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  • Jean O'Toole

STEM Scholarships for Minority Students

Often, I am asked about trends in the world of private outside scholarships, or those scholarships not specifically attached to a specific college or university. One trend in scholarships from private companies, organizations, individuals and foundations has been an increase in the past decade of opportunities for minority students who are pursuing science, technology, engineering and math careers, also known as STEM fields.

As industries strive for more diversity in their workforce at every level, companies are investing in the future of their industries by supporting promising students through scholarships to reduce financial obstacles to STEM related degrees.

One example is the Gates Millennium Scholars Program founded in 1999 by Bill and Melinda Gates. This $1.6 billion program was established to assist African American, Asian Pacific Islander American, Hispanic American and Native Indian or Alaskan American students pursuing bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in public health and science, library science, computer science, education, engineering and mathematics. For more information about the Gates Millennium Scholars program visit:

The Generation Google Scholarship is another example of available opportunity for students from underrepresented groups who are pursuing STEM related careers. Undergraduate and Graduate students who identify as Black/African American, LatinX/Hispanic, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander or American Indian can apply to receive up to $10,000 if they are pursuing computer science or a related field. For more information about the Generation Google Scholarship visit:

The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association or AFCEA has numerous scholarship opportunities for minority students. Both undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to apply for the scholarships that have awards up to $5000. For more information about the various awards visit:

Additional scholarship resources for minority students include:

Asian Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund

United Negro College Fund

Hispanic Scholarship Fund

American Indian Graduate Center Scholars

There are many scholarships for students and students should always look for opportunities beyond those related to race or career goal. If any student strategically stacks the private scholarship opportunities from companies, organizations, individuals and foundations on top of college specific awards from an educational institution, it can dramatically change the overall financial picture for a student and their family. Free resources on how to start a scholarship search can be found at


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