Funding Your Computer Science Degree Finding & Applying for Scholarships & Grants

 

Paying for a computer science degree can be challenging for many. CS students can read on to find scholarships and grants to make their college education a reality, and will also find information and resources specifically for minority students, including women, African-American, Hispanic, Asian, and LGBTQ students.

Meet the Expert

Jeff Holliday

Currently Associate Director of Scholarships and Compliance at Clemson University. Previously, Jeff Holliday has held director-level financial aid positions at Anderson University, Presbyterian College, and Montreat College.

In recent years, STEM-related careers have rapidly expanded, offering some of the most exciting, in-demand, and lucrative opportunities. As the field continues to evolve and grow, more and more computer science professionals will be needed. To encourage individuals to pursue this field many organizations, companies, nonprofits, and colleges have boosted their scholarship and grant offerings for those interested in CS. The following guide takes prospective and current computer science students through the scholarship process, from an overview on why scholarships are so important to the various places where individuals, including minority students, can find such opportunities. It also provides step-by-step advice on how to find quality scholarships and offers insight from a financial aid expert. Lastly, students can browse the extensive list of current CS scholarships to get an idea of what is out there before, before beginning their own scholarship and grant search.

Current Scholarships for CS Students

When it comes to scholarships, current and prospective computer science students have several options. Students can find scholarships that are open to any and all students pursuing CS and other STEM disciplines or find others that are more targeted. Below is a breakdown of some of the existing opportunities available.

AACE International Scholarships

Sponsoring organization: Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering International

Amount: $2,000 to $8,000

Application due date: February 7

This program provides academic scholarships to full-time students pursuing degrees related to the integrative process of total cost management. Undergraduate computer sciences majors with GPAs of 3.0 or above are eligible.

Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association STEM Majors Scholarships

Sponsoring organization: Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA)

Amount: Varies. Restricted to tuition, mandatory fees and books

Application due date: N/A

AFCEA offers scholarships to eligible sophomore and junior level undergraduates majoring in STEM fields. These include both traditional and online programs in cyber security, intelligence, and homeland security-related disciplines. Undergraduates must hold a 3.0 GPA or higher, graduates a 3.5 GPA or higher. All applicants must be U.S. citizens. Scholarships are also awarded to graduate students.

Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program

Sponsoring organization: Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation

Amount: Up to $7,500, non-renewable or transferrable

Application due date: January 30, deadline for online nomination

Candidates must be planning to pursue research careers in computer science or other STEM degree programs. Each year, the foundation awards up to 300 Goldwater Scholarships, which cover eligible expenses for undergraduate tuition, fees, books, and room and board for up to $7,500 for one academic year. A student can only win this scholarship once and must be nominated by his or her college or university rather than filling out a traditional application.

Betty Stevens Frecknall Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Foundation for IT Education

Amount: $2,000

Application due date: May 31

This program offers annual scholarships to undergraduates enrolled full time in a computer science, CIS, MIS, or IT program who have completed at least one semester of college. Recipients must also have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and be an active Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) student member.

Electronic Document Scholarship Foundation

Sponsoring organization: Electronic Document Scholarship Foundation (EDSf)

Amount: $1,000 to $5,000, depending on the specific scholarship

Application due date: May 1

These awards enable students to receive the education necessary to pursue careers in the document management and graphic communications industries. The organization sponsors its own scholarships and administers funding award programs for numerous industry-related companies. By completing an EDSf application, students can apply for over 15 scholarships administered thorough the foundation.

Horatio Alger Honeywell Scholarship Program

Sponsoring organization: Horatio Alger Association

Amount: $10,000

Application due date: March

This program offers 10 scholarships per year. It is designed to assist STEM-degree students with a financial need ($55,000 or less adjust gross income per family) and who demonstrate “integrity and perseverance in overcoming personal adversity.” Applicants must be current freshmen and attend a Honeywell Partner School or Horatio Alger Collegiate Partner institution.

Microsoft General Scholarships

Sponsoring organization: Microsoft

Amount: Amount varies depending on full or partial tuition

Application due date: January 30

Applicants must demonstrate a passion for computer science or related STEM subject as well as a commitment to leadership. They must be enrolled in a computer science or related four-year undergraduate degree program located in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a financial need. They must also apply for a summer internship, but not all applicants will be accepted. Microsoft offers similar scholarships dedicated specifically to women, minorities, and students with disabilities as well.

Randy Pausch Scholarship Fund

Sponsoring organization: Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences

Amount: $2,500 awards to two students annually

Application due date: Postmarked by June 30

Established to support students pursuing careers in developing interactive entertainment, this award is open to full-time undergraduates starting their second year at an accredited American university. Applicants must intend to enter the game industry as a developer of interactive entertainment.

Wayne V. Black Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Energy Telecommunications and Electrical Association

Amount: $5,000

Application due date: January

This scholarship is awarded to one student annually. The recipient must be enrolled in an undergraduate program in one of several fields of study, including computer science. They must also attend an accredited college or university in the United States or Canada.

Your Journey Ahead Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Signal Solutions

Amount: $1,500 for finalist, $500 for runner-up

Application due date: January 1

Application acceptance is based on a 500+ word essay about the applicant’s journey leading to and while at college, including how life prepared him or her for college, how college might affect his or her career path, roadblocks, etc. Applicants may also take a photo or create a slideshow to demonstrate the same answers. An applicant must be enrolled full time at a two or four-year college or university recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and have a minimum GPA of 3.0 while studying computer science or other field of technology.

Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association STEM Scholarships

Sponsoring organization: Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) and Avaya

Amount: Varies subject to availability of funding

Application due date: November 15

Graduate applicants have to be enrolled in their second semester and a minimum of two semester-equivalent courses per term when they apply. They must have a minimum 3.5 GPA in their current program at an accredited U.S. college or university. Applicants can be enrolled in both on-campus and distance-learning schools as long as the school is accredited and approved. Scholarships must be used for tuition, mandatory fees, and books only.

CyberCorps Scholarship for Service

Sponsoring organization: National Science Foundation, U.S. Office of Personnel Management

Amount: Covers normal expenses such as tuition and other educational fees, plus an annual stipend of up to $25,000 per year for master’s degree students, up to $30,000 per year for doctoral students, and up to $20,000 per year for undergraduates

Application due date: February

cholarships for Service (SFS) awards master’s and doctoral students in exchange for working in an information assurance position for a period equivalent to the scholarship length or one year, whichever is longer. Positions are available in federal, state, local, or tribal government organizations. This program is also available to undergraduates in their final two years of study.

Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship

Sponsoring organization: Department of Energy

Amount: Full tuition and required fees, yearly stipend of $36,000, a $5,000 academic allowance in the first fellowship year, and a $1,000 allowance each renewed year (meant for purchasing computer workstation and other research/professional development expenses) for up to four years

Application due date: January 27

This scholarship opportunity is available to “students pursuing doctoral degrees in fields that use high-performance computing to solve complex science and engineering problems.” Fellows may come from a diverse range of disciplines, but they are all dedicated to using computing in their research. Undergraduate seniors and first-year graduate students may apply as well as applicants not enrolled in graduate school who do not yet have a degree beyond a bachelor’s.

Facebook Fellowship Program

Sponsoring organization: Facebook

Amount: Tuition and fees and a $37,000 annual grant

Application due date: January 5

Facebook fellowships are open to full-time Ph.D. students who are studying computer science or a related field in the current academic year. In addition to a financial award, fellows will also receive a paid visit to Facebook headquarters to present their research and are eligible for a possible paid internship at Facebook.

The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Graduate Fellowship Award

Sponsoring organization: The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation

Amount: $32,000 or $38,000 depending on fellowship

Application due date: October 30

Graduate applicants have two options for fellowships: the Five Year Hertz, which includes a $32,000/nine-month stipend, full tuition equivalent, and is renewable for up to five years, or the Five-Year Coordinated fellowship, which includes a $38,000/nine-month personal stipend, full tuition equivalent, and lasts for the Hertz Period, two years. Eligible fellows must attend one of the Foundation’s participating schools.

Google U.S./Canada Ph.D. Fellowship Program

Sponsoring organization: Google

Amount: Two-year fellowship covering tuition and fees and $34,000 yearly stipend (paid over nine months of the academic year)

Application due date: November 3

Instead of a traditional application, candidates must be nominated by their university department and be a full-time graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in a relevant computer science fellowship area. The candidate must have already completed their graduate coursework in the Ph.D. program and must be beginning or continuing their graduate research.

IBM Ph.D. Fellowship Awards Program

Sponsoring organization: IBM

Amount: Varies by country/geographic area

Application due date: October

Candidates nominated by a doctoral faculty member while enrolled full time in a college or university Ph.D. program are eligible for this fellowship award, which is meant for computer science students as well as students from several other related fields. IBM lists areas of focus for a particular fellowship year on its website, so graduates pursuing those fields of research may receive preference. Students who have participated in an IBM internship or otherwise worked closely with IBM technical or services people may also be given preference.

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program

Sponsoring organization: National Science Foundation

Amount: Stipend of $34,000 per year, and institution receives up to $44,000 for an exemption of the student’s tuition and normal fees

Application due date: October

This program awards fellowships for graduate study leading to research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in science and engineering. They are given to students in the early stages of their degree programs.

Richard E. Merwin Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Amount: $1,000 and up for one academic year

Application due date: September 30

This program offers over a dozen scholarships annually to reward active student volunteer leaders in IEEE student chapters who show promise in their academic and professional efforts. Candidates must be graduate students or undergraduates in the final two years of a degree program in electrical or computer engineering, computer science, or another computer-related field of engineering.

SMART Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Department of Defense

Amount: Varies by student’s financial needs

Application due date: December

Graduate students in computer science and other STEM degree programs can receive full scholarships for tuition and education related fees, a health insurance allowance, and a miscellaneous supplies allowance as well as gainful employment once they earn their degree. The scholarship requires that students attend an approved university and have a 3.0 GPA. Applicants must also participate in summer internships and be willing to be employed by the Department of Defense after graduation.

Admiral Grace Murray Hopper Scholarships

Sponsoring organization: Society of Women Engineers

Amount: $1,500

Application due date: May 15

Female freshmen undergraduate students with a 3.5 GPA or higher can enter to receive one of the three scholarships given each year. Preference is given to students pursuing a computer-focused engineering major.

Boston Scientific

Sponsoring organization: Society of Women Engineers

Amount: $5,000

Application due date: May 15

Women in their senior year of undergraduate computer science study with a GPA of 3.5 or higher may apply for this scholarship. Only two scholarships are granted each academic year, so it is a competitive application approval process. Students must attend one of a required list of schools included on SWE’s website. The scholarship is renewable to a five-year maximum.

ESA Foundation Scholarship Program

Sponsoring organization: ESA Foundation

Amount: $3,000

Application due date: March 12 through May 29

This scholarship is for full-time undergraduate women and minorities who are pursuing degrees that lead to careers in computer and video game arts. Students must maintain a 2.75 GPA or above to earn one of 30 scholarships, 15 for high school seniors and 15 for current college students.

The Generation Google Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Google

Amount: $10,000

Application due date: January 15 for university students, March 5 for high school seniors

Female undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a computer science or computer engineering degree or current high school seniors intending to pursue a computer science or computer engineering degree are invited to apply. Applicants should demonstrate leadership and a passion for computer science and technology as well as strong academic ability.

Lockheed Martin Corporation Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Society for Women Engineers

Amount: $2,000 annually, non-renewable.

Application due date: May 15

SWE awards seven of these scholarships each year. Applicants must have a minimum 3.2 GPA and must be able to work in the U.S. without sponsorship. This scholarship includes a travel grant to attend the SWE Annual Conference.

Microsoft Research Graduate Women’s Scholarship Program

Sponsoring organization: Microsoft Research

Amount: $15,000 plus a $2,000 allowance for travel and attendance at a conference in the recipient’s field of study

Application due date: October

Microsoft sponsors this one-year scholarship program for full-time graduate students enrolled in their first year of a computer science, electrical engineering, mathematics, or bioinformatics/information science program. Universities are required to nominate candidates and the office of the chair of their departments must confirm nominations.

Northrop Grumman Foundation Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Society of Women Engineers

Amount: $5,000

Application due date: February 15

SWE awards four of these scholarships each year to freshman, sophomore, and junior year students. Applicants must attend one of a restricted number of colleges listed on the SWE website.

Palantir Scholarship for Women in Engineering

Sponsoring organization: Palantir

Amount: Varies from $1,500 to $10,000

Application due date: August 31

All finalists are invited to the Palantir headquarters in Palo Alto, CA, for a full-day workshop with Palantir’s female employees that offers a unique perspective of the culture of both the company and the Bay Area. Finalists are given a grant to fund their studies, and select finalists will participate in a Palantir internship.

SAE International Scholarships

Sponsoring organization: SAE International

Amount: Varies based on scholarship

Application due date: January 15 for freshman year scholarships, February 15 for sophomore through graduate scholarships

SAE International offers two groups of scholarships, freshman year scholarships and scholarships for the other undergraduate and graduate levels. U.S. female high school seniors planning to attend an ABET-accredited engineering program full time are invited to apply as well.

Society of Women Engineers Scholarships

Sponsoring organization: Society of Women Engineers

Amount: Varies by scholarship, $1,000 to $14,500

Application due date: Varies by scholarship

SWE administers dozens of scholarships on both the undergraduate and graduate levels for women seeking careers in engineering, engineering technology, and computer science. Eligible students must be enrolled in an ABET-accredited program. Candidates complete one application to be considered for all scholarships for which they are eligible.

Women in Technology Scholarships

Sponsoring organization: Visionary Integration Professionals

Amount: Up to $2,500 per recipient.

Application due date: March 9

WITS awards multiple scholarships annually to women planning a career in areas such as computer science, information technology, management information systems, or computer engineering. Selection is made on three criteria: academic performance (3.0 or higher GPA); response to an essay question; and level of participation in community service and/or extra-curricular activities.

BDPA Education & Technology Foundation Scholarships

Sponsoring organization: Black Data Processing Associates and BDPA Education & Technology Foundation (BETF)

Amount: Varies by scholarship

Application due date: At least 60 days before funds are needed

These scholarships assist students earning degrees from accredited colleges and universities in the fields of computer science, mathematics, and information technology. Awards are open to anyone participating in the Student Information Technology & Scholarship program.

Blacks at Microsoft (BAM) Scholarships

Sponsoring organization: Microsoft Corporation

Amount: $5,000

Application due date: March 1

The company-sponsored employee network BAM awards two scholarships each year to exemplary high-school seniors pursuing careers in technology who are attending a four-year college following graduation. Students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher and must require financial assistance to attend the college of their choice. The scholarship is renewable for up to four years.

BlueCross BlueShield CIO Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: BlueCross BlueShield and BDPA Education and Technology Foundation

Amount: $500

Application due date: July 31

This scholarship is for members of Black Data Processing Associates who are high school students pursuing a four-year degree program related to Information Technology. Two scholarships are awarded to graduating high school students each year. Applicants must have a minimum 3.3 GPA.

Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology Scholarship

Amount: $2,000

Application due date: April 15

This scholarship is open to any African-American student currently pursuing a degree in a technical field, including computer science, at one of the predominantly black colleges or universities listed on the scholarship’s website. It is a renewable annual scholarship for up to four years if the student remains in a STEM-related discipline and in good academic standing.

Eli Lilly and Company / Black Data Processing Associates (Lilly/BDPA) Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Eli Lilly and Company and Black Data Processing Associates

Amount: $2,500

Application due date: July 3

Minority students (who are BDPA members) pursuing an information technology degree at an accredited four-year college or university can receive this one-time scholarship to cover tuition, fees, books, room and board, and other college-related expenses. Winners will be selected for their application, transcript, essay, letters of recommendation, and involvement in the BDPA organization.

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program

Sponsoring organization: The Gates Millennium Scholars

Amount: Varies

Application due date: January 13

This scholarship is for minority students entering as full-time, first-year students studying computer science, or other STEM or non-STEM majors, and offers good-through-graduation full-ride scholarships. The organization awards 1,000 scholarships each year.

The Generation Google Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Google

Amount: $10,000

Application due date: March 15

Minority undergraduate and graduate students or current high school seniors pursuing or planning to pursue a computer science or computer engineering degree are eligible for this scholarship. Demonstrated leadership and a passion for computer science and technology are required in addition to strong academic ability.

National Society of Black Engineers Scholarships

Sponsoring organization: National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)

Amount: $500 to $10,500 by scholarship.

Application due date: Varies by scholarship

NSBE sponsors a variety of scholarships and award opportunities for pre-college, undergraduate and graduate students, and technical professional members. Eligibility requirements include verification of GPA and active paid membership in the NSBE.

Oracle STEM Scholarships

Sponsoring organization: Oracle

Amount: Varies

Application due date: Varies

Oracle partners with a variety of organizations representing minority groups to provide scholarships to students majoring in information technology fields. Some of these organizations include 100 Black Men of Silicon Valley, Black Data Processing Associates, East Bay National Society of Black Engineers Jr, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, National Society of Black Engineers, and United Negro College Fund.

Ron Brown Scholar Program

Sponsoring organization: Ron Brown Scholar Program

Amount: $40,000 four-year ($10,000 per year) renewable

Application due date: November 1, early applicant deadline / January 9, final postmarked deadline

RBSP is a selective scholarship program awarding scholarships to community-minded and academically gifted African Americans. These renewable scholarships may be used to attend an accredited four-year college or university of the recipient’s choice. They are not limited to any specific field or career objective. Candidates must excel academically, exhibit exceptional leadership potential, and demonstrate financial need.

UNCF/Merck Undergraduate Science Research Scholarship Awards

Sponsoring organization: UNCF/Merck Science Initiative

Amount: Up to $30,000

Application due date: December

UNCF/Merck hands out at least 15 scholarships each year to African-American juniors who are enrolled full time in any four-year college or university in the U.S. and are studying computer science or a related science or engineering field. The student must have a minimum 3.3 GPA and must be eligible for and commit to a summer internship at a Merck facility. A scholarship recipient’s department is eligible for a grant of up to $10,000, based on the leftover portion of the scholarship after the student’s education expenses are paid.

Xerox Minority Scholarships

Sponsoring organization: Xerox

Amount: Between $1,000 and $10,000

Application due date: September 30

Xerox offers scholarships to minority students currently attending four-year institutions who are studying to receive a BS, MS, or PhD in a technical science or engineering discipline, including computer science. The applicant’s GPA must be a 3.0 or higher to earn the scholarship.

AFCEA Ralph W. Shrader Diversity Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Booz Allen Hamilton / CSC Defense Group

Amount: Varies

Application due date: Not listed

Multiple scholarships are available for women and minority applicants who are either full-time postgraduate students or students earning technical certificates in STEM fields. To be eligible, the student must be studying in a residential program in the U.S.

APIASF/NASA Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund / National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Amount: $2,900

Application due date: January 8

This one-time scholarship is open to individuals who are U.S. citizens of Asian and/or Pacific Islander descent. Candidates must be enrolled in an engineering or computer science undergraduate program and hold a 2.8 or higher GPA.

APIASF/Southern California Edison Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund / Edison International

Amount: $2,500 (one-time scholarship)

Application due date: January 8

Also offered through the APIASF, this program awards scholarships to full-time students of Asian or Pacific Islander heritage with an overall GPA of 2.7 or better. Although the scholarship is not explicitly for computer science students, preference is given to candidates pursuing degrees in STEM fields.

APIASF/Toyota Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund / Toyota

Amount: $2,500 (one-time scholarship)

Application due date: January 8

This scholarship is open to STEM majors starting a full-time degree. Although any Asian or Pacific Islander students with a GPA of at least 2.7 may apply, those from Southern California are given preference.

Banatao Family Filipino American Education Fund

Sponsoring organization: Asian Pacific Fund

Amount: $20,000 total ($5,000 per year, renewable)

Application due date: Not listed

BFFAEF awards five scholarships annually to college students able to show at least 50 percent Filipino heritage. Eligible fields of study include engineering, mathematics, computer science, environmental science and physical science. Candidates must be incoming freshmen enrolled full-time in an accredited four-year institution, demonstrate financial need and be a resident of one of 19 designated California counties.

Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowships for Minorities

Sponsoring organization: Ford Foundation

Amount: $25,000

Application due date: November 13

Ford Foundation gives 36 fellowships to support students as they write and defend their dissertation. Priority is given to applicants from certain minority backgrounds, including Pacific Islanders. Students from several academic disciplines, including computer science, are eligible. Successful applicants will not only show superior academic abilities but also engagement with underrepresented communities.

Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships for Minorities

Sponsoring organization: Ford Foundation

Amount: $45,000

Application due date: November 13

This annual fellowship is awarded to 20 postdoctoral students from minority backgrounds, including Pacific Islanders. Students from a number of disciplines, including computer science, are eligible. Successful applicants will be outstanding students committed to working with underrepresented communities.

Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowships for Minorities

Sponsoring organization: Ford Foundation

Amount: $24,000

Application due date: November 20

This annual fellowship is awarded to 60 predoctoral students from minority backgrounds, including Pacific Islanders. Students from several academic disciplines, including computer science, are eligible. Successful applicants will be engaged with underrepresented communities in addition to being exceptional students.

Gates Millennium Scholars Program

Sponsoring organization: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Amount: Varies

Application due date: January 15

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gives 1,000 scholarships annually to first-year minority students doing full-time study in any degree area. Continuing scholars are eligible for graduate degree funding in computer science and other STEM disciplines. Applicants must have a high school GPA of 3.3 and be eligible for Federal Pell Grant funding.

Marathon Oil Corporation College Scholarship Program

Sponsoring organization: Marathon Oil Corporation

Amount: $15,000 (renewable for up to one extra year)

Application due date: May 22

This scholarship is designed specifically for African-American, Native American, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islanders who are either high school seniors or college sophomores working toward a STEM degree. Students must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher to apply. Winners will be offered paid summer internships.

Moon-Jung Chung Memorial Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Korean Computer Scientists and Engineers Association in America

Amount: $1,000 (one-time scholarship)

Application due date: December 15

KOCSEA provides a one-time scholarship for Korean and Korean-American students studying computer science or related subjects in the U.S. Applicants must be KOCSEA members to be eligible.

Xerox Minority Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Xerox

Amount: $1,000 to 10,000 (per academic year)

Application due date: September 30 (postmarked)

Open to African-American, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander or American Indian/Alaska natives in or preparing for an undergraduate or graduate program in a technical science or engineering field. Must have a minimum 3.0 GPA.

AFCEA Ralph W. Shrader Diversity Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Booz Allen Hamilton / CSC Defense Group

Amount: Varies

Application due date: Not listed

This scholarship is open to both full-time postgraduate students and students earning technical certificates in STEM fields. Several scholarships are available. The school must be based in the U.S., and the program must be residential.

Ciencia National Hispanic Scholars Program

Sponsoring organization: National Alliance for Hispanic Health

Amount: $2,000

Application due date: February 15

The Ciencia National Hispanic Scholars Program awards up to 25 scholarships for $2,000 each to Hispanic college students from the U.S. who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree in a STEM discipline. To qualify, students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher and be enrolled full-time.

ESA Foundation Scholarships

Sponsoring organization: Entertainment Software Association Foundation

Amount: $3,000

Application due date: Not listed

The Entertainment Software Association Foundation grants 30 scholarships every year to women and minority students—15 to graduating seniors and 15 to undergraduates—who pursue degrees that lead to careers in computer and video game arts. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and maintain a 2.75 GPA.

Gates Millennium Scholars Program

Sponsoring organization: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Amount: Varies

Application due date: January 15

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation offers several scholarships every year to first-year minority students, including Hispanic/Latino students. Continuing scholars are eligible for graduate degree funding in computer science and other STEM disciplines. Applicants must have a high school GPA of 3.3 and be eligible for Federal Pell Grant funding.

Generation Google Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Google

Amount: $10,000

Application due date: January 15

This scholarship goes to high school seniors and enrolled college students who plan on pursuing a degree and career in computer science, computer engineering or a related field. Applicants must be African-American, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, female or have a disability.

