Trump Administrations Announces STEM Strategy

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Education has announced that during the last fiscal year, it has invested $578 million to support science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education for students through its discretionary and research grants. During a recent STEM education briefing, the Department reported strong progress in implementing the Administration’s five-year STEM education strategy, including building on more than $819 million in STEM investments during fiscal years 2018 and 2019.

“This Administration’s strategic focus on STEM education will help expose America’s students to new and exciting learning environments that will prepare them for in-demand, high-paying careers,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “I’m grateful to President Trump for making STEM education a priority and for putting America’s students and her workforce first.”

Officials stated these STEM education investments deliver on President Trump’s promise to help expand opportunities in high-demand STEM careers and achieve the overall vision and goals of the five-year federal STEM education strategic plan, titled Charting A Course For Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education.

Of the FY 2020 STEM education investments, the Department awarded $141 million in new grants and $437 million to continue existing projects that are making substantial progress toward their goals. For example, Department funds will be used to prepare the STEM teacher corps for careers in the classroom, expand opportunities for low-income students to succeed in postsecondary education, and expand research and training opportunities on the improvement of students’ STEM knowledge and skills, including learners with or at risk of disabilities.

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Approximately $156 million supported projects with a focus on computer science. Several of the STEM investments support the Administration’s Opportunity Zones Initiative, which fosters economic development and job creation in economically distressed communities.

Investments made in FY 2020 include:

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The investments will address STEM and do not include other Department funds that schools and institutions of higher education (IHEs) can use to support STEM education, such as formula funding provided through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and Perkins V, federal student aid, or the CARES Act’s Education Stabilization Fund. The Department has also supported STEM education beyond grant-making, through partnerships and innovations including:

  • FY 2018 – Partnership with the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum to launch the “She Can” Summer Camp which provides middle schoolers from low-income families with hands-on STEM experiences,
  • FY 2019 – Updates to the College Scorecard to help students and parents make more informed and personalized decisions about higher education options, including STEM, and
  • FY 2020 – Creation of the inaugural Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award to elevate and recognize America’s top cybersecurity K-12 educators. The second annual call for nominations was announced last week.
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The Department is conducting a robust set of FY 2021 discretionary grant competitions. Applicants can learn more through ED’s website and the Federal Forecast of Funding. The Department offers introductory resources about its grant-making here and here. Additionally, the Department is seeking experts in STEM education and other fields to serve as peer reviewers of grant applications; see here for more information. Visit ED.gov/STEM for more information.

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