(CLOSED) NSF 23-527 Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) 2023

Sponsor Name: 
Description of the Award: 

Update 12/7/2022: The NSF has published a new solicitation (NSF 23-527) with a March 2, 2023 deadline for Track 2, Track 3, and Collaborative Planning proposals. Major changes in the new solicitation (detailed in the solicitation) include an increase in the Track 2 award to $2.5 million for up to 6 years and an increase in the annual scholarship amounts in all tracks.

  • As a prior awardee in the S-STEM program Penn State is not eligible to submit a Track 1 (Institutional Capacity Building) proposal
  • An institution may submit up to two proposals in any track (either as a single institution or as sub awardee or as a member of an inter-institutional consortia project) for a given S-STEM deadline. Multiple proposals from an institution must not overlap with regard to S-STEM eligible disciplines.
  • The institutional limit for applications from PSU do not apply to collaborative planning grant proposals. If you are submitting a collaborative planning grant you need not respond to this limited submission

Synopsis of Program:

In 1998 Congress enacted the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act which provided funds to the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create a mechanism whereby the hiring of foreign workers in technology-intensive sectors on H-1B visas would help address the long-term workforce needs of the United States. Initially, scholarships were only provided for students in math, engineering, and computer science. Later legislation authorized NSF to expand the eligible disciplines at the discretion of the NSF director. Undergraduate and graduate degrees in most disciplinary fields in which NSF provides research funding (with some exclusions described elsewhere in this document) are eligible as long as there is a national or regional demand for professionals with those degrees to address the long-term workforce needs of the United States.

The main goal of the S-STEM program is to enable low-income students with academic ability, talent or potential to pursue successful careers in promising STEM fields. Ultimately, the S-STEM program seeks to increase the number of academically promising low-income students who graduate with a S-STEM eligible degree 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) not only to fund scholarships, but also to adapt, implement, and study evidence-based curricular and co-curricular1 activities that have been shown to be effective supporting recruitment, retention, transfer (if appropriate), student success, academic/career pathways, and graduation in STEM.

Social mobility for low-income students with academic potential is even more crucial than for students that enjoy other economic support structures. Hence, social mobility cannot be guaranteed unless the scholarship funds the pursuit of degrees in areas where rewarding jobs are available after graduation with an undergraduate or graduate degree.

The S-STEM program encourages collaborations, including but not limited to partnerships among different types of institutions; collaborations of S-STEM eligible faculty, researchers, and academic administrators focused on investigating the factors that affect low-income student success (e.g., institutional, educational, behavioral and social science researchers); and partnerships among institutions of higher education and business, industry, local community organizations, national labs, or other federal or state government organizations, as appropriate.

To be eligible, scholars must be domestic low-income students, with academic ability, talent or potential and with demonstrated unmet financial need who are enrolled in an associate, baccalaureate, or graduate degree program in an S-STEM eligible discipline. Proposers must provide an analysis that articulates the characteristics and academic needs of the population of students they are trying to serve. NSF is particularly interested in supporting the attainment of degrees in fields identified as critical needs for the Nation. Many of these fields have high demand for training professionals that can operate at the convergence of disciplines and include but are not limited to quantum computing and quantum science, robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning, computer science and computer engineering, data science and computational science applied to other frontier STEM areas, and other STEM or technology fields in urgent need of domestic professionals. It is up to the proposer to make a compelling case that a field is a critical need field in the United States.

S-STEM Eligible Degree Programs

  • Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Engineering, and Associate of Applied Science
  • Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Applied Science
  • Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Engineering
  • Doctoral (Ph.D. or other comparable doctoral degree

S-STEM Eligible Disciplines

Disciplinary fields in which research is funded by NSF, including technology fields associated with the S-STEM-eligible disciplines (e.g., biotechnology, chemical technology, engineering technology, information technology, etc.).

The following degrees and disciplines are excluded:

  • Clinical degree programs, including medical degrees, nursing, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, and others not funded by NSF, are ineligible degrees.
  • Business school programs that lead to Bachelor of Arts or Science in Business Administration degrees (BABA/BSBA/BBA) are not eligible for S-STEM funding.
  • Masters and Doctoral degrees in Business Administration are also excluded.

Proposers are strongly encouraged to contact Program Officers before submitting a proposal if they have questions concerning degree or disciplinary eligibility.

The S-STEM program particularly encourages proposals from 2-year institutions, Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), predominately undergraduate institutions, and urban, suburban and rural public institutions.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization:

  1. An institution may submit up to two proposals (either as a single institution or as subawardee or a member of an inter-institutional consortia project) for a given S-STEM deadline. Multiple proposals from an institution must not overlap with regard to S-STEM eligible disciplines. See Additional Eligibility Information below for more details (see IV. Eligibility Information).
  2. Institutions with a current S-STEM award should wait at least until the end of the third year of execution of their current award before submitting a new S-STEM proposal focused on students pursuing degrees in the same discipline(s).

The above restrictions do not apply to collaborative planning grant proposals.

Limit (Number of applicants permitted per institution): 
Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Mar 02, 2023
OSVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

Interested applicants should send the following documents in sequence in one PDF file (File name: Last name_NSF 23-527 2023 no later than 4:00 p.m. on the internal submission deadline. If you plan to submit to this downselect please let us know at limitedsubs@psu.edu to assist us in planning for a review.

1. Cover Page:

  • Principal Investigator’s (PI's) campus/college/departments
  • Co-PI's names and campus/college/departments
  • A list of 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. Please include any feedback details/encouragement you've received from the relevant program director(s), especially if this is a resubmission. You may append a one page narrative describing changes you have made to the proposal that address that feedback.

4. 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.

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.
This limited submission is in downselect: 
Penn State may only submit a specific number of proposals to this funding opportunity. The number of NOIs received require that an internal competition take place, thus, a downselect process has commenced. No Penn State researchers may apply to this opportunity outside of this downselect process. To apply for this limited submission, please use this link:
OSVPR Downselect Deadline: 
Thursday, January 5, 2023 - 4:00pm
For help or questions: 

Questions concerning the limited submissions process may be submitted to limitedsubs@psu.edu.

No Applicants, Now first come, first served - Contact LimitedSubs@psu.edu if you wish to apply