Scholarships for Astronomy Students
Grants, Student Loans, & Fellowships
Astronomy, one of the oldest sciences, is the study of the basic nature of the universe, including the stars, the planets, comets, galaxies, and more. This is an exciting career path especially when something new in space is discovered. Before entering this career, a good education is needed. Paying for a good education may seem difficult; however, there are many financial aid options for astronomy students to help defray the cost of a good college education.
One of the best financial aid options is scholarships. Scholarships, which are free money opportunities, are a great way to supplement an astronomy student’s financial aid package, because they don’t have to be repaid. Astronomy majors can obtain scholarships once they determine where to look for them.
Where to Find Scholarships for Astronomy Students
Most colleges and universities offer general scholarships through the financial aid office. Educational institutions also offer departmental scholarships for students pursuing a career in astronomy. In addition, students can take the initiative and seek outside scholarships typically administered by local, regional, and national organizations. Here are some examples:
The Lucas Scholarships: This scholarship is awarded to undergraduate students majoring in astronomy who are enrolled full-time, either at San Diego State University or the University of Arizona. Applicants are required to submit an original essay about their career plans in astronomy. The award amount ranges up to $6,000.
North Carolina Space Grant/J. Donald Cline Astronomy Scholarship: This scholarship provides financial support to undergraduate students seeking a degree in an astronomical or related sciences field at a NC Space Grant member university. Applicants must be a full-time student at the sophomore or junior level with a GPA of 3.0 or higher attending a NC Space Grant member institution. Recipients receive $5,000 and a $4,000 stipend to conduct research over the summer at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI).
Physics and Astronomy Alumni Scholarships: These scholarships are awarded to incoming freshmen at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln who are majoring in astronomy and physics. This is an endowment fund in which donations come from alumni and department staff. Award amounts vary each year.
Joel Stebbins Fund Scholarship: This scholarship is dedicated to students enrolled at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln who are majoring in astronomy or mathematics. Award amounts vary.
Helen Jones Farrar-ARCS Scholarship: This scholarship is offered at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy, and sponsored by the Hawaii chapter of Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS). Recipients are awarded $5,000 and must be enrolled full-time with an exceptional academic record at the PhD level.
John Williams and William Dexter Astronomy Scholarship: This scholarship is funded by the Richland College Planetarium for a full-time student enrolled at Richland College with an interest in science. Applicant must have completed a minimum of four credit hours in astronomy, and taking astronomy courses at the time of application. Amount awarded ranges up to $250 per year for one qualifying student.
Back Bay Amateur Astronomers Scholarship: This scholarship is awarded to graduating high school students who demonstrate an interest in astronomy and plan to attend a two- or four-year institution. Applicant must reside in the Virginia Beach area to be considered. An award amount of $750 is directly sent to the recipient’s college of choice.
Ball State University, in Indiana, offers departmental scholarships within the Department of Physics and Astronomy. These are undergraduate scholarships awarded to qualifying students in varying amounts.
- Ronald D., Harriet T., and Loraine J. Miller Scholarship Award—given to incoming freshmen only. Recipient is given$ 1,000 credit to be used for tuition and fees for one year.
- Alumni & Faculty Freshman Scholarship Award—this scholarship is given to incoming freshmen. Recipient is awarded $500 to be applied to tuition and fees for one year.
- Irena Mrozowski Scholarship Award—a $500 credit to be used towards the recipient’s tuition and fees for one year.
Tips for Obtaining Astronomy Scholarships
- For outside scholarships, use the Internet. It is a great resource and the scholarship opportunities are plentiful.
- Speak to college or university staff in the financial aid office for general scholarships typically based on merit and/or financial need.
- Check with the astronomy department. Oftentimes, departmental scholarships are available to students majoring in a specific subject.
- Note all scholarship requirements and deadlines. It is important to submit scholarship applications and additional materials on time, or well in advance to ensure consideration.
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