary AAPT Student Membership for one year.
Additionally, the scholarship is renewable for up to four years, meaning that recipients will have received a total of $8,000 toward tuition by the end of the scholarship.
To be eligible for the Barbara Lotze Scholarship, students must be citizens of the United States and have a solid academic record. The deadline to apply is December 1 of each year.
Digital Responsibility E-Waste Scholarship
The E-Waste Scholarship is an award of $1,000 for high school, college, and graduate students who submit a response to the following prompt: the most important reason to care about e-waste is… ?
Offered by Digital Responsibility, an organization that raises awareness for the impact of
Technology on health, society, and the environment, the purpose of the scholarship is to encourage students to be conscious of the potential harm that can be done by what they choose to post on the internet.
The essay response should be no more than 1,000 words in length. This short, written response is the only required application material students will need to submit in order to be considered to receive the scholarship.
Additionally, there is no minimum GPA, citizenship requirement, age requirement, or any other criteria for eligibility.
Lockheed Martin STEM Scholarship
Each year, the Lockheed Martin STEM Scholarship Program awards 200 computer science or engineering students $10,000 to help defray the tuition cost associated with earning a STEM degree. The scholarship is open to high school seniors, as well as first- and second-year college students.
In order to be eligible to receive the Lockheed Martin STEM Scholarship, applicants must be citizens of the United States, demonstrate financial need, and have a GPA of 2.5 or higher.
High school seniors must plan to enroll full time at an accredited college or university in the US, and major in a STEM field.
Qualifying college majors include physics, engineering, computer science, and mathematics.
Recipients of the Lockheed Martin STEM Scholarship are chosen by Scholarship America, a philanthropic organization that assists students with securing financial support for college.
Lounge Lizard Web Design Scholarship
The Lounge Lizard Web Design Scholarship is a $1,000 tuition scholarship awarded on a biannual basis.
The scholarship is open to college students attending an accredited four-year university in the United States, as well as high school seniors who have been accepted to enroll at an accredited four-year school.
To enter to win the scholarship, students must submit an original web design. All web design submissions must be created only by the applicant, but both past and present creations are permitted.
In addition to the $1,000 award, scholarship recipients also get the opportunity to take part in a design critique session with Ken Braun, founder and chief creative officer of Lounge Lizard. The critique can be for any project of the recipient’s choosing.
NextStepU STEM Scholarship
The NextStepU STEM Scholarship is a college tuition assistance award open to any students between the ages of 16 and 22 who plan to pursue an undergraduate degree in a STEM major field.
The award money is paid in three payments of $1,500 over the course of a year, amounting to a total of $4,500.
Consideration for the NextStepU Scholarship is restricted to citizens of the United States and Canada. High school seniors who apply for this scholarship must plan to attend either a four-year college, two-year college, or a vocational-technical school upon finishing their final year of high school.
In order to apply for the NextStepU STEM Scholarship, students must first visit the NextStepU website and register by filling out the appropriate form. Applications must be submitted between the beginning of February and the end of May each year.
20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowship Program
Created by Peter Thiel, billionaire and co-founder of PayPal, the Thiel Foundation offers the 20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowship Program.
Open to anyone under the age of 23, the program awards recipients $100,000, as well as mentoring from experts and professionals in the technology industry.
The Thiel Fellowship comes with an interesting catch, however: in order to accept the Thiel Fellowship, students must drop out of college or take a minimum 2 years long hiatus from studies.
The purpose of the program is to allow students the freedom to dedicate their time to make their ideas into reality, using the two years of the program to take a break from studying and start building. Each year, around 20 to 30 aspiring STEM professionals are selected.
Applications for the unique 20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowship Program are on a rolling basis.
ASME Inspire Charles W.E. Clarke Scholarship
Offered by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the ASME Inspire Charles W.E. Clarke Scholarship is a $2,000 tuition award for high school seniors who intend to pursue an undergraduate degree in engineering or another related STEM field.
The purpose of the award is to provide financial support for an aspiring young engineer in their first year of study at an accredited mechanical engineering program.
To be considered for the ASME Inspire Charles W.E. Clarke Scholarship, students must provide evidence of their past leadership and involvement in STEM activities, such as clubs or summer programs.
Students also must also demonstrate financial need for the scholarship to be able to go to college. Other application materials include their transcript for the first semester of senior year, resume, FAFSA, and a recommendation from someone other than a parent, friend, or relative.