proposal preparation for science scholarships and its reference

 A. Proposal Preparation Instructions
Full Proposal Preparation Instructions: Proposers may opt to submit proposals in response to this Program Solicitation via or
Full Proposals submitted via Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation should be prepared and submitted in
accordance with the general guidelines contained in the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG). The complete text of the
PAPPG is available electronically on the NSF website at: Paper copies of the PAPPG
may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-8134 or by e-mail from The Prepare New Proposal
setup will prompt you for the program solicitation number.
Full proposals submitted via Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation via should be prepared and submitted
in accordance with the NSF Application Guide: A Guide for the Preparation and Submission of NSF Applications via The
complete text of the NSF Application Guide is available on the website and on the NSF website at:
( To obtain copies of the Application Guide and Application Forms Package,
click on the Apply tab on the site, then click on the Apply Step 1: Download a Grant Application Package and Application Instructions link
and enter the funding opportunity number, 

(the program solicitation number without the NSF prefix) and press the Download Package button. Paper
copies of the Application Guide also may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-8134 or by e-mail
In determining which method to utilize in the electronic preparation and submission of the proposal, please note the following:
Collaborative Proposals. All collaborative proposals submitted as separate submissions from multiple organizations must be submitted via
PAPPG Chapter II.E.3 provides additional information on collaborative proposals.
See PAPPG Chapter II.D.2 for guidance on the required sections of a full research proposal submitted to NSF. Please note that the proposal preparation
instructions provided in this program solicitation may deviate from the PAPPG instructions.
Full Proposal Content
The following descriptions of content sections refer to Track 1, 2 and 3 proposals. Collaborative planning grant proposals should make sure its content follow the
pertinent description in section II.B.1.
Proposal Set-Up: Select "Prepare New Full Proposal" in Search for and select this solicitation title in Step One of the Full Proposal wizard. Users: The program solicitation number will be pre-populated by on the NSF Grant Application Cover Page. It is important to choose the
program solicitation number indicated on the cover of this document ("NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics") from the list of
funding opportunities. This choice must be specified in order to access the DUE Project Data Form, which is required for S-STEM proposals.

 1. Title
An informative title for the proposed S-STEM project must be provided on the appropriate line. Please start the title with the acronyms "S-STEM" followed by ":"
and the complete project title.
2. Project Data Form
A DUE Project Data Form must be completed for all proposals. The information on this form is used to direct proposals to appropriate reviewers and to
determine the characteristics of projects supported by DUE. In, this form appears in the list of required Proposal Sections for the proposal only
after the correct Funding Opportunity Number has been selected in Step 1 of the Proposal Creation Wizard. Select the appropriate Track in the drop-down
menu. users should refer to Section VI.5. of the NSF Application Guide for specific instructions on how to submit the DUE Project Data
3. Project Summary
The Project Summary is a one-page description of the proposed project that consists of an overview, a statement on Intellectual Merit, and a statement on
Broader Impacts. In the overview, provide a brief description of the S-STEM project being proposed. For Track 1, 2 and 3, also include the number of
scholarships to be provided, the number of unique scholarship recipients, the disciplinary areas to be served by the scholarship funds, the objectives of the
project, the expected retention or transfer and graduation rates, and basic information about student outreach, application processes, selection, support, and
career counseling and placement services to be provided as part of this S-STEM project.
The project summary MUST explicitly address both Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts in separate statements. See Section VI. A., Proposal Review
Process, for a description of the two criteria. NSF will return without review proposals that do not address both criteria in the Project Summary.
4. Table of Contents
The Table of Contents is system-generated and cannot be edited.
5. Project Description
Project Description Content Checklist
This is a list on key components within the project description of every Track 1, 2 and 3 proposal for implementing a program outlined in the prior and following
Institutional context, student need assessment and a paragraph with the justification of the national need for professionals with degrees in the specific
disciplines requested by the proposal. (literal a below)
Discussion of the Common Elements presented in Section II.B.2: expected student outcomes, scholar eligibility criteria, analysis of the prospective
scholar pool, context-specific interventions, calculation of the cost of attendance, determination of scholarship amounts. (literal b below), determination
of Scholar eligibility.
Clear plans for cohort-building and faculty mentoring activities. (literal d below)
Description of the rationale (including the pertinent grounding literature) for the implementation of curricular and co-curricular activities, student support
services and programs, and their impact on this specific pool of students based on their needs. (literal e below)
A detailed plan for outreach and advertisement of the scholarship program, reflective of institutional context. (literal e below)
Results from prior NSF support that encompass any previous or current S-STEM or STEP awards at the institution. (literal f below)
Description of the management plan, including discussion of the role of faculty in the disciplines in the operation of the project. (literal g below)
For Track 1, 2 and 3, plans for rigorous project evaluation (formative and summative). (literal i below)
For Track 3, research questions, methods and methodology that will lead to a clear contribution to the knowledge base on how the pertinent evidencebased curricular and/or co-curricular practices affect low-income student success and degree attainment in STEM when coupled with scholarship

