The National Science Foundation has granted $3 million over the next five years to Stanislaus State and three other colleges to support students in computer science programs. The grant was awarded by the National Science Foundation’s Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) program.
The funding will be divided between Stanislaus State partnering with Merced College, and University of Texas, El Paso, partnering with El Paso Community College. Stanislaus State will receive approximately $1.4 million as its portion of the grant.
The purpose of the grant is to support high-achieving, low-income students. Candidates will have to show financial need and be evaluated academically to qualify. Students in this demographic often are at risk for delayed graduation and enrollment difficulties, as financial setbacks can hinder their otherwise successful progress.
“I taught a student who was performing well in classes, and suddenly his grades started to fall,” said Melanie Martin, Stan State computer science professor and co-principal investigator of the grant. “I asked him why his performance had changed. He told me he’d recently gotten a job to support himself and that his work schedule was interfering with his classes and homework. It’s a problem that many students face.”
The grant empowers Stanislaus State and University of Texas, El Paso to pair with nearby community colleges Merced College and El Paso Community College. Grant money will be used to fund three cohorts of 10 students each. For the California collaborative, 12 recipients will start their scholarships at Merced College and the rest will be current Stan State students.
“This program will help transfer-ready students from Merced continue working toward their degrees when they come to Stan State,” Martin said. “It will allow both Merced and Stanislaus students to focus on their academic success and graduate on time. We’re really excited to partner with Merced College. It’s been a fruitful pipeline for talented students, especially for the computer science program. We want community college students to join us at Stan State, and this grant will enable us to provide a foundation for them.”