Federal Scholarships

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The federal government provides several financial aid options to students, including education loans, scholarships, etc. While education loans need to be repaid to the government, you are not required to repay a federal scholarship under normal circumstances.

A few notable federal scholarships are offered by agencies like the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Transportation, and the National Institutes of Health.

Criteria For Federal Scholarships

Federal scholarships are given based on various criteria. Some scholarships are merit-based. Such scholarships might be awarded based on a combination of academics and special talent or academic achievement and can be earned by meeting standards set by the awarding/issuing Departments.

Some federal scholarships are awarded to students based on their parents’ occupation. For instance, scholarships are awarded to students belonging to military families. And some scholarships are awarded to specific groups of people, like scholarships for women or graduate students, and others are based on financial needs.

List Of Scholarships

Many federal scholarships are designed for high-need field students or students doing coursework relevant to the mission of a particular federal agency.

STEM Scholarships

The federal government gives STEM scholarships to help you pay for a STEM degree. To qualify for this scholarship, you should opt for majors like science, engineering, technology, math, or any related fields that promote innovation and critical thinking.

The following federal agencies award STEM scholarships:

  • Department of Defence (DoD)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • Department Of Energy (DOE)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
  • Department Of Transportation (DOT)
  • U.S. Census Bureau
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • U.S. Geological Survey ( USGS)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

The listed federal agencies award several scholarships for college students. They include, but are not limited to:

NIH Dissertation Award

The National Institutes of Health offers this program to help students cover their dissertation research costs in accredited research doctoral programs.

You must meet the following criteria to qualify for the program:

  • You must be a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident.
  • You must be enrolled in a doctoral degree program.

CyberCorps(R) Scholarship for Service (SFS)

The National Science Foundation sponsors this program. The CyberCorps scholarship provides you educational opportunities if you are an undergraduate or a graduate student. The scholarship offers you indirect funding at the undergraduate or graduate level or focuses on educational developments, including curricula development, retention, or training.

Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART)

Funded by the Department Of Defence, the SMART scholarship offers financial assistance if you pursue your studies in science, mathematics, technology, engineering, and disciplines critical to the DoD’s national security functions.

To qualify for the SMART Scholarship, you should meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • You must be a citizen of the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, or New Zealand at the time of application.
  • You must be 18 years of age or older at the time of application.
  • You are willing to accept a post-graduation job with the DoD.
  • You complete at least one summer internship at a DoD center.
  • You have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • You are pursuing a technical undergraduate or graduate degree in any of the 21 STEM disciplines listed by the SMART.
  • You are requesting at least 1.5 years of degree funding before your graduation.
  • You can generate a fall 2020 college transcript from an ABET-accredited program at a U.S. university or college that is regionally accredited or are pursuing a graduate degree at a U.S. university or college that is regionally accredited.

NOAA Graduate Research and Training Scholarship Program (GRTSP)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration provides this scholarship. The program offers assistance if you are a graduate student in NOAA-supported fields and are studying research-based masters and doctoral degrees at accredited academic institutions associated with the NOAA Cooperative Science Centers (CSC).

You should meet several eligibility requirements to qualify for this scholarship. They include:

  • You are a citizen of the United States.
  • You have a minimum GPA of 3.5 or above for the duration of the program.
  • You have an undergraduate degree in STEM.
  • You have completed one academic term of graduate coursework.
  • You have enrolled in a Ph.D. or M.S. program and enrolled in a STEM discipline that supports NOAA’s mission.

Nancy Foster Scholarship

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sponsors this scholarship. The NOAA’s Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship encourages independent graduate-level research (especially if you are a female or a minority student) in NOAA mission-related marine biology and maritime archaeology, sciences of oceanography, engineering, and resource management of ocean and coastal areas. This scholarship is awarded based on academic excellence, research and career goals, letters of recommendation, and financial need.

Before applying for this scholarship, assess the following points as they will help you determine if you are likely to have a successful application:

  • You have exceptional letters of recommendation.
  • Your research proposal aligns with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s mission, with particular emphasis on meeting the science requirements of the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.
  • Your financial status documents a strong financial need due to hardships, challenges, or other information through a convincing personal narrative.

Note –

  1. It is not advised to apply for this program if you are in the final year of your Masters or Ph.D. program.
  2. Proposals that do not support the NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary System’s science needs do not rank high.

Visit to know more about the STEM scholarships, internships, and fellowships.

FEEA Scholarships

Federal Employee Education & Assistance (FEEA) scholarships are given to full-time or part-time permanent federal civilians, their spouses, children, step-children, and legal dependents. It also provides scholarships to postal workers employed with the federal government for 3+ years, their spouses, children, step-children, and legal dependents.

Some unions and associations partner with FEEA to offer scholarships for their employees, employees’ spouses, children, grandchildren, or retirees’ children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

While applying for FEEA scholarships, you must provide the following documents:

  • Complete college or high school transcripts
  • A list of community extracurricular activities, services, and awards
  • A copy of the federal employee sponsor’s current SF-50 (not required for retired NARFE members)

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program

The Benjamin A. Gilman program offers help if you are an undergraduate student with limited financial means to study or intern abroad. Under this program, the John McCain International Scholarship for Children of Military Families supports you to study or intern abroad, but only if you are an undergraduate student and a child of active-duty military personnel.

To qualify for the Gilman program, you should meet several eligibility criteria, including:

  • You must be a United States citizen.
  • You are an undergraduate student at an accredited institution of higher education in the U.S. (both two-year and four-year institutions).
  • You should apply for credit-bearing study abroad programs in an area or country with an overall Travel Advisory Level 1 or 2 (according to the United States Department of State’s Travel Advisory System).
  • You must receive a Federal Pell Grant while submitting the application or provide proof that you will receive a Pell Grant during your study program term or internship period.

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program

It is an overseas cultural and language immersion program for American students enrolled at United States colleges and universities. To qualify for this program, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or national during the time of your application.
  • You must be at least 18 years of age.
  • You must complete at least one full year of study (two semesters or three quarters) if you are pursuing an undergraduate program (associate’s or bachelor’s) by the beginning of the CLS Program.
  • You must be enrolled in an accredited United States degree-granting program at the undergraduate (associate’s, bachelor’s) or graduate (master’s, professional, doctoral, degree) level during the time of your application.

Note –

There are limited exceptions to the enrollment in an accredited U.S. degree-granting program requirement. To know more about it, visit

Project G.O.

All qualified ROTC students can apply for scholarships in critical language study abroad and domestically through this program. To qualify for this program, you must be:

  • A citizen of the United States
  • An undergraduate or graduate student on track to commission through the Naval, Army, or Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), uncontracted or contracted, at a regionally accredited U.S. college or university
  • Marine Platoon Leaders Class (PLC) students

Drilling members of the National Guard or Reserve, newly commissioned officers awaiting active duty, and Army Green to Gold members qualify for Project G.O. domestic programs.