(literal h below)
Plans for dissemination. For Track 1, 2 and 3, dissemination of results from project evaluation should also contribute to the knowledge base. (literal j
For planning grants, the project description should include a clear timeline of activities over 1 year maximum and description of the proposed activities
based on the list of elements in section B under Collaborative Planning Grants.
The Project Description must conform to the requirements specified in the PAPPG, including the requirement for a separate section labeled "Broader Impacts".
For Track 1, Track 2 and Track 3 proposals, it must not exceed 15 single-spaced pages.
For Collaborative Planning grant proposals, it must not exceed 8 single-spaced pages.
Proposals that exceed the page limit will be returned without review.
The Project Description for Collaborative Planning grant proposals must describe relevant institutional needs and challenges and all the rationale and aspects
described in section II.B.1.
In addition to the requirements specified in the PAPPG, the Project Description for Track 1, Track 2, and Track 3 proposals must contain the following
a. Project Significance, Objectives and Rationale
NSF expects that scholarship recipients will achieve at least one of the following outcomes by the end of the scholarship award period:
Attain an associate, baccalaureate, or graduate degree in an S-STEM eligible discipline and enter the workforce or a graduate program in STEM;
Transfer from an associate degree program to a baccalaureate degree program or advance from an undergraduate program to a graduate program in
an S-STEM eligible discipline.
The project should have specific objectives that reflect the goals of the S-STEM program and a deep analysis of local needs. Institutional self-studies relevant to
the targeted student population can be used to provide a more complete picture of what these low-income students need. Based on needs assessment,
proposers should focus on implementing appropriate interventions that target cognitive or non-cognitive aspects of their low-income students' experiences and
success (such as research experiences, internships, participation in student cohorts, the mentor/mentee relationship, basic needs security, psychosocial
interventions, mental health, financial literacy, etc.)

The proposal should also contextualize the national or regional need that exists for the type of degrees it aims to award in the disciplines being requested. The
burden to demonstrate this national need or positive job prospect rests on the submitting institution. In this section proposers may refer the reader to the
statistics included in supplementary documents. Data-driven arguments such as projected job growth and expected wages should be used to justify that these
high-potential, low-income scholars will be able to fulfill a rewarding career and achieve social mobility upon graduation with an undergraduate or graduate
degree while advancing national competitiveness and security. This analysis should be included even if transfer or subsequent graduate study are primary
intended pathways for scholars.
b. Pool of Potential Scholars and Determination of Scholarship Amount
All Track 1, 2 and 3 proposals should include the following, as detailed in Section II.B.2: scholar eligibility criteria, each institutions' cost of attendance, a clear
mechanism to determine scholar eligibility, a justification of scholarship amounts that includes the calculation of the average unmet need for a typical cohort of
eligible students currently enrolled at the institution and an analysis of the prospective scholar pool.
Determination of Scholar Financial and Academic Eligibility: Beyond US citizenship or immigration status of the scholars pursuing an eligible degree program, 

proposing institutions must determine all three additional eligibility requirements for scholars: low-income status, demonstrated unmet financial need per
FAFSA2, or GAANN3, and academic ability, talent or potential. By Congress mandate, all students who meet a project's eligibility requirements terms of low
income, financial need, and academic talent must have an equal opportunity to receive scholarships, regardless of any other factors.
Cost of Attendance: Cost of Attendance (COA), determined by each educational institution, is the total amount it will cost a student to go to school, including
tuition and fees; on-campus room and board (or a housing and food allowance for off-campus students); allowances for books, supplies, computer equipment,
transportation, loan fees, dependent care, mandatory health insurance, graduation fees, and costs related to a disability; and miscellaneous expenses. It is
recommended that the PI works closely with the campus financial aid office to identify what the official institutional COA is. The following are federal guidelines
on the types of broad expenses included in the COA
Unmet Need Calculations: In demonstrating unmet need, financial aid offices should not include student loans (for either undergraduate or graduate students) or
undergraduate work study. Instead, the S-STEM scholarship should be used to reduce or replace scholars' need to work or acquire additional debt, to the extent
possible. The calculation of need may include any other grants, fellowships, or scholarships that the student is entitled to.
Unmet financial need is calculated in part by the institution's determination of cost of attendance (COA). Generally, the Financial Aid Office determines unmet
need for undergraduate students as:
COA – Expected Family Contribution (EFC) – other grants and scholarships (for the purpose of this program should exclude loans and work) = Unmet Need.
The EFC is determined by the FAFSA form and represents the expected family contribution toward the COA ( In the case of independent students please see definitions in Chapter 28 Part F, Subchapter 4 of the Higher Education Act of 1965,
amended in October 2022.
The proposal and budget justification must clearly specify the average unmet need of a potential pool of eligible students in the targeted disciplines. However,
the Office of Financial Aid must commit to calculate the unmet need and the scholarship amount for each individual scholar. The scholarship amount should not
exceed the unmet need of the scholar or the maximum scholarship amount, whatever is less.
In the case of graduate students, each institution should present the method selected to assess not only unmet need but also low-income status. 

