SME Education Foundation Scholarship Award Amounts Increased

Over two-thirds of 2023 student recipients to receive $5,000+ to pursue degrees in manufacturing, engineering or related fields.

Over two-thirds of 2023 student recipients to receive $5,000+ to pursue degrees in manufacturing, engineering or related fields.

Winners of the 2023-24 E. Wayne and Beluah Kay Endowed Scholarship, Laroux K. Gillespie Directors Scholarship and Dr. Irving Pressley McPhail Endowed Scholarship were recognized. (L to R): Justin S. Fouts, welding engineering/technology (tech); Jake Mahoney, mechanical engineering/tech; Bennett L. Schirmer, mechanical engineering/tech; Shane Williams, mechanical design engineering/tech; Aliza Khan, mechanical design engineering/tech; Carter J. Drey, machine tool technologist; Isabella Weingatz, mechanical engineering/tech; Kyle Vonasek, mechanical engineering/tech.

The SME Education Foundation will award 163 scholarships to students from 34 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces pursuing a post-secondary education in manufacturing, engineering or related fields in 2023. Select recipients were recognized at the SME International Awards Gala hosted by the organization on June 5.

This year, $913,800—a record amount—was awarded to graduating high school seniors, undergraduates and graduate students as part of the Foundation’s mission to inspire, prepare and support the next generation of manufacturing and engineering talent, the Foundation reports. This year, more students than ever before applied with 1,404 applications reviewed. Since 2005, the Foundation has awarded over 18 million to over 5,000 deserving students.

The SME Education Foundation Scholarship recipients are selected through a rigorous review process and evaluated by a team of over 200 academic and industry professionals, according to the Foundation.

Recently, many of the Foundation’s scholarship programs have been modified. Under the direction of the Foundation board of directors, award amounts were increased, need-based criterion were incorporated, and multiyear renewing awards were introduced.

“I’m so excited about these changes that significantly enhance our scholarship programs, that exist to break down financial barriers to careers in manufacturing,” says Rob Luce, vice president of the SME Education Foundation. “In addition to making sure that the students who need it most are the ones receiving funds to earn an associate or bachelor’s degree, we’re also improving the likelihood that recipients complete their degrees, by providing more financial support throughout their time in an educational program.”

As a response to the ongoing issue of college affordability, this year’s minimum award is $2,500. Similarly, the average award has more than doubled to $5,274, with 70% of recipients receiving an award over $5,000 this year.

Program participation among women and students of color increased in 2023, with a record number of applications from these underrepresented groups pursuing manufacturing and engineering education. Awards to these groups remained strong, doubling and tripling the historical average, continuing the SME Education Foundation’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative started in 2021 with the creation of the Irving P. McPhail scholarship fund and many new promotional partnerships.

Learn more about the Foundation scholarship recipients and their achievements here.

The SME Education Foundation will begin accepting scholarship applications for the 2024-25 school year on Nov. 1. For additional information or to register and receive application reminders, click here.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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