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

Cañada College’s Achieving Success at College: Education, Networking, and Transfer (ASCENT) program will provide scholarship awards to students with unmet financial need working to transfer to a 4-year university as STEM majors. The ASCENT program is a great opportunity for students looking to work less hours to be more present in their studies and have more opportunities to explore their field of study.

The scholarship program will provide a unique opportunity for low-income students to focus full-time on their studies and fully benefit from a support system provided through Cañada College’s STEM Center, which aims to increase student success by providing tutoring, Supplemental Instruction, and Faculty Mentoring as well as STEM-related student clubs and professional speaker panels.  Students are engaged in leadership development, scientific seminars, and field trips to industry and 4-year universities. Here are some examples of the benefits of being an NSF Scholar:

  • Scholarship money to help pay for costs related to school
  • Scholarship money for transferring to a 4-year university
  • Faculty Mentorship
  • Financial Assistance to attend Professional Conferences (NSBE, SHPE, etc)
  • Workshops that help your success as a student
  • A retention specialist dedicated to helping you succeed as an NSF scholar

Cañada College ASCENT Minimum Eligibility Requirements:

  • Must be citizens of the United States, nationals of the United States, aliens admitted as refugees under section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, or aliens lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence;
  • Must demonstrate financial need for the 2021-2022 aid year as defined by the US Department of Education rules for need-based Federal financial aid. The 2021-2022 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be filed, see: www.fafsa.ed.gov
  • Must not have previously received a Bachelor's Degree in any field from any US or foreign institution;
  • Must enroll full-time student within SMCCD with at least 12 credit hours. The majority of your credit hours (6 credit hours) must be at Cañada College each semester of the award*;
    • Students currently enrolled in fewer than 12 units are encouraged to apply and will receive the funds only when they enroll full-time (12 units). To explore your options for reaching full-time status, come to the STEM Center and talk to a member of the STEM Team.
  • Cañada College must be registered as your home school
  • Must be majoring in a STEM field (i.e. Biology, Computer Science, Engineering, Environmental Science, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, or Materials Science);
  • Must be eligible to take Calculus 1 (Math 251), or higher, in Fall 2021;
  • Must have a Grade Point Average of at least 2.7 in math, science, and engineering courses, and 2.5 overall for continuing or returning students; Grade Point Average of at least 2.7 in high school math and science courses for incoming freshmen students. In computing the Math, Science and Engineering GPA only courses in the following list should be included: Math, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Physics, Astronomy, Oceanography, Geology, and Environmental Science. Courses in Accounting, Business, Multimedia, or CBOT should not be included. 

The completed online application must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m., Friday, October 8, 2021.


STEP1: Check Your Financial NEED in Websmart. Your NEED must be greater than zero in order for your application to be read and considered for an NSF Scholarship. Your Financial NEED is listed on your Award Overview screen in Webmart. Further instructions can be found here.

STEP 2: Once you realize you are financially eligible, make sure you have the following documents or information:

  1. Transcripts – High school students need to request a copy of their transcripts from their high school. Current Cañada College students need to include copies of ALL college coursework at Cañada College and any other colleges they have attended. Unofficial transcripts are accepted.
  2. Financial Aid PDFs - you will be required to upload two screenshots or PDFs of your financial aid information from Websmart. Instructions can be found here
    • Need a PDF of Eligibility Requirements  
  3. STEM GPA – please use the calculator on the STEM Canvas Page

STEP 3: Ask a science, math, engineering, or computer science teacher to recommend you and send them the FA21 NSF Scholar Recommendation Form. Templates for letters of recommendation can also be found on the STEM Canvas Page

  • Recommendation Forms are due no later than Friday, October 8, 2021 at 5:00 pm

STEP 4:  Your completed application must include: 

A response to the following questions:

    • How did you become interested in pursuing a STEM degree? Please share any stories that may support your answer
    • What is your motivation for overcoming challenges and why? How do you recover after a challenge or setback? Please provide an example
    • Answer one of the following questions:
      1. Have you ever been mentored? If so, what role did the experience play in your success?
      2.  If you haven't been mentored, how do think mentorship will impact your success as a student?   
    • How confident are you in your ability to achieve your goals? Please highlight the characteristics or abilities that allow you to achieve your goal.
    • Please answer one of the following questions: How will you use the scholarship money? What will the scholarship money allow you to do?

The completed application is due no later than Friday, October 8, 2021 at 5:00 pm.

If you need help or have any questions, please ask a member of the STEM Center Team for assistance or email STEM Retention Specialist Kenna Klass.

If you access the STEM Canvas page, please ask a member of the STEM Center Team to add you or you can request access using this link www.bit.ly/stemcanvas





 For this round of applications, the following is a list of available scholarships:

  • Achievement Level 1: $5,000
    Students eligible to take Calculus 1, or higher in fall 2020; and have two years of study at Cañada College before transfer.
  • Achievement Level 2: $5,000
    Students eligible to take Calculus 2, or higher in fall 2020, and are within one year of transfer.
  • Transfer Level: $4,000
    Students who enrolled at a 4-year university as a STEM major.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DUE 1833809. Any opinions expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF).