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Issue Background

STEM Incentive Program

  • Every other scholarship program currently in statute enable students to take their state-funded scholarship equal in value to SUNY tuition to the New York independent college or university of their choice.
  • The Independent Sector outpaces other sectors in the production of degrees in STEM fields. In 2012-13, the Independent Sector awarded 56% of the bachelor’s degrees and 73% of graduate degrees earned in STEM fields in New York State.

In New York today, there are 1.7 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) jobs for every person looking for work, and the state is projected to have nearly a half-million STEM jobs by 2018, the third highest in the country.

New York State and the nation need more STEM-educated college graduates. Currently, of all the bachelor’s degrees awarded in the state, just one quarter (23%; 29,665 out of 129,643) are awarded to students pursuing STEM and related degrees.

The current Budget allocates $8 million to create a STEM Incentive Program that would grant a full-tuition scholarship to SUNY or CUNY for the top 10 percent of graduates at each New York State high school who pursue a math or science career and work in New York State for five years. 

To leverage all of New York’s higher education assets in bolstering our STEM-educated workforce, the program should also include the Independent Sector of higher education. By extending eligibility to students who wish to enroll at a private, not-for-profit college or university in New York State, it will enable talented students to take their scholarship dollars to the college or university that is the best fit for them in the area of STEM higher education.