According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for engineers as of May 2010 ranged from $68,730 for agricultural engineers to $108,020 for petroleum engineers. With high wages and and a positive employment outlook, it’s no wonder that so many students pursue college degrees in engineering.
Most entry-level jobs in the field require at least a bachelor’s degree; some require a master’s degree. Of course, obtaining a college degree is anything but inexpensive. Luckily, there are many grants and scholarships available specifically to engineering students.
The National Society of Professional Engineers offers scholarships to engineering students of all races, genders and disciplines. The NSPE makes scholarships of up to $2,500 available to graduating high school seniors who plan to pursue engineering degrees.
Six NSPE scholarships are offered each year to undergraduate students in engineering, ranging in value from $2,000 to $5,000. The NSPE also administers the George B. Hightower Fellowship, PEG Management Fellowship and the Milton F. Lunch Research Fellowship to engineering students enrolled in graduate programs.
Most NSPE scholarships have an annual application deadline of March 15, and scholarship application forms are available for download on the NSPE website.
Female engineering students should consider applying for the many scholarships available from the Society of Women Engineers. The SWE offers almost 20 scholarships to incoming freshmen engineering students, ranging in value from $1,000 to the $7,000 Anne Maureen Whitney Barrow Memorial Scholarship.
Over 50 separate SWE scholarships are available to continuing undergraduates, while approximately 20 SWE scholarship programs are open to graduate students. The SWE also offers several scholarships to students returning to school after an interruption in their learning, including the $2,000 B.K. Krenzer Memorial Reentry Scholarship and the $1,500 Olive Lynn Salembier Memorial Reentry Scholarship.
In addition to all of these nationally available scholarships administered by the Society of Women Engineers, state and regional SWE chapters also offer scholarships to students attending college in many areas. While many SWE scholarships are open to engineering students in all disciplines, others are limited to students in specific concentrations.
Most SWE scholarship programs require that an applicant have a grade point average of at least 3.0, and some are reserved for student members of the SWE. The annual deadline to apply for SWE scholarships is February 15.
Although not limited specifically to engineering students, the organization Graduate Women in Science offers fellowship awards of up to $10,000 to female students pursuing a graduate degree in any branch of science.
Although non-members are eligible to apply for GWIS scholarships, they must pay a non-refundable $50 application fee. Application for GWIS members is free. The annual deadline to apply for the GWIS National Fellowships Program is January 15.
The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering administers up to $4,000,000 each year. To be eligible for NACME scholarships, an applicant must be of African American, Native American or Latino origin, must be studying engineering on a full-time basis and must have a grade point average of 2.5 or better; some individual NACME scholarship programs require that an applicant have a minimum GPA of at least 3.0.
Many NACME scholarship programs support a recipient over the course of multiple years. Examples of available NACME scholarships and fellowships available include the $2,500-per-year Sidney and Katherine Friend Scholarship for incoming first-year students, the $5,000-per-year George Campbell Jr. Fellowship in Engineering for sophomore undergraduate students and the $20,000 Richard Heckert Fellowship.
The American Indian Science and Engineering Society offers grants and scholarships to Native American engineering students. Four scholarships are available through AISES: the A.T. Anderson Memorial Scholarship, the AISES Intel Scholarship, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Foundation Scholarship and the AISES Google Scholarship.
To be eligible, an applicant must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, must be a member of AISES and must be at least one-quarter Native American. Native Alaskan and Native Hawaiian engineering students are also eligible to receive assistance through AISES scholarship programs. AISES scholarships are open to graduate students as well as undergraduate students. Application deadlines vary by program.
The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers offers several scholarships ranging in value from $1,000 to $3,000 to engineering students of Hispanic and Latino descent.
Graduating high school seniors, undergraduate and graduate students are all eligible. An applicant must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher to be considered; graduate students must have a grade point average of at least 3.25.
U.S. citizenship is not a requirement for application, but all applicants must be attending accredited colleges within the U.S. or Puerto Rico. Only full-time students are eligible. All scholarship applications must be postmarked by the annual deadline of April 1 to be eligible for consideration.
African American engineering students may be eligible to receive scholarship funding through the many programs administered by the National Society of Black Engineers. NSBE scholarship programs range in value from $500 to $10,500, and over $30,000,000 worth of scholarship support is awarded by the NSBE each year. To be eligible, an applicant must be a current dues-paying member of the NSBE. Application deadlines vary by specific scholarship.