One of the
biggest considerations is whether graduate students are considered dependent or independent from their parents' income. Students who are married, have
children, are over 24 years of age, or are veterans of the US armed forces are generally considered independent by FAFSA provided they have filed
independently from their parents in the last two tax cycles. Their income from all sources can be counted independently from their parents', but as with
undergraduate students, all scholarships and fellowships should be included in the calculation of unmet need. Institutions can add additional requirements such
as prior PELL eligibility during undergraduate studies or other metrics if they find them necessary, but those are at the discretion of the institution's financial aid
office. It has been documented that low-income students tend to carry over more debt than their counterparts, according to the Council of Graduate Schools

 These undergraduate debts compounded
by the potential unmet financial needs from their graduate degree can prevent these students from attaining advanced degrees, thus acting as a determent of
upward social mobility.
Financial eligibility: The institution's definition of low-income must be included in the proposal and in the letter from the Financial Aid Office or equivalent
submitted in supplementary documents. When determining eligibility, IHEs must first determine which students are low-income and then, from that pool,
determine the level of unmet need. Demonstrated unmet financial need is not equivalent to low-income status. A student can be low-income and have a
generous scholarship that covers all the student's expenses and therefore not have unmet need. Conversely, a student can demonstrate unmet need but not
satisfy any acceptable definition of low-income.
NSF cannot prescribe the way in which local financial aid offices or departments develop policies or manage their students. NSF relies on local standard
financial aid office policies to define low-income status in the same way that each institution determines measures of academic ability, talent or potential for its
students. However, these definitions need to be clearly disclosed in the proposal.
Academic eligibility: In addition to meeting the financial criteria, scholars should also demonstrate academic ability, talent or potential, and be pursuing a degree
in an S-STEM eligible field. To ensure scholars meet these requirements, IHEs are expected to establish clear and equitable selection criteria for scholarships
and describe how scholars will be selected out of the pool of all qualified individuals. Academic ability, talent or potential must be defined by the institution in a
way that allows for equitable consideration of all students. 

Projects that aim at a progression from undergraduate to graduate or from masters to Ph.D. level, need to be proactive and understand graduate school
eligibility for S-STEM scholars. PIs are encouraged to work with graduate admission committees to understand how ideas of merit, academic ability and
intelligence may be shaping faculty's risk-averse decisions (see Posselt, Julie R. Inside Graduate Admissions: Merit, Diversity, and Faculty Gatekeeping,
Cambridge, MA and London, England: Harvard University Press, 2016. In addition, projects should establish holistic
approaches that put appropriate weight to application elements such as letters of recommendation that may exhibit ambiguity when referring to low-income
domestic students' abilities, or to prior research experiences during summers for a student who needed to work during those periods. PIs are encouraged to
avoid putting too much weight on criteria that keep inequities in place.
All proposals should provide an estimate and justification for the average scholarship amount used in the budget. NSF expects that all projects meet the unmet
need of the student or provides the maximum allowable scholarship amount if the unmet need is greater than the maximum scholarship amount. NSF also
expects that the project will support scholars until graduation or transfer.
When discussing the pool of potential scholars, data on all low-income students at the institution is insufficient unless it also analyzes the disciplines and
academic eligibility requirements put forth in the proposal specifically. For example, consider a project that targets computer science students and defines a
student to be low income if they are Pell eligible. In this case,

 the potential pool of applicants should be calculated by considering historic or current data for
computer science students who are both (a) Pell eligible, (b) have demonstrated unmet financial need, and (c) meet measurable academic eligibility
requirements imposed by the project team (e.g., above certain GPA, above an SAT threshold, or any other metric the project team considers adequate for the
local institutional context.). The following table (or similar) should be included in this section:
Number of Domestic Low-Income Students with Unmet Need Currently Registered (per academic level if applicable)

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