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 academically talented, students with unmet financial need working to transfer to a 4-year university as STEM majors.

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 (9 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.
  • 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, 
    (Here's the link to the GPA calculator:http://collegeofsanmateo.edu/transfer/gpa.asp

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: Ask a science, math, engineering, or computer science teacher to recommend you and input their information along with PDFs of your financial aid documents and transcript in the Fall 2021 NSF STEM Scholarship Intent to Apply Form.  The following information must be included with your Intent to Apply:

  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
    • Need a PDF of Award Overview

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

STEP 3: After you have completed the Intent to Apply Form and your eligibility is verified you will receive an email with the full application for the NSF Scholarship. Your completed application must include: 

  1. A response to the following questions:
    • How did you become interested in pursuing a STEM degree?
    • What is your motivation for overcoming challenges and why?
    • Answer one of the following questions:
      1. What are you passionate about and how do you incorporate STEM into your passion?
      2. What big idea or dream do you have that STEM can be used to solve?
    • Answer one of the following questions:
      1. Have you ever been mentored? If so, what role did the experience play in your success?
  1. Résumé (format as PDF) - Make sure to include educational achievements and experiences, extra-curricular activities, community service, and volunteer activities. Submitted during the application.

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. We will announce when we will host workshops to help with the open-ended answers and resumes.

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

 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 2021; 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 2021, 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).