S-STEM Scholarship Toolkit

Based on our experiences running a 5-year NSF-funded scholarship program for STEM majors at Canada College, we offer the following documents and spreadsheets to help others who are interested in scholarship programs for STEM students.

Publicize the scholarship opportunity:

  • Sample posters, flyers and other media developed to increase student awareness of the opportunity to apply for a scholarship – Publicity Samples
  • Create a webpage with info, access to the scholarship application packet and FAQs - and FAQs
  • Organize math tutors to visit targeted STEM classes to make scholarship announcements during the last 5 minutes of class. Ask interested students to provide their email address if they are interested in learning more about the program.

Email STEM majors and all students from classroom outreach:

Send a scholarship application packet and let them know upcoming days/times for workshop sessions that will provide tips to be a strong applicant.

Scholarship documents for students:

On the deadline date, the scholarship coordinator does the following:

  • Complete the Applicant Summary Form
  • Scan each application packet (including the Applicant Summary Form) to a PDF file for each student
  • Determine which applicants meet minimum application criteria
  • Forward all applications that meet minimum criteria to the Financial Aid Officer to verify financial need
  • Forward all applications that meet minimum criteria to the review team
  • Provide each reviewer with the current Application Review Rubric
  • Provide each reviewer with the Application Ranking Spreadsheet

Application Review and Scholar Selection

Reviewer responsibilities:

  • Read each application and rate each using the review rubric
  • Input scores for each application in the Review Spreadsheet
  • Email the Review Spreadsheet to the scholarship coordinator
  • Participate in review team meeting to determine student awards
  • If necessary, participate in student interviews

The scholarship coordinator gathers the scores from each member of the review team and shares the collective results with the entire review team using the Review Team Analysis Spreadsheet

The review team meets to discuss applicants based on results in the Review Team Analysis Spreadsheet and input from the Financial Aid Officer regarding each student’s eligibility based on financial need.  
If the review team finds it necessary, student interviews are held for selected students – using the Student Interview Form.

Final decisions are made and the scholarship coordinator records the new scholarship recipients using the Master Scholar List Spreadsheet.

The scholarship coordinator informs all applicants of their status and invites new scholarship students to a welcome luncheon to meet their faculty mentor and sign the Student Contract:

Scholarship Payment Schedule
Each student receives the scholarship in 4 payments (two payments per semester) – ¼ of the award before the start of the semester, ¼ mid-semester as long as s/he is still enrolled in 12 units. The Financial Aid office is able to automate release of funds mid-semester to students who are still enrolled in 12 units.  No scholarships are paid during the summer semester.   We encourage students to pursue paid internships during the summer. 
The support provided by the Financial Aid Office to the program is described in this document - Financial Aid Office Support.

Developing a Mentoring Program
To help in the promoting student academic and professional development, create a mentoring program for scholars.

  • Recruit mentors from STEM faculty, industry partners, or alumni.
  • Assign a mentor to each student.
  • Facilitate regular contact between mentors and mentees through a welcome lunch or orientation session at the beginning of each semester.
  • Develop support programs and resources for mentors.

Reviewing student academic progress and continued eligibility
At the end of each semester, the scholarship coordinator evaluates transcripts for all scholarship recipients.  There are several possible statuses based on student performance:

  • Students are required to submit an Academic Progress Report for each of the courses they are taking around the sixth week of the semester before the the rest of the semester's scholarship awards are disbursed.
  • Students meet with faculty mentor to review Student Educational Plan, Student Action Plan, and academic progress.
  • Students in good standing are ok’d to receive the next semester award and receive a notice of continued support. (Continuing Award Letter)
  • Students on probation because they did not complete 12 units and/or did not meet the academic requirements receive a probation notice and their scholarship payment is on hold until mid-semester. They are also required to meet with their faculty mentor and with the STEM Counselor. (Probation Letter)
  • Students no longer eligible for support receive a notice indicating they are no longer eligible to receive a scholarship (Disqualification Letter)
  • Transferring students receiving Transfer Scholarships receive a notice with instructions to show proof of full-time enrollment at their transfer institution before funds are disbursed. (Transfer Award Letter)

Sample online student surveys

Conference papers

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0849660.
Any opinions expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF).