Free Money to Help Finance an Engineering Education

IEEE offers scholarships, fellowships, grants, and internships

4 November 2011

As most parents and students know, tuition at top engineering schools is not cheap. For example, tuition this year for an undergraduate engineering student at MIT is US $39 000. The Imperial College of London charges $36 000, and attending Toronto’s McGill University costs $25 000. And tuition is predicted to keep rising as governments cut back on aid to schools in the struggling economy.

To help ease the financial burden, IEEE offers dozens of scholarships, fellowships, travel grants, and paid internships to engineering undergrads and graduate students. Unlike student loans, the scholarships and grants don’t have to be paid back.

Some offers are only for IEEE student members, while others carry no such restriction. Many don’t even get awarded, because no one applies for them. One of the newest programs, made available in April, is the IEEE Power & Energy Society’s PES Scholarship Plus Initiative. The IEEE PES Board of Directors approved a US$1 million grant in 2010 to seed the development of the initiative. U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are full-time students at a U.S. university or college offering undergraduate courses in power engineering are eligible for $7000. Students must be willing to take at least three power engineering courses that total nine or more credits. The student receives up to three years of financial aid: $2000 the first year, $2000 the second year, and $3000 the third year. The money is paid directly to the student, rather than to the school. Qualifying students can apply as early as their freshman year. 

Here are a few other IEEE societies that offer assistance:

The IEEE Computational Intelligence Society Summer Research Grant offers $1000 to $4000 to graduate students to support their research during a summer period.

IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society Graduate Fellowships
 award $5000 for research studies in microwave engineering.

The 10 IEEE Photonics Society Student Travel Grants offer up to $1500 annually to cover students’ travel expenses to present papers at IEEE Photonics Society–sponsored conferences and other venues.

Other IEEE groups provide financial help.

IEEE-USA, for example, offers a news media summer internship to IEEE U.S. student and graduate student members. The student is to work full time from June to August 2012 as a reporter, researcher, or production assistant at a radio newspaper, magazine, or TV station. The fellowship includes a weekly $450 stipend and travel expenses.

The IEEE Life Members’ Fellowship in Electrical History awards a stipend of $17 000 for either one year of full-time graduate work in the history of electrical science and technology at a college or up to one year of postdoctoral research for a scholar who has received his or her Ph.D. within the previous three years. Also available is a research budget of $3000.

The IEEE Foundation and the IEEE Canadian Foundation also provide grants.

The various programs carry different application deadlines, many of which are right around the corner.

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