Other organizations also offer scholarships and grants to minority engineering students. For example, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers administers the $1,000 AIChE Minority Scholarship Award and the $1,000 AIChE Minority Scholarship Award for Incoming Freshmen, available to undergraduate chemical engineering students of Hispanic, African American, Native American or Native Alaskan origin.
The Institute for Industrial Engineers administers the $4,000 UPS Scholarship for Minority Students each year. The program is open to any minority undergraduate industrial engineering student, and the annual deadline for application falls on
The National Society of Professional Engineers offers the $5,000 Maureen L. & Howard N. Blitman Scholarship to Promote Diversity in Engineering to graduating high school seniors who are African American, Hispanic, or Native American.
Many organizations serve student populations concentrating in specific engineering disciplines. For example, the American Society of Civil Engineers offers six scholarships to undergraduate civil engineering students, including the $2,000 John Lenard Civil Engineering Scholarship and the $2,000 Y.C. Yang Civil Engineering Scholarship. Some, such as the Y.C. Yang Civil Engineering Scholarship, are limited to undergraduate students who have entered their junior or senior year.
Graduate scholarships available from the ASCE include the $2,000 Arthur S. Tuttle Memorial Scholarship and the Freeman Fellowship, which ranges in value from $2,000 to $5,000. Most ASCE scholarships require that an applicant submit an essay of between 500 and 1,000 words along with his scholarship application, as well as letters of recommendation from faculty.
Civil engineering majors pursuing careers related to dam operation should also consider applying for the $10,000 scholarships available from the Association of State Dam Safety Officials. Applicants must be senior undergraduates and citizens of the United States to be eligible.
Undergraduate and graduate civil engineering students may also be eligible to receive scholarships ranging in value from $2,500 to $5,000 from the Wire Reinforcement Institute.
The American Society for Mechanical Engineers offers approximately $221,500 in annual scholarship and grant support to mechanical engineering students throughout the U.S. Available ASME scholarships for undergraduates include the $3,000 American Electric Power Scholarship, the $2,500 ASME Foundation Hanley Scholarship, the $5,000 Garland Duncan Scholarship and the $4,000 Melvin R. Green Scholarship.
ASME scholarship programs open to graduate students include the $3,000 Kate Gleason Scholarship, $1,500 Bruce J. Heim Foundation Scholarship and the $2,000 Rice-Cullimore Scholarship for foreign students studying in the U.S.
Most ASME programs are available only to ASME student members. Some ASME scholarship programs have academic requirements that must be met in order for an applicant to qualify; for example, applicants for the Bruce J. Heim Foundation Scholarship must have a grade point average of at least 3.3. The application cycle for ASME scholarships lasts from December 15 to March 1 each year.
Chemical engineering students should apply for grants and scholarships made available by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. The $5,000 John J. McKetta Undergraduate Scholarship is available to an undergraduate junior or senior chemical engineering student with a grade point average of 3.0 or better. Fifteen Donald F. & Mildred Topp Othmer National Scholarship Awards are awarded annually and valued at $1,000 each.
The AIChE also administers the $15,000 Carboline-NACE Foundation Scholarship for students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in corrosion engineering at the University of Akron.
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics provides funding to undergraduate students of aerospace and aeronautical engineering. Approximately 30 scholarships are awarded each year. Students of sophomore, junior and senior standing may apply, and must have a grade point average of at least 3.3 to qualify for support.
AIAA scholarships are awarded in amounts ranging from $2,000 to $2,500, and are renewable each year that a recipient continues his undergraduate education. Applications must be submitted by January 31 of each year.
Several associations offer scholarship support to engineering students pursuing careers related to the mining and petroleum industries. For example, the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers administers several scholarship programs, including the Lewis E. and Elizabeth W. Young Scholarships for students attending school in Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, or Virginia.
Other programs available from AIME include the Benjamin J. Fairless Scholarship and the John S. Marshall Memorial Scholarship.
The Society of Petroleum Engineers offers several scholarships to petroleum engineering students at both the undergraduate and graduate level, including the SPE Foundation Gus Archie Scholarship, the SPE Star Scholarship and Fellowship and the SPE Foundation Nico van Wingen Graduate Fellowship.
The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society also provides scholarship funding to students in engineering programs related to mining and metals. Available programs include the $5,000 J. Keith Brimacombe Presidential Scholarship, the $2,000 Extraction & Processing Division Scholarship and the $2,500 Materials Processing & Manufacturing Division Scholarship. TMS scholarships are available to undergraduate students of either sophomore or junior standing.
