The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) Microbiology and Cell Science department received a grant from National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide scholarships to transfer students. The first scholarships were awarded to students in 2018 and are available through Spring 2023 to eligible transfer students.
This program has awarded 170 students with nearly $2 million in scholarships, improving the graduation and retention rate of transfer students in the MCS program.
This project was highlighted at the 2022 STEM for All Video Showcase: https://multiplex.videohall.com/presentations/2299
Scholarships are available to eligible students for up to 4 consecutive Fall/Spring semesters (two academic years); this includes incoming transfer students. Students must maintain eligibility for the duration of the scholarship and will be reviewed each semester. Scholarship award amount is based on financial need as determined from an individual’s FAFSA and will not exceed $5,000 per semester.
To qualify, scholarship applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Be a Microbiology & Cell Science major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
- Be a transfer student with your AA from a state of Florida college (e.g. Miami Dade, Valencia College, etc.)
- Priority will be given to students who satisfy this criterion. However, any transfer student applicant, including those without an AA and/or those transferring from out-of-state, will be considered.
- Be enrolled full-time (12 credits for Fall/Spring semesters)
- Please note: due to COVID-19 pandemic response, NSF, this program’s funding agency, reduced the enrollment requirement to at least half-time (6 credits for Fall/Spring semesters) Spring 2020 and will remain in effect until further notice.
- Demonstrate academic merit by maintaining ≥2.5 UF GPA
- Be a US citizen, permanent resident, national or refugee at the time of application submission as stipulated by NSF:
Be citizens of the United States, nationals of the United States (as defined in section 101(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act), aliens admitted as refugees under section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, or aliens lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence. Please note that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) individuals are ineligible for support from this solicitation unless they meet the requirements listed in the first sentence of this bullet;
- Demonstrate financial need based on the information provided in your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For more information on submitting the FAFSA, visit:
- UF Student Financial Affairs: http://www.sfa.ufl.edu/process/how-to-apply-for-aid/
- FAFSA main website: https://fafsa.ed.gov/
One of the main missions of this grant program is to understand where our transfer students are coming from and what challenges they face. This information will guide us in improving the design of our program with the intent to help students succeed, not just academically, but professionally as well. As part of this mission, recipients of this scholarship will be required to participate in surveys and other activities.
Additional Benefits to Scholarship Recipients
- Undergraduate Research (Paid summer research experiences are available to select Florida Pathways S-STEM recipents.)
- Cohort Activities & Mentoring
- Peer-led Team Learning
- Career Mentoring
About the Florida Pathways S-STEM Program
There is a national initiative to increase the quality and number of students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields in order to maintain the country’s pre-eminence in science and technology. Part of this initiative includes broadening participation and diversity of students in STEM fields.
The Florida Pathways to Success S-STEM Scholarship is funded by a grant awarded to the Microbiology and Cell Science Program from the National Science Foundation (NSF). NSF’s Scholarships in STEM (S-STEM) Program “seeks:
- to increase the number of low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need obtaining degrees in STEM and entering the workforce or graduate programs in STEM;
- to improve the education of future scientists, engineers, and technicians, with a focus on academically talented low-income students; and
- to generate knowledge to advance understanding of how factors or evidence-based curricular and co-curricular activities affect the success, retention, transfer, academic/career pathways, and graduation in STEM of low-income students.”
To increase the quality of student and diversity, we recognize that a large pool of talent comes from transfer students, whom often face various challenges. Also, transfer students generally have lower retention rates than first-time in college students.
A main goal of the project is to focus on identifying factors that contribute to the retention of transfer students in STEM and indicators of at risk students that will guide interventions. The barriers to transfer student’s success can include financial, social, and familial responsibilities.
Strengthening the transfer pathway through scholarship and other interventions will increase retention, shorten time to degree, and broaden participation of URM in STEM. The mission of the grant is to not only assist transfer students succeed in obtaining a B.S. by providing financial support, but we seek to better understand the various pathways students take in pursuing a B.S. in microbiology and how they transition to the professional workforce.