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University of North Georgia STEM students get boost
5 years of funds will provide scholarships
University of North Georgia biology student Andrew Shirley examines caterpillars under a microscope. UNG has received a $615,000 grant to help fund 24 scholarships awarded annually to College of Science and Mathematics students.

Students at the University of North Georgia now have access to years of funds that could help them focus on and earn their degrees.

A recently awarded $615,000 grant will help students afford degrees in science, engineering, technology and math.

“If students have money to attend school, they are less likely to need to work outside of school to help pay for it,” said Kate Maine, associate vice president for university relations. “So it increases their ability to focus on their studies.”

The grant is for a National Science Foundation Scholarship in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Currently, there are nearly 1,100 academically talented students with financial need in the College of Science and Mathematics, which will lead the scholarship program.

Annually, an external evaluator will review student applicants and then grant scholarships for $4,362 to 24 full-time freshmen whose financial needs have not already been met.

Of the 24 scholarships, 12 will be awarded to students on UNG’s Dahlonega campus and 12 to students on the Gainesville campus. Maine said this will encourage students working on a two-year degree in Gainesville to work toward a four-year degree in Dahlonega.

Students on the Gainesville campus can complete a four-year degree in biology or mathematics, but a four-year degree in other STEM disciplines requires transferring to the Dahlonega campus.

Recipients will have access to the annual scholarship for a maximum of five years. Applicants must be first-time freshmen, and they will be chosen based on academic ability, financial need and full-time enrollment in eligible programs. Majors in the College of Science and Mathematics include biology, exercise science, physics, mathematics and chemistry, to name a few. Students can also choose pre-professional concentrations in the college, such as pre-medicine, pre-dentistry, pre-engineering and pre-pharmacy.

The scholarship program has several missions, aside from providing financial assistance. It is also designed to increase retention of students in these rigorous majors, increase the number of educated employees in the STEM workforce and increase student support through mentoring programs, tutoring, academic workshops and more.

Maine said the grant, which will continue annually through June 2020, is one of the largest the College of Science and Mathematics has received in recent history.

“This grant will allow funds to be used to support students through scholarships, to persist in their studies and focus on challenging STEM disciplines,” Maine said. “It will help students continue in their degree programs, from two-year or associate degree programs into bachelor degree programs. And it will also help current bachelor-level students at our Dahlonega campus focus on their studies.”

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