Scholarships for mining engineering students are also available from the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration. SME offers several annual programs: the $5,000 Syd S. Peng Ground Control in Mining Scholarship, the $2,000 Gerald V. Henderson Industrial Minerals Memorial Scholarship and the $1,500 Mining and Exploration Division Scholarship. SME scholarships are available to support students of mining engineering at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is the premiere source of scholarship funding for electrical engineering students. The IEEE Power and Energy Society Scholarship Plus Initiative is a program dedicated to assist undergraduate students pursuing degrees in either electrical engineering or computer engineering.
To be eligible, an applicant must have a strong grade point average, must be committed to a career in the power and energy industry and must be a United States citizen or permanent resident. Recipients of the IEEE Power and Energy Society Scholarship Plus Initiative will receive $2,000 during their first year of support, $2,000 during their second year and $3,000 during their third and final year of support.
In addition to its undergraduate scholarship program, the IEEE offers a variety of scholarships and grants for graduate students in electrical, electronics and computer engineering. These programs include the $2,000 Richard E. Merwin Student Scholarship, the $7,500 IEEE Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Society Graduate Student Fellowship and the $5,000 IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society Graduate Fellowships.
Graduate students specializing in nuclear engineering should consider applying for the $500 IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society Graduate Scholarship Award.
Industrial engineering students may be eligible for scholarship support through the Institute for Industrial Engineers. The $700 A.O. Putnam Memorial Scholarship, $2,000 Benjamin Willard Niebel Scholarship, $600 C.B. Gambrell Undergraduate Scholarship, $1,000 CIE Undergraduate Scholarship and $3,000 Dwight D. Gardner Scholarship are all available to undergraduate students.
IIE scholarships available to graduate industrial engineering students include the $700 E.J. Sierleja Memorial Fellowship and the $3,000 Gilbreth Memorial Fellowship. IIE scholarships are available not only to students attending school in the United States, but also to those attending accredited institutions in Canada and Mexico.
Full-time students of industrial engineering who are IEE members and have a grade point average of 3.4 or better are eligible to apply for IIE scholarship programs. Graduate applicants must have maintained an undergraduate GPA of 3.4 or higher to qualify. The annual deadline for application is November 15.
Students of materials and processing engineering should apply for scholarships made available by the Association for Iron and Steel Technology. AIST Foundation scholarships of between $2,000 and $6,000 are awarded annually to undergraduate materials science students of freshman, sophomore and junior standing.
The FeMET Scholarship provides $10,000 of support over two years and is open to undergraduate sophomores, as is the $10,000 Steel Engineering Education Link Scholarship.
The AISI/AIST Foundation Premier Scholarship is also available to sophomores and provides support of up to $20,000 over two years. Several regional AIST chapters also provide local scholarships to materials science engineering students throughout the United States. The deadline for application falls on March 2.
The Institute of Transportation Engineers makes annual financial support available to graduate-level students of transportation engineering in certain parts of the country. Students in Texas may qualify for support through the $1,000 Texas District Fellowship.
The $1,000 Western District Fellowship is available to students residing in Idaho, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Alaska, Arizona, California, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Wyoming, Oregon and Washington.
In addition, the $2,000 Transoft Solutions Inc. Ahead of the Curve Scholarship is available to transportation engineering students throughout the United States and Canada. All applications must be submitted by April 1 to be eligible for consideration.
Undergraduate biomedical engineering students may be eligible for financial support through the C. William Hall Scholarship, administered by the Society for Biomaterials. Applicants must be of junior or senior standing in order to apply. The annual deadline for application falls on February 14.
Engineering students seeking a career in the field of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration should apply for the Clifford H. “Ted” Rees, Jr. Scholarship, made available by the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute. Up to 15 scholarships valued at $2,000 are awarded annually. Applications are available for download on the at the AHRI website.
Another organization making scholarship and grant money available to HVACR engineering students is the American Society for Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. Scholarships of up to $10,000 are available to undergraduates, and graduating high school seniors planning to pursue a degree related to the HVACR industries can receive up to $3,000 for their freshman year.
To be eligible, an applicant must hold a grade point average of no less than 3.0, must be attending school on a full-time basis and must have demonstrable financial need for scholarship assistance. In addition to these nationally available scholarships, chapters of ASHRAE offer scholarships to students attending specific schools or to students in studying in certain regions of the United States.
Nuclear and plasma engineering majors may be eligible for support from the American Nuclear Society, which administers over 20 annual scholarships to both undergraduate and graduate-level students.