HENAAC Scholarship Program: Great Minds in STEM

Sponsoring organization: Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corporation

Amount: $500 to $10,000 depending on the particular scholarship

Application due date: April 30

This program oversees awards for over 30 STEM-related scholarship programs available to Hispanic college students. Award criteria include enrollment in an undergraduate or graduate program during the preceding fall semester, a GPA of 3.0 or higher and participation in organizations and activities in the Hispanic community.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund General College Scholarships

Sponsoring organization: Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Amount: $500 to $5,000

Application due date: April 2

HSF offers a variety of merit-based scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students of Hispanic heritage. Other eligibility requirements include a minimum 2.5 GPA (3.0 for graduating high school seniors) and full-time enrollment in a nonprofit four-year university or graduate school. Scholarships are open to all majors and graduate fields, but an emphasis is placed on STEM majors.

HP Scholars Program

Sponsoring organization: Hewlett Packard

Amount: $3,000

Application due date: March 15

The HP Scholars Program awards four-year scholarships to promising minority undergraduates of African-American, Latino or American Indian descent majoring in computer science, computer engineering or electrical engineering at UCLA, SJSU, North Carolina A&T, Morgan State or University of Washington.

MAES Scholarships

Sponsoring organization: Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists

Amount: Varies

Application due date: September 21 (postmarked)

MAES provides one-time scholarships to its student members enrolled in STEM majors. There are several awards given, and selection criteria differ for each, although all applicants must demonstrate financial need.

Marathon Oil Corporation College Scholarship Program

Sponsoring organization: Marathon Oil Corporation

Amount: $15,000 (renewable for up to one extra year)

Application due date: May 22

Open to minorities students, including Hispanics, who are either high school seniors or college sophomores pursuing a STEM field. Students are required to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher to apply.

Microsoft Technical Scholarships for Minorities and Women

Sponsoring organization: Microsoft

Amount: Full or partial tuition for one year

Application due date: Not listed

Applicants must be enrolled full-time in a four-year STEM program at an accredited North American university. Preference is given to applicants who are female, belong to a minority group or have a disability. Candidates must also be willing to do a 12-week paid internship at Microsoft in Washington state.

SHPE Foundation Scholarships

Sponsoring organization: Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers

Amount: $1,000 to $5,000 depending on specific scholarship

Application due date: June 15

The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers sponsors multiple scholarships at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including dissertation scholarships. Students must be pursuing full-time degrees in STEM subjects and maintain a GPA specified by SPHE members in good standing.

Travelers HACU Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities Travelers

Amount: $4,250

Application due date: May 29

This scholarship is awarded to full-time undergraduates attending one of the numerous HACU member institutions in California, New York, Texas, Illinois or Colorado. Students must hold a 3.0 GPA in a STEM field and be interested in working for Travelers.

Xerox Minority Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Xerox

Amount: $1,000 to 10,000 (per academic year)

Application due date: September 30 (postmarked)

This scholarship is directed toward students who are African-American, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander or American Indian/Alaska natives. Recipients must be enrolled (or preparing to enroll) in an undergraduate or graduate program in an eligible technical science or engineering field and earning a minimum 3.0 GPA.

BMO Capital Markets Lime Connect Equity Through Education Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: BMO Capital Markets

Amount: $10,000 for U.S. students, $5,000 for students in Canada

Application due date: Not listed

Applicants must be current undergraduate or graduate students with a visible or invisible disability who are attending a four-year university and studying business or a STEM discipline. BMO looks to fund those interested in going into financial services.

Foundation for Science and Disability, Inc. Grant Program

Sponsoring organization: Foundation for Science and Disability

Amount: $1,000

Application due date: December 1

FSDI awards grants to graduate students with a disability who are pursuing a degree in a STEM field. Grants are made for specific needs such as assistive devices or instruments, or as financial support to enable working with a professor on an individual research project.

Google Lime Scholarship Program

Sponsoring organization: Google

Amount: $10,000 for U.S. students, $5,000 for students in Canada (based on tuition costs)

Application due date: Not listed

Google Lime Scholarships are offered to undergraduate, graduate and Ph.D. students with a visible or invisible disability who are pursuing a computer science or computer engineering degree or a degree in a related field. Awards are based on the strength of the candidate’s academic background and demonstrated passion for computer science.

Joseph James Morelli Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Park City Community Foundation

Amount: $1,000 to $2,000

Application due date: March 30

This scholarship supports high school seniors and recent graduates with learning challenges who are pursuing STEM careers. As part of the application, students must submit an IEP, 504 or teacher recommendation.

Microsoft DisAbility Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Microsoft

Amount: $5,000

Application due date: March 15

High school seniors with a disability that meets the World Health Organization’s definition who also need financial assistance to attend college can apply for this nonrenewable scholarship if they plan on majoring in computer science or a related discipline. Successful applicants will have at least a 3.0 GPA and demonstrated leadership skills..

Microsoft Technical Scholarships for Minorities and Women

Sponsoring organization: Microsoft

Amount: Full or partial tuition for one year

Application due date: Not listed

Applicants must be enrolled full-time in a four-year STEM program at an accredited North American university. Preference is given to applicants who are female, belong to a minority group or have a disability. Candidates must also be willing to do a 12-week paid internship at Microsoft in Washington state.

National Technical Institute for the Deaf Scholarships

Sponsoring organization: National Technical Institute for the Deaf

Amount: Varies

Application due date: Not listed

The National Technical Institute for the Deaf, which is located at the Rochester Institute of Technology, provides several scholarships for computer science majors who are deaf or hard of hearing. Applicants must be studying at RIT. Scholarships are made available through the Warren R. Goldmann Endowed Scholarship Fund and the T. Alan and Vicki T. Hurwitz Family Endowed Scholarship Fund.

Oracle Scholarship for Excellence in Computer Science

Sponsoring organization: National Federation of the Blind

Amount: $8,000

Application due date: March 31

Administered through the National Federation of the Blind, this scholarship is available to individuals studying computer science, computer engineering, user experience or a related field. Recipients must be legally blind in both eyes and must participate in the entire NFB convention and all of its scheduled scholarship program activities.

Paul and Ellen Ruckes Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

Amount: $2,000

Application due date: March 31

The Paul and Ellen Ruckes Scholarship goes to full-time undergraduate or graduate students who are visually impaired and pursuing a degree in computer science or a related field. Two scholarships are awarded each year

Alan Turing Memorial Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: University of California at San Diego

Amount: Up to $10,000

Application due date: October 5

The Alan Turing Memorial Scholarship is available to University of California at San Diego undergraduates with high achievement who are majoring in computer science or computer engineering. They must be active in their support of the LGBTQ community. Preference is given to students with a demonstrated financial need.

Friends of Alan Turing Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Pride Foundation

Amount: $5,000 (nonrenewable)

Application due date: January 15

The Friends of Alan Turing Scholarship is offered through the Pride Foundation, which awards one scholarship annually to a student pursuing studies in a STEM subject. Recipients must be residents of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon or Washington, although they may study elsewhere. Preference is given to students who identify as LGBTQ, members of LGBTQ families, or straight allies who have been strongly supportive of the LGBTQ community.

Out To Innovate Scholarships for LGBTQ STEM Students

Sponsoring organization: National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals, Inc.

Amount: $5,000 each for one undergraduate and one graduate/professional level student

Application due date: June 6

These scholarships are intended for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in STEM programs. Students must be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or an ally of the LGBTQ community. Eligibility requirements include two years completed at an accredited college or university, maintenance of a 3.0 or higher GPA and active support and participation in programs or organizations that support LGBTQ inclusion and visibility.

STEM Inclusion Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: AfterCollege, Inc.

Amount: $1,000

Application due date: March 31

Students currently enrolled in a college STEM program who have at least a 3.0 GPA can apply for this scholarship, run by AfterCollege, which operates Internet-based career networks. It is looking for students from underrepresented groups that would catch the eye of a hiring manager.

BP America: SVA STEM Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: BP America / Student Veterans of America

Amount: $10,000

Application due date: June 1

Offered through a partnership between BP America and the Student Veterans of America, this program offers three scholarships annually to students pursuing a STEM or technology-related degree at a four-year accredited college or university. Candidates must have at least a 3.0 GPA and be a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Disabled War Veterans Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association

Amount: $2,500

Application due date: November 13

This scholarship is open to active duty personnel or military veterans disabled in the line of duty in the Afghanistan or Iraq wars. Applicants must be sophomores or juniors enrolled in a field related to AFCEA’s mission, which includes computer science and related degrees.

Joseph P. and Helen T. Cribbins Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Association of the U.S. Army

Amount: $2,000

Application due date: July 1

This merit-based scholarship is open to active Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard personnel regardless of rank, and to honorably discharged soldiers from the Army. Candidates must be accepted to an accredited college or university and be pursuing a degree in an engineering-related major such as computer science.

LTG Douglas D. Buchholz Memorial Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association

Amount: $2,000

Application due date: Not listed

Administered through the AFCEA Educational Foundation, this scholarship is awarded annually to one soldier based at Fort Gordon who is on active duty. Applicants must be pursuing a degree in a STEM subject such as computer science. Candidates may be enrolled in part or full-time study.

War Veterans Scholarship

Sponsoring organization: Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association

Amount: $2,500

Application due date: November 15

This scholarship is open to sophomores or juniors who are active duty personnel or veterans of the Afghanistan or Iraq wars. Applicants must be enrolled at least part-time and have an overall GPA of 3.0 or better. Eligible degree programs are related to AFCEA’s mission and include computer science and related degrees. Distance learning programs are eligible.

Scholarships & The Rising Cost of College

Most students depend on financial aid to fund their computer science degree, and the rising cost of higher education is a significant concern for many. While the most common form of financial aid is student loans, this option often leaves graduates with substantial debt, which creates a whole new set of concerns after leaving the classroom. The data below illustrate the importance of scholarships and grants. These options allow students to not only lower the overall cost of college, but also rely less on loans.

The Rise of College Tuition

Average total tuition, fees, room and board rates charged for full-time undergraduate students in degree-granting institutions (by type and control of institution)

  Public Institutions Private Non-Profit and
For-Profit Institutions
Year Constant 2012–13 Dollars Current Dollars Constant 2012–13 Dollars Current Dollars
2001-02 $10,415 $8,022 $29,100 $22,413
2002-03 $10,800 $8,502 $29,652 $23,340
2003-04 $11,496 $9,247 $30,613 $24,624
2004-05 $11,905 $9,864 $31,158 $25,817
2005-06 $12,154 $10,454 $31,284 $26,908
2006-07 $12,522 $11,049 $32,231 $28,439
2007-08 $12,647 $11,573 $32,530 $29,767
2008-09 $13,209 $12,256 $33,199 $30,804
2009-10 $13,667 $12,804 $33,116 $31,023
2010-11 $14,194 $13,564 $33,513 $32,026
2011-12 $14,616 $14,377 $33,608 $33,058
2012-13 $15,022 $15,022 $34,483 $34,483
Source: National Center for Educational Statistics

The Rise of Student Loan Debt

Rising Student Loan Debt in Graduate Education

rising-loan
Combined 2012
Undergraduate / Graduate debt
90th PERCENTILE DEBT: $153.000

(One in ten borrowers owe this amount or more)

75th PERCENTILE DEBT: $99.614

(One in four borrowers owe this amount or more)

MEDIAN DEBT $57.600

(Amount owed by the typical borrower)

Source: New America, The Graduate Student Debt Review, March 2014

Types of Computer Science Scholarships

There are numerous scholarships available for prospective and current CS students, and understanding the different types offered is key to obtaining substantial funding. The following is a list of scholarship types along with a few examples of each:

Company-Sponsored

One of the best ways for businesses to locate top graduates is to help finance their educations. Most major companies sponsor scholarship programs for students pursuing computer science and related fields. A few examples include:

ibm
IBM Ph.D. Fellowship Awards Program

Open to Ph.D. students with an interest in solving problems relevant to IBM. Areas include software, computers, technology, and interdisciplinary projects creating social and business value. Recipients are selected based on overall potential for research excellence, alignment with technical interests of IBM, and progress to-date. Fellowships are one year in length.

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Amount: Tuition, fees and a $17,500 stipend.

microsoft
Microsoft Scholarship Program

Awarded to those pursuing studies in computer science or related STEM disciplines. Selection is based on demonstrated passion for technology, academic excellence, and leadership while working to make a difference in the software industry. A large majority are awarded to women, under-represented minority students, and students with disabilities.

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Amount:Full or partial-tuition scholarships in varying amounts.

sandisk
SanDisk Scholars Program

Open to students pursuing careers in engineering or computer science, specifically graduating high school seniors, community college students, and students already enrolled in a computer science or engineering related course of study, with a demonstrated financial need.

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Amount: Up to $10,000.

Institutional

Postsecondary institutions are considered one of the largest sources of scholarships for computer science degree programs. Most schools, especially larger ones, offer scholarships exclusively to students enrolled in specific academic programs. To find out what is available, prospective students should contact the school’s financial aid office. Examples include:

Bob Barbara
Bob and Barbara Kleist Endowed Student Award in ICS University of California – Irvine

This award is designated for an undergraduate student transferring from a community college to UCI who is preparing for a career in the computer science field. Students must have a declared major in computer science at the university’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences to be eligible.

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Amount: $2,500.

Booz_allen
Booz Allen Hamilton Scholarship University of Maryland

The Booz Allen Hamilton Scholarship is awarded to an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in computer science at UMC. Candidates must hold a 3.0 or higher GPA and have a demonstrated interest in areas of big data, cloud computing, or cyber-security.

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Amount:$5,000. Non-renewable.

JP_Eckert
J.P. Eckert Fellowship University of Pennsylvania

The J.P. Eckert Fellowship awards five scholarships annually to master’s degree candidates beginning postgraduate studies at UPenn during the fall semester. Eligible programs include those offered by the engineering and computer and information science departments.

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Amount:$10,000 towards tuition and fees.

Essay-Based

Many scholarships may be awarded via competition, oftentimes comprising an essay. Writing serves as a creative means of seeing beyond GPAs and SAT scores to evaluate applicants’ levels of passion for and commitment to the computer science field. The following three scholarship programs require an essay submission as part of their application process:

Bob Barbara
Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program

This scholarship was created to encourage students to pursue research careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering. Two undergraduate awards are presented annually to students in their junior and senior years of study. Applicants must submit an essay related to their chosen career as part of the application.

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Amount:Tuition, fees, books, room and board up to a maximum of $7,500.

intertek_icon
Intertek Scholarships

Intertek offers scholarships to undergraduate students pursuing STEM-related degrees in preparation for careers in engineering. Students must complete an essay about their understanding of Interek’s business and demonstrate interest in contributing to the company through an internship.

coin

Amount:Up to $10,000 (paired with internship).

storage
Storage.com College Scholarships

Two undergraduate scholarships are awarded annually, the first to an incoming freshman and the second to a current undergraduate student. Winners are selected based on a 200- to 500-word essay explaining the experiences, lessons and opportunities the applicant wishes to gain while in school. Candidates are also invited to create a short video to accompany their entries, highlighting what they look forward to in college.

coin

Amount:$2,500.

Project-Based

Some scholarships require the completion of a subject-related project, such as the design and manufacturing of a device prototype or app. Project-based scholarships are particularly popular in STEM subjects, including computer science, and allow the scholarship sponsor to evaluate applicants’ hands-on skills. Examples of project-based scholarships include:

ieee_icon
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Presidents’ Scholarship

Awarded to a student who has produced an outstanding project displaying a thorough knowledge of electrical or electronics engineering, computer science, or other fields of interest within IEEE. Recipients receive their award at the annual Intel Science and Engineering Fair, where a team of IEEE members and volunteers review all projects and select the winner.

coin

Amount: $10,000 paid over four years of undergraduate study.

intertek_icon
Making the Future Scholarship Program

Sponsored by the business and technology services firm Cognizant, this scholarship is designed-based. Candidates are required to submit documentation of a hands-on project illustrating both innovation and creativity in a STEM-related topic. Applicants must be enrolled in a two or four-year institution with a full course of undergraduate study or at a vocational school pursuing training in a STEM field.

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Amount:$5,000, payable to the institution and earmarked for the account of the winning student.

siemens_icon
Siemens Competition Scholarships

The Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology is known to be a premier science research competition for high school students, who compete as individuals or in small teams. Twenty-four project topics are eligible, all science or math related, including computer science. Awards are determined based on submitted project research reports.

coin

Amount:$1,000 to $100,000.

Contest-Based

A number of scholarships, particularly those involving the sciences, are part of regional and national contests. Similar to project-based scholarships, the type of competition and value of awards vary by program, but all seek out and support talented future CS scholars and professionals. Three contest-based programs are noted below:

intel_icon
Intel Science Talent Search

This program claims to be the nation’s oldest and most prestigious pre-college science competition. While not technically a scholarship program, the search makes cash awards to high school seniors for their research and potential as future leaders in the scientific community. Students and their schools compete regionally and then nationally until 40 finalists are chosen and invited for a weeklong culminating competition in Washington, D.C.

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Amount:$7,500 for finalists to $150,000 for first place winners.

think_scholars
THINK Scholars Program

The THINK Scholars Program is run by MIT undergrads and operates to support and fund STEM projects developed by high school students. Candidates submit proposals and finalists are invited to MIT’s XFair, where three winners are chosen.

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Amount:$1,000 for the Grand Prize Winner, $500 for the other winners.

storage
Junior Science and Humanities Symposium Scholarships and Awards

Awards are based on original research or experiments within STEM topics at the high school level. Students compete regionally through symposia sponsored by universities before moving to the national level, where scholarships are awarded.

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Amount:Regionally from $1,000 to $2,000; Nationally from $4,000 to $12,000.

To Promote Diversity

Computer science programs are highly popular at postsecondary institutions, with classes filling up rapidly and leaving some students to find alternative courses. Yet a number of groups remain underrepresented in computer science and other STEM related degree programs. One way of combating a lack of diversity is through scholarship programs targeted at underrepresented student communities. Below are four examples:

swe_icon
Society of Women Engineers

Dedicated to supporting women in engineering, engineering technology, and computer science fields, SWE offers several scholarship opportunities to undergraduate and graduate female students. In fact, in 2014, the organization awarded more than $700,000 via 230 scholarships. Basic requirements include attending or planning to attend an ABET-accredited program in engineering, technology, or computing; must be a full-time student; and cannot be fully funded for tuition, fees, and books. Scholarships are only open to women.

