NSF 21-550 Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics ( S-STEM) 2021

Sponsor Name: 
Description of the Award: 

Posted: January 8, 2021. Replaces: nsf20526.

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.

Scholars must be low-income, academically talented students with unmet financial need who are enrolled in an associate, baccalaureate or graduate degree program, with a major in an S-STEM eligible discipline.

The STEM disciplines supported by the S-STEM program include:

  • 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.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization:

An Institution may submit one proposal (either as a single institution or as subawardee or a member of a Collaborative Research project) from each constituent school or college that awards degrees in an S-STEM eligible discipline. UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ALL APPLICATIONS MUST BE SUBMITTED THROUGH THIS SITE. If the institutional limit is exceeded the Office of Limited Submissions will coordinate a downselect with the academic unit(s).

  • An institution may submit one proposal from each constituent college or school that awards S-STEM eligible degrees. (For example, a university with a College of Engineering, a School of Life Sciences, and a College of Arts and Sciences could submit one proposal from each for a total of three proposals. However, within a College of Engineering, if the Department of Electrical Engineering were submitting a proposal, a proposal from the Department of Mechanical Engineering could be submitted only in a subsequent year. The two departments in this example could choose to submit a single joint proposal.)
  • An institution that is part of a larger system is considered separate for proposal submission purposes if it is geographically separate from the other campus(es) and has its own chief academic officer. The address of the place of performance should be different as well.
  • Institutions with current active S-STEM awards should not submit a new proposal focusing on the same student population until after the third year of execution has been completed and the corresponding annual report approved.
Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Apr 07, 2021
OVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

Interested applicants should send the following documents in sequence in one PDF file (File name: Last name_NSF 21-550 2021 no later than 4:00 p.m. on the internal submission deadline:

1. Cover Page:

Principal Investigator’s (PI's) campus/college/departments
Co-PI's names and campus/college/departments
A list of possible participating organizations (if applicable)
Proposal Title

2. Project Overview Description (2 pages maximum) of the proposed project that consists of:

A brief description of the S-STEM project including the number of scholarships to be provided
The discipline areas to be served by the scholarship funds,
The objectives of the project,
Basic information about the student recruitment, selection, support, and career placement services to be provided as part of this S-STEM project.

3. Include a 2-page biographical sketch (include any prior related NSF funding) for the Principal Investigator and each listed Co-Principal Investigator and/or Senior Personnel.

4. Please include any feedback details/encouragement you've received from the relevant program director(s), especially if this is a resubmission.

Formatting Guidelines and Page Limit:

Font/size: Times New Roman (12 pt.)
Document margins: 1.0” (top, bottom, left and right)
Standard paper size (8 ½” x 11)

To be considered as a Penn State institutional nominee, please submit a notice of intent by the date provided directly below.
OVPR Downselect Deadline: 
Monday, February 8, 2021 - 4:00pm