ANS scholarships for undergraduates include the Angelo F. Bisesti Scholarship, the Joseph R. Dietrich Scholarship and the Raymond DiSalvo Scholarship. Graduate students in nuclear engineering should apply for the Saul Levine Memorial Scholarship, Nuclear Criticality Safety Pioneers Scholarship or the James F. Schumar Scholarship.
In addition, graduating high school seniors who have applied to and been accepted into a program related to nuclear engineering or the nuclear sciences are eligible to apply for the $1,000 ANS Incoming Freshman Scholarship.
The Society of Plastics Engineersoffers a variety of annual scholarships to engineering students who plan to pursue a career in the plastics industry. Available scholarships include the $4,000 SPE Foundation Scholarship for both graduate students and undergraduates, the $2,500 Lew Erwin Memorial Scholarship for doctoral candidates and the $3,000 Plastics Pioneers Association Scholarship for undergraduate engineering students.
The SPE also awards several grants to engineering students in specific regions of the country, such as the $2,000 Pittsburgh Section Scholarship and the $6,000 Gulf Coast Hurricane Scholarship for students studying in a Gulf Coast state. SPE scholarships are awarded on the basis of an applicant’s financial need and academic record. The annual deadline for application is February 15. Electronic applications may be downloaded from the SPE website.
Illumination engineering student grants are available from the Illuminating Engineering Society. IES offers three annual scholarship programs. For example, the $1,000 Young Professionals Scholarship Fund is available to junior and senior undergraduates who wish to attend the IES annual conference. The Besal Lighting Education Fund is available to undergraduate students with a grade point average of 3.0 or better.
Junior and senior undergraduate engineering majors concentrating in the field of illumination engineering and attending school in Washington, Oregon, Nevada or northern California are eligible to apply for the $2,500 Robert E. Thunen Memorial Scholarship.
Engineering students intending to pursue a career in the pulp and paper industry are eligible to apply for the William L. Cullison Scholarship, administered annually by the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry. This scholarship is available to an undergraduate paper engineering student of junior standing who has maintained a grade point average of 3.5 or higher throughout the first two years of his program.
The award provides up to $4,000 towards a recipient’s tuition for his junior year, and may be renewed to provide up to $4,000 of support for his senior undergraduate year. May 1 is the annual deadline for application.
The Directed Energy Professional Society offers scholarships of up to $10,000 to graduate students seeking degrees related to laser technology and optical engineering, including electrical engineering, chemical engineering, materials sciences and aerospace engineering. An applicant must either be a U.S. citizen or express intent to become one. The annual deadline for application submission is April 2.
Another organization offering grant support specifically to students pursuing degrees related to optical engineering is the International Society for Optics and Photonics. SPIE scholarships range in value from $2,000 to $11,000 and are available not only to U.S. citizens but to students of optical engineering throughout the world.
Scholarships are available for graduating high school seniors, undergraduate and graduate students, and for part-time students as well as full-time. All applicants must be members of SPIE to be eligible for scholarship support. The annual deadline to apply is February 15.
Students pursuing concentrations related to environmental engineering and geological engineering should apply for scholarship support through the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists. Available scholarships include the $3,000 Marliave Scholarship for seniors and graduate students and the Martin L. Stout Scholarship available to students at all levels of study. The annual application deadline for AEG scholarships falls on February 1.
Environmental engineering students may also be eligible for the Roy J. Shlemon Scholarship Fund for Engineering Geology, administered by the Geological Society of America. This scholarship is awarded to graduate students pursuing a master’s or Ph.D. and is valued at $1,000.
The United States government offers several grant and scholarship programs to students in pursuing engineering degrees in certain key disciplines.
The U.S. Department of Defense offers possible funding through the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship. NDSEG Fellowships are designed to support a recipient for up to three years while he pursues a doctorate in a subject relevant to national defense.
Eligible disciplines include aeronautical engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, materials science and engineering, mechanical engineering, ocean engineering and any branch of engineering falling within the geosciences or biosciences.
This fellowship pays for all of a recipient’s tuition and fees, provides a monthly stipend of up to $31,500 and also provides annual medical insurance of up to $1,000. Applicants must be citizens or nationals of the United States. The annual deadline for application is December 16. Approximately 10 percent of applicants are selected to receive this prestigious fellowship.
The Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation Scholarship for Service Program — often referred to as the SMART Scholarship — is another Department of Defense scholarship available to some engineering majors.
Undergraduate and graduate students who are U.S. citizens and have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher may apply. Recipients must agree to participate in summer internships at Department of Defense labs and to accept employment with the Department of Defense upon graduation.
