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Astronaut Scholarship

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation was created to ensure that the United States would maintain its leadership in science and technology by supporting some of the very best science, technology, engineering and math college students.

About the Scholarship Program

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation awarded its first seven scholarships in 1986. Each founding Mercury 7 astronaut sponsored a $1,000 scholarship and they then began to fundraise to support future scholarships. Each astronaut would donate proceeds from their speaking engagements and shared the ASF mission wherever they went to raise awareness of both the mission and the scholarship program.

Today, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation awards more than 60 scholarships valued up to $15,000 to each selected scholar. Scholarship programming includes an Astronaut Scholar conference, mentorship, professional development, networking and recognition.  This is the beginning of a life-changing experience for Astronaut Scholars that launches students to positively change and influence society through innovation.


Nomination Criteria

  Must be nominated by faculty at an ASF affiliated university or institution
(University Partners)

  Must be nominated for consideration by a professor or faculty member who knows the student well enough to identify a special drive or talent that foreshadows a creative career leading to the advancement of scientific knowledge and technology

  Must be a STEM major going into junior or senior year (STEM Designated Degrees)
Note: Special consideration is NOT given to aeronautical/astronautical engineering students or those intending to pursue careers as astronauts.

  Must be a U.S. citizen (verified by birth certificate, US passport, or naturalization papers)

  Must have completed two years of full-time study at an ASF affiliated university or institution and demonstrated exemplary academic performance, as noted in transcripts (Note: Students may be nominated during their second year of full-time study, for a scholarship that will begin in the third year.)

  Should be a full-time student during both semesters of the ASF supported academic year to receive the full scholarship, which is up to $15,000

  Must have conducted a considerable amount of work outside the classroom in their chosen field of study. This may include laboratory research, cooperative education, internships, relevant military experience, entrepreneurial endeavors, and/or documented independent work resulting in technical papers, patents, or similar work product

Note on Scholarship Renewals: Students who have previously received the Astronaut Scholarship during their junior year should be submitted for renewal, provided that:

  The award is not for a third year (Typically, no more than two awards are permitted, though exceptions may be made with Scholarship Committee Chair approval.)

  Renewal is based upon continued excellence in academics and work outside the classroom in their chosen field of study

  Documentation is required to support renewal application and must include:
     - Supporting letter from the original nominating professor or faculty member and a personal
        statement from the Astronaut Scholar, summarizing the accomplishments during the past year
     - An updated copy of the Astronaut Scholar’s academic transcript

Application Process

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation only accepts nominations for the Astronaut Scholarship from its affiliated and participating universities. If a student is interested in being nominated, they should contact a member of their university’s faculty regarding consideration. Students may also contact the university liaison for more details regarding the internal process.

Students nominated for the scholarship will need to assist the nominating faculty member with the following:

  Ensure eligibility requirements are met,
  Provide two letters of recommendation,
  Provide a personal statement,
  Provide a copy of academic transcripts,
  Provide a C.V. or resume.


The deadline for liaisons to submit nominations for the 2024 Astronaut Scholarship is March 29, 2024.


If a student is awarded the Astronaut Scholarship the recipient will receive:

  A scholarship up to $15,000 (full amount awarded unless scholar is “over-awarded” based on federal guidelines),

  A paid trip to ASF’s Innovators Weekend,

  Life-long engagement with the astronauts, Astronaut Scholar alumni, and the Foundation.


Note: The ASF Scholarship Selection Committee reserves the right to not award a scholarship at every university if it is deemed that the submitted candidates have not met the criteria or standard.


Can I apply for the Astronaut Scholarship directly to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation?

No. A faculty member must nominate each applicant for the scholarship.

Can I speak with a faculty member at my university to ask if they would consider nominating me?

Yes. They can look at all the criteria and determine if they feel you are an appropriate candidate for the scholarship.

If selected, can I transfer the award to another university/school?

An awarded scholarship may not be transferred to another degree program or institution.

Are graduate level students eligible for the award?

Students may not be nominated for this scholarship to use the funds for graduate level programs.

Is student financial need considered when selecting awardees?

Student financial need is not a criterion for consideration of this merit-based scholarship award; but may be considered given equally qualified nominees.

Are Medical Students eligible for the scholarship program and award?

Scholarships shall not be awarded to pre-medical studies; therefore, students who are actively pursuing a M.D. program should not be nominated, however students who are conducting research to support a related field not in pursuit of a M.D. to practice medicine can be nominated.

What is considered when the nominations are evaluated for award consideration/selection?

When selecting students to receive this award, the members of the selection panel may consider the following criteria:

  Nominee’s display of creativity and ability to move into unknown territory,

  Nominee’s potential, ability, and drive to do research, develop new ideas, pursue inventions, and pursue innovative technologies,

  Nominee’s exhibition of motivation, imagination, and exceptional performance in their field of academics and/or research,

  Nominee’s conveyance of intellectual daring and a genuine desire to positively change the world around them, from both, or either, within the classroom or in their community,

  Nominee is recognized as a leader through their activities on campus or in the community.

In accordance with federal law and U.S. Department of the Treasury policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.

To file a complaint of discrimination write to the Direct– Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, 1750 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20220. The Department of the Treasury is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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