S.T.E.M. Grants, Scholarships, and Loans for Girls
S.T.E.M. Loans for Girls - 7 Things You Should Know
If you are a girl looking to further your career in the S.T.E.M field, (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) getting a loan to pay for your education is of the utmost importance. While you can get scholarships that cover the S.T.E.M fields, these are very hard to secure, and sometimes colleges will only offer partial scholarships in order to offer them to more students. This makes the scholarship very small. So, where do you get S.T.E.M education loans for girls, and do you get loans that are indicated exclusively for girls? Well, to answer all these questions, here are 7 things you need to know about S.T.E.M education loans for girls
First of all, it should be noted that although the United States Education Sector is encouraging girls to pursue these fields, the S.T.E.M subjects remain very low on the list. Although girls account for the highest percentage of the population at most colleges and Universities, the related fields that they prefer to go into are biology, marine biology, and chemistry. Why? Well, according to experts, they believe that girls want to help others, and these fields provide them with the opportunity to do that.
It has been suggested that to encourage girls to follow careers in the S.T.E.M area of study, they should be shown a way that they can help people, but still utilize technological or engineering skills. Another suggestion for encouraging girls to look into the S.T.E.M fields is to work on the education loan aspect. Currently, there are no specific loans for girls, and the criteria for securing a study loan is very strict with plenty of competition. Generally, the careers which require the study of S.T.E.M subjects are some of the highest paying careers in the world, meaning that they require the most time in the classroom, therefore making college costs on the highest end of the scale. Many education loans do not cover this entire period, or they only cover a small portion of it, forcing students to choose a less ambitious career path.
Some of the best places to look for educational funding that is specifically focused on girls in S.T.E.M fields, are organizations and associations, dedicated to women in this area. One such organization is the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) who offer various funding programs, career development awards, fellowships, and scholarship programs dedicated to women. Some of the top options include The Graduate Research Fellowship Program offered by the National Science Foundation, which not only offers 3 years of funding support, but an additional stipend of $30,000 annually. Another is the Computational Science Graduate Fellowship offered by the Department of Energy which pays the full tuition fees for the 12 week program, as well as a $36,000 stipend, $5000 first year academic funding plus $1000 for each renewed year.
Looking at loans specifically, you will find that there is a fair amount of choice, as with any type of loan. The common denominator is the term duration, however, which will continue for as long as you are studying. In Federal loans which are now offered directly through most colleges, the interest is minimal and paid by the government for up to 6 months after you graduate. In order to qualify for these government subsidies, your family will have to earn less than $80,000 per year. It also takes into account other assets which you need to report on the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
Sometimes the federal loans are not enough to cover a S.T.E.M education, which is where the state loans will come into play. The fixed rates are slightly more expensive than the federal loans at roughly 6 to 9 percent, with the variable rates being around 2 to 4 percent, and fees coming in anywhere from zero to 5 percent, depending on location. Iowa and Maine as well as New York seem to be the most expensive.
Plus loans are another option, which allow parents to get involved and borrow the remainder of the money needed for a S.T.E.M education. Qualifying for this requires a strict credit check and credit history analysis.
Before choosing an education loan it is important to clarify the loan terms, as this is where most students run into problems soon after graduating where they still have no income of their own. For careers in S.T.E.M fields, it can take even longer to establish oneself and develop a good career, which means that it is important to look for loans that offer between 10 and 30 year loan repayments. Repayments should be made monthly on the same date and continue consistently for the duration of the loan. Most loans, however, do offer settlement amounts, if you do happen to get your science, engineering, technology, or mathematics related career off the ground in a big way and you want to pay the entire loan off in one go.
Defaulting on student loans is unfortunately a common trend, and is largely due to the fact that students are not well enough equipped with the knowledge to make a good decision about which lender to use, which rates are the lowest and most affordable, and what various loan term conditions are like. Students are renowned for changing their schools or dropping out of college, and many struggle to find stable careers after they graduate, all leading to the downward spiral of non-payment and subsequently defaulting. Defaulting on a student loan means not making any payments for between 270 and 360 days. For girls looking at S.T.E.M education loans, it is only natural to assume that they will face challenges and could be discouraged easily, leading to a change in career path or dropping out altogether. This is why it is so important for girls to learn about S.T.E.M careers and to be mentored and encouraged to follow through with their studies.
Looking at the funding and loan options that girls have available, one can see that the resources are there, the programs are getting better, and the support is increasing dramatically. This gives girls the confidence and the means that they need to pursue a S.T.E.M based career and succeed in this traditionally male dominated field of study.