The SMART Scholarship pays for all of a recipient’s tuition and mandatory fees, pays a cash award of between $25,000 and $41,000, and provides an annual health insurance stipend of up to $1,200 and a yearly book allowance of $1,000.
Students majoring in aeronautical engineering, astronautical engineering, mechanical engineering, ocean engineering, nuclear engineering, industrial engineering, systems engineering, electrical engineering, materials engineering, civil engineering, chemical engineering, computer engineering, bioengineering or the geosciences are all eligible to apply. All applications and supporting materials must be be received by the application deadline of December 1.
Students of most engineering disciplines may also be eligible for grant support through the Aeronautics Scholarship Program of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The purpose of the program is to promote cutting-edge research and foster innovation relating to space and aerospace technology.
Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to apply. Undergraduate-level recipients receive up to $15,000 per year for up to two years toward expenses related to education, as well as a paid summer internship valued at $10,000. Graduate recipients receive up to $11,000 per year toward school expenses, a $10,000 summer internship and a $35,000 stipend. In addition, graduate students may receive support for up to three years.
Eligible applicants must be U.S. citizens or nationals and must be majoring in one of the following fields of engineering: aeronautical or aerospace engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, energy, engineering mechanics, engineering science, industrial engineering, materials engineering, mechanical engineering, metallurgical engineering, polymer engineering or systems engineering.
The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science offers grant support to graduate-level students in engineering and other science disciplines through the DOE Office of Science Graduate Fellowship Program. Approximately 80 grants are awarded through the program annually.
Full-time students of engineering who are undergraduate seniors or in their first or second year of graduate school are eligible to apply for funding, and must have a grade point average of 3.3 or better in order to qualify for the program.
Applicants are required to be at least 18 years of age and United States citizens. Recipients are provided with an annual cost-of-living allowance of $35,000, up to $10,500 per year towards college tuition, and $5,000 per year to pay for expenses associated with research. The DOE Office of Science Graduate Fellowship Program provides financial support for up to three years.
Students majoring in computer engineering, computer science or other disciplines relevant to computer and network security may be eligible for support through the U.S. Department of Defense Information Assurance Scholarship Program.
Undergraduate juniors or seniors with a grade point average of 3.2 or better are eligible to apply, as are graduate students who hold a grade point average of 3.5 or above. Eligible applicants must be at least 18 years of age and must also be citizens of the United States.
The Information Assurance Scholarship Program provides recipients with full tuition coverage and a stipend for room and board of up to $12,000 for undergraduate students and up to $17,000 for graduate students. Upon completion of his program, a recipient of this scholarship must work for the Department of Defense for one year for each year of support received.
Ph.D. students in engineering and related disciplines may also be able to obtain government scholarship assistance through the Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship. To be eligible, applicants must be full-time students who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States.
Benefits of the program include full tuition, up to $5,000 for research during the first year and $1,000 per year for all subsequent years, and a yearly cost-of-living stipend of $36,000. The Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship will support a recipient for up to four years. The deadline for application is January 10.
The Departments of Transportation in some U.S. states offer scholarships to residents pursuing degrees related to civil and transportation engineering. For example, the Virginia DOT offers up to $3,500 per semester to junior and senior undergraduates with a grade point average of 2.5 or above.
In addition to the many national scholarship and grant programs available to students of engineering, there are even more engineering student grants available from local and regional sources.
Many states have professional organizations dedicated to serving engineers in all disciplines. For example, the North Carolina Society of Engineers awards the $2,000 Ronald C. Harrell Engineering Scholarship to both undergraduate and graduate residents of the state pursuing degrees in engineering. The Delaware Engineering Society awards the $1,000 Joe J. Welker, Jr. Memorial Scholarship and $2,000 University of Delaware Scholarship annually.
Some professional organizations that offer student scholarships are organized on an even more local scale; for example, the Engineering Council of Birmingham in Alabama state offers scholarships valued at between $1,500 and $4,000 to graduating high school seniors native to the area.
Engineering departments at individual colleges and universities also offer scholarships and grants directly to attending students. Departmental engineering scholarships available at specific schools typically range in value from undergraduate awards worth a few hundred dollars to prestigious full-tuition scholarships awarded to the very best students as incoming freshmen.
The A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland awards the Benjamin T. Rome Scholarship each to one first-year student each year. The scholarship provides full tuition for all four undergraduate years, pays for room and board, includes an allowance for books and an additional stipend.
To obtain as many sources of educational funding as possible, students need to apply for grants from national, government, local and university sources.