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Amount: Varies, depending on specific scholarship.

Gates_Millennium_Scholars
Gates Millennium Scholars

Awards scholarships to undergraduate students of African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian American/Pacific Islander, and Hispanic American descent. Other requirements include a cumulative GPA of 3.3 and demonstrated leadership through participation in community service, extracurricular, or volunteer activities.

coin

Amount:Varies based on financial need and cost of tuition, fees, books and living expenses.

google_icon
Generation Google Scholarship

Awards are made to both high school seniors and current university students who are members of an underrepresented group. Applicants must be pursuing a computer science or computer engineering program, or a degree in a closely related technical field.

coin

Amount: $10,000, if studying in the U.S.; $5,000 (Canadian) if studying in Canada.

xerox_icon
Xerox Minority Scholarships

This scholarship provides funding to minority students undertaking a technical science or engineering discipline. Candidates must be enrolled full-time at a four-year institution, maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, and be of African American, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Alaskan, or Hispanic descent.

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Amount: $1,000 to $10,000.

How to Find & Apply to Computer Science Scholarships

Although many scholarships are available for computer science degrees, finding ones tailored to students’ individual backgrounds, financial needs, and career goals is important. Below, interested students can find a step-by-step plan for finding and landing scholarships to help move a computer science degree from a dream into reality.

1

Start thinking about financial aid early

Experts report that students should begin considering financial aid options in the summer before their senior year of high school, around the time they begin visiting prospective colleges.

2

Make a list of accomplishments and gather appropriate supporting documents

Scholarship award panels often look beyond grades and placement scores. Students preparing to begin their undergraduate CS degree should create an academic resume highlighting high school, extra-curricular, and other relevant achievements. Graduate students should add internships, work-study experience, research projects, and other activities related to their field. Other accomplishments to include are academic, sports, or service honors, along with a list of clubs, associations and organizations where they have volunteered or been a member. Anything that distinguishes a candidate from his or her competition will make them more memorable during the application process.

3

Search for scholarships and carefully review requirements for each

With so many scholarships available, it’s important to begin creating a list of potential funding sources early on. General online searches for computer science and related scholarships are a good place to start. There are also a number of sites dedicated to computer science awards, for example, Scholarships.com and Niche. The U.S. Department of Labor offers a searchable database for more than 7,000 scholarships, fellowships, and other financial aid opportunities. After narrowing the college program list down to a few choices, students should visit those colleges’ websites for institutional scholarship listings.

High school students can take advantage of college advisors and receive help putting together a list of possible scholarships and eligibility requirements. Current college students should visit their colleges’ financial aid office for help in preparing fellowship applications.

4

Keep track of all important scholarship deadlines

Most college financial aid professionals lose count of the number of disappointed students who were accepted to the school but could not afford to attend because they missed a scholarship or financial aid deadline. Students should create a calendar with all application-related deadlines and set reminders ahead of those deadlines to ensure ample time is available to complete applications and gather required documents.

5

Contact scholarship programs and request application packages

Many scholarship programs allow students to download application materials, but some still rely on paper applications. Students should research the proper method of completing applications for each scholarship and request necessary paperwork long before the deadline.

6

Gather copies of all documents required for the application package

Specific requirements will vary, but common forms of documentation include high school and/or postsecondary academic records; financial documents such as tax forms and W-2’s for students and their parents if they are a dependent; and documents showing proof of identity, such as passports and birth certificates. Other documents that may be required include letters of recommendation, language certification, and examples of past work.

7

Review letter of recommendation requirements and contact potential writers

Requirements for recommendations vary by scholarship, so students must review instructions carefully. Teachers are often the best sources but should be used only if they have direct knowledge of the applicant’s skills and qualifications. Other possible writers include current and former employers or distinguished computer science professionals that the applicant has worked with directly.

8

Prepare for and write all necessary essays

While most STEM-related scholarships do not require an essay component, some will. Students are advised to start first drafts early and seek writing help if needed. Candidates may choose to write a generic essay that can be edited to meet specific requirements for each scholarship, but it is of paramount importance to tailor every application to the awarding body’s individual requirements.

9

Apply, and apply early

Application deadlines for freshmen and other first-time candidates often come much earlier than those for continuing students. Applicants should be sure to meet each and every application requirement exactly as requested. During this phase, it is crucial to be detail oriented, to follow instructions to the letter, and not to miss any deadlines. Applications can also be sent in early.

10

Follow-up promptly, if asked.

If a scholarship program requests further information or documentation, students should try to get these materials to them quickly. If more information is requested, students are likely being seriously considered.

Expert Advice: Interview

with Jeff Holliday , Associate Director of Scholarships and Compliance
A student is interested in computer science/STEM and comes to your office seeking financial aid. What’s your first step?

In regard to STEM majors in their sophomore through senior years, the state offers an enhancement to the base merit scholarship. Computer science students could be eligible for an additional $2,500 per year. At Clemson, we offer that enhancement for freshman students through our university funding and then the state picks it up years two through four.

They should be applying for outside scholarships as well. I’ve seen many scholarships designed for students interested in engineering, computer engineering, and computer science, so that’s something computer sciences students should be looking at.

How early do you suggest students and parents begin thinking about scholarships?

As a parent, I would try to grow my student’s interest in computer science, possibly as early a middle school, through science-related clubs or competitions. Participation in those activities often brings scholarship opportunities with them. They can also use that experience when applying to other science-related scholarships. A lot of students don’t think about internships when they’re in high school. If interning for a company that has a scholarship program, students may have those awards made available to them.

When should they begin the actual financial aid process?

I always recommend students start to act no later than the beginning of their senior year of high school. A lot of students can even start applying for outside scholarships late in their junior year. As to financial aid specifically, I would look at applying in the fall of senior year.

Is there any other advice for a high school student who is just beginning to look at paying for college and landing a scholarship?

Two things. The first is to meet all deadlines, and the second is to really apply yourself in high school. If you have the choice between an AP computer science course and a regular computer science course, make sure you are pushing yourself and taking AP work whenever possible.