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Computer Science Scholarships

Usmaan Farooqui

Written By: Usmaan Farooqui

Published: 4/27/2022

Getting a degree can be expensive. Students pay an average of $35,331 every year in tuition and associated expenses according to the Education Data Initiative — and, with higher education fees steadily rising for the past two decades, many have been forced to take on significant debt to pay for college. While a computer science degree may position you to land a high-paying job and pay off your student loan quicker, debt can nevertheless eat into your future earnings in the form of monthly payments. 

Financial aid that doesn't have to be paid back is preferable to loans when it comes to finding ways to fund your higher education. Depending on eligibility requirements, you can apply to a wide range of federal, state, and private grants and scholarships, as well as target aid programs that are specifically designed for students enrolled in bachelor's or master's degrees in computer science. Our list breaks down the various funding options available in this field, including those that exclusively support women and minority students. 

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Scholarships for Computer Science

AFCEA STEM Major Scholarships

The AFCEA STEM scholarship is open to undergraduate students enrolled in a computer science or related program who are in at least their second year of college. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or permanent residents and have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students who are planning to transfer into a bachelor's program from a two-year college are not eligible for this award.

Amount: $2,500

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Generation Google Scholarship

Undergraduate and graduate computer science students who are committed to increasing diversity in tech can apply for the Generation Google Scholarship. They must demonstrate leadership qualities, financial need, and a strong academic record to be eligible. Students must also submit three short essays along with their application.

Amount: $10,000

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Lockheed Martin STEM Scholarship

Lockheed Martin awards 200 engineering and computer science students every year to help fund their education. This scholarship is available to those enrolled or planning to enroll full-time in a four-year accredited institution. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, demonstrate financial need, and have a minimum 2.5 GPA in high school or, if applicable, college. This award can be renewed up to four times on a yearly basis. 

Amount: $10,000-$40,000

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Microsoft Tuition Scholarship

Students pursuing their computer science education at an accredited four-year institution in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico are eligible for the Microsoft Student Scholarship. Aside from demonstrating satisfactory progress toward their degree, applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4-point scale or 4.0 on a 5-point scale.

Amount: Varies

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SMART Scholarship for Service

The SMART scholarship, part of the National Defense Education Program, is open to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a STEM degree. To meet eligibility requirements, applicants must be enrolled in an accredited U.S. school, have a minimum 3.0 GPA, and possess citizenship from the U.S., Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom. Funding is contingent on students willing to accept employment at the Department of Defense once they graduate.

Amount: $25,000-$38,000

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Computer Science Scholarships for Women

Buildium Women in Technology Scholarship

Female students at the graduate and undergraduate level who are actively enrolled in a STEM degree qualify for this award. To apply, students should submit a 1,000-word essay about a female leader in tech along with a short video that describes how this award will benefit them.

Amount: $2,500

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Palantir Women in Technology Scholarship

A software company, Palantir launched the Women in Technology scholarship in 2010 to assist female computer science students enrolled in an undergraduate program. This scholarship is open to people who identify as women and are enrolled in an accredited U.S., Canadian, or Mexican school. Additionally, applicants must not have received this scholarship in the past. 

Amount: $7,000

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SWE Honeywell Scholarship

The Honeywell Scholarship supports female STEM students from underrepresented groups who demonstrate financial need. Applicants must have U.S. citizenship, be actively enrolled in the sophomore, junior, or senior year, and have a minimum 3.0 GPA. 

Amount: $5,000

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Women at Microsoft Scholarship

High school seniors who identify as women or non-binary can help pay for their college education with this award. To be eligible, applicants must identify as women or non-binary, be planning to enroll in a two or four year accredited school in the U.S., and possess a minimum 3.0 GPA. This award can be renewed up to four times on a yearly basis.  

Amount: $5,000-$20,000

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Computer Science Scholarships for Minority Students

Accenture Native American Scholarship Fund

American Indian and Native Alaskan students enrolled in their freshman or sophomore year who demonstrate financial need can apply for assistance under this fund. Applicants must have a minimum 3.25 GPA and provide documentation proving their membership in a federally or state recognized native group. Students pursuing STEM degrees are given preference.

Amount: Varies

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AISES Scholarships

The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) offers multiple scholarships to native and indigenous students in the U.S. and Canada who are pursuing a STEM degree. Eligibility requirements vary by program, but students generally need to be AISES members to apply. 

Amount: varies

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Blacks at Microsoft (BAM) Scholarship

Microsoft awards one-time and renewable scholarships to Black high school students planning to enroll in a four-year computer science or related degree program. Aspiring scholarship recipients must have a 3.3 GPA and have financial need. They must also demonstrate a passion for technology and leadership experience in their school or community. 

Amount: $2,500-$20,000

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Gates Millennium Scholars Program

Though not designed specifically for computer science students, the Gates Millennium Scholars program helps individuals from underrepresented groups pay for an undergraduate degree. Special preference is given to graduate students pursuing a degree in a STEM field. 

Amount: Varies

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Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Students of Hispanic descent who are enrolled in or planning to enroll full-time in a higher education program can apply for financial assistance from the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. Applicants must have a 3.0 high school GPA or a 2.5 GPA at the college level. They must also be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or DACA recipients.

Amount: $500-$5,000

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Palantir Future Scholarship

Palantir offers an annual scholarship meant to support computer science students who identify as members of a racial/ethnic community that is underrepresented in tech. Applicants must be in their first three years of an undergraduate degree at an accredited school in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico. 

Amount: $7,000

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How to Get a Scholarship for Computer Science

While there are many funding opportunities to choose from, securing a computer science scholarship can be a challenging process. To maximize your chances of receiving funding, it's good practice to keep the following in mind:

Identify funding sources early

Applying for aid can be a time consuming process that requires you to gather several bits of information, write essays, and meet strict deadlines. Identifying which scholarships and grants you want to apply for several months in advance will give you the time necessary to complete all applications before their deadlines.

Take relevant high school classes

Scholarships are often awarded to students who meet academic requirements and demonstrate a genuine interest in their chosen field. Taking high school classes in STEM areas can help convince funders that you're serious about pursuing a computer science degree.

Ensure you meet eligibility requirements

With so many funding opportunities available to computer science students, eligibility requirements can vary based on the scholarship or grant you apply for. It's therefore important to ensure you meet all prerequisites for a given assistance program before you spend time filling out an application.

Submit all required materials

Failing to provide the correct information can result in your scholarship or grant application being swiftly denied. At the time of submission, be sure you have all the required materials — including fees, application forms, and supporting documentation — to avoid missing out on a potentially great funding opportunity.

Once you receive a grant or scholarship, it's a good idea to remain in close touch with both the funding agency and your school's financial aid department. This can help ensure that your college or university applies funding credit toward tuition or other expenses on time. It can also clear up whether you need to meet specific academic requirements to remain eligible for an award, or renew funding on a yearly or semester basis.

Other Financial Aid Resources

While grants and scholarships can be a great way to pay for a computer science degree, you can also explore other avenues to fund your education. One such opportunity may be work-study programs, a form of federal aid where students work part-time to offset tuition and related costs. Federal and private loans can also be an option if they offer favorable repayment plans — though these should be a last resort.

Next Steps

Finding funding opportunities may seem daunting, but looking in the right places can make this process easier. The U.S. Department of Education maintains a scholarship database which can be searched by subject area and degree level, and you can also contact your state's respective education departments.

Additionally, the computer science field has several professional organizations which offer grants and scholarships. When you're ready to apply for aid, be sure to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, as many funding bodies and universities use this form to determine how much assistance you're eligible for.

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