According to the Institute for College Access and Success, approximately 65% of 2017 college graduates had student debt; these graduates owed an average of $28,650. Utah graduates reportedly owed less than learners from other states, owing an average of $18,838. Student debt can lead to years of financial burden, even with recent policies and programs intended to help. For example, graduates can lower their monthly payments with income-driven repayment plans, but they may still need to make payments for 20-25 years.
Students should explore grants, scholarships, and work-study programs to help reduce or eliminate the size of their loans. Additionally, learners who decide to fund their education through loans should prioritize federal loans, which typically offer better interest rates and more flexible repayment options than private loans.
Graduates with a computer science degree can pursue various positions in the field, including jobs as software developers — a position that earned a median salary of $103,560 in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Additionally, the BLS projects the number of software developer positions to increase by 24% between 2016 and 2026. These professionals often have job opportunities and earning potentials that make it easier to repay student loans.
Below is a curated list of computer science scholarships and an extensive scholarship database. These opportunities can help computer science students reduce the financial burden associated with earning a degree. This guide also includes an overview of the overall financial aid process to help prospective students confidently plan their education.
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Below you’ll find our curated list of computer science scholarships, as well as our extensive scholarship database. These opportunities will put you well on your way to reducing your tuition burden. We’ve also included an overview of how financial aid works to help you complete the picture and confidently plan your education.
Computer Science Scholarships
UPE SCHOLARSHIP AWARD
OrganzationUpsilon Pi Epsilon and the Association for Computing Machinery
This scholarship supports full-time undergraduate and graduate students who hold membership with ACM and belong to the ACM student chapter at their institution. Applicants must submit academic transcripts, a UPE adviser recommendation letter, a personal statement, and a description of their long-term professional plans. Apply
RICHARD E. MERWIN STUDENT SCHOLARSHIP
AMOUNT$1,000 and up
OrganzationInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
The IEEE Computer Society offers this award in memoriam of a former president of the organization — Richard E Merwin — to reward student leadership. Applicants must be undergraduates in their final two years of study or graduate students. Candidates should also be pursuing a degree in electrical or computer engineering, computer science, or another computer-related engineering field. They must be active members of a student branch or chapter of IEEE. This reward is nonrenewable.
AACE INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIVE SCHOLARSHIPS
AMOUNTUp to $2,500
AACE offers this scholarship to help advance the study of cost engineering and cost management by supporting full-time undergraduate students. Applicants must be pursuing degrees in a relevant field, including engineering, construction, computer science, business, information technology, or quantity surveying. Recipients can apply the award to the fall term of the following academic year.
THE GOOGLE ANITA BORG MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP: USA
This scholarship honors Dr. Anita Borg and aims to support women in technology. Recipients can apply the nonrenewable award to the upcoming academic year. Applicants must be undergraduate or graduate students applying to or currently enrolled in a computer science, computer engineering, or closely related technical program. Anita Borg scholars also receive an invitation to attend the annual Google Scholars’ Retreat at the Googleplex, which includes three days of academic and social programs.
CRA-W SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN STUDYING INFORMATION SECURITY
AMOUNTUp to $10,000
OrganzationComputing Research Association
The Applied Computer Security Associates, Computing Research Association-Women, and the Hewlett-Packard Company sponsor these scholarships. Applicants must be women enrolled in bachelor’s or master’s programs that include information security coursework. Students must also have held a security-related job or membership with a security-related club. Winners receive invitations to attend security conferences (with all expenses paid) and participate in career mentoring programs. Hewlett-Packard offers some winners summer internships.
OrganzationNational Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals
NOGLSTP created this scholarship for LGBTQ+ undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in STEM fields. Scholarship sponsors vary each year, but next year’s award is funded by Motorola Solutions Foundation. Undergraduate applicants must also be entering their junior or senior year. Apply
MICROSOFT TUITION SCHOLARSHIPS
AMOUNTPartial or full tuition for one year
Microsoft encourages and supports underrepresented populations in computer science. All students can apply for this scholarship, but women, minorities, and students with disabilities receive preference. Recipients must apply for a summer internship; if invited, they must complete an internship at the Microsoft Corporation in Redmond, Washington. Applicants must be undergraduate students currently enrolled at a four-year institution. They must also hold a minimum 3.0 GPA. Apply
THE LUCY KASPARIAN AHARONIAN SCHOLARSHIP
OrganzationArmenian International Women’s Association
This scholarship honors Lucy Kasparian Aharonian, who was an active member of the Society of Women Engineers, a software engineer, an educator, and a basket artist. Applicants must be full-time, female students of Armenian descent attending an accredited school. Students must also be entering the junior or senior year of their undergraduate program or attending graduate school.
This scholarship supports women attending ABET-accredited undergraduate programs in engineering, engineering technology, or computer science. Only students in 20 states can apply for this scholarship; applicants should ensure they reside in an approved state.
NORTHROP GRUMMAN ENGINEERING SCHOLARS PROGRAM
This award supports promising high school seniors interested in enrolling in an approved engineering, computer science, mathematics, or physics program. Applicants must live in a community where Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems is located; these areas include 23 counties in Maryland and parts of California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Utah, and Virginia. Winners receive $2,000 a year for four years. Recipients must comply with ongoing application requirements to maintain their funding. Apply
Other Funding Sources
In addition to scholarships, students can pursue additional sources of funding. Many students use several types of financial assistance to help cover the cost of their education. Below is an explanation of how to take advantage of grants and loans to pay for tuition and educational expenses.
Like scholarships, grants do not need to be repaid. Grants often fund all or part of student’s tuition costs and are based on financial need rather than merit. Students can apply for Federal Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants. In addition to the federal government, state governments, universities, and private and nonprofit organizations may offer grants.
Computer science students can also pursue research grants. Organizations offering research grants review students’ research proposals and fund projects that match their mission. The National Science Foundation aggregates recently announced funding opportunities for computer and information science students and engineering students. Additionally, the IEEE Foundation invites grant applicants to submit projects related to certain themes each year.
Because scholarships and grants may not cover the entire cost of pursuing a degree, students should be sure to research and understand how to borrow money. Loans require repayment and their terms can be difficult to navigate.
To apply for federal aid, students must submit the Free Application for Federal Aid (FAFSA) each year. The government uses this form to determine each student’s eligibility for federal loans, including Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, and the Federal Perkins Loan Program. Federal loans offer flexible repayment options. Students can submit their FAFSA form online to speed up the process.
The U.S. Department of Education requires that all schools participating in federal student aid programs hold accreditation from a recognized accrediting agency. Students who attend an unaccredited institution may miss out on many financial aid opportunities.
If federal loans do not cover remaining tuition costs, students can take out private loans. However, students should only consider private loans after exhausting scholarship, grant, and federal loan options. Borrowers should pay close attention to the interest rates and repayment options for each private loan. The Department of Education provides a shopping sheet to help students better understand the financial burden of additional loans.
Loan Comparison Chart
The following chart illustrates the differences between government and private loans. Interest rates for private loans can be significantly higher than government loans, and private loans often have more stringent repayment options.
No previous federal loan defaults; must attend school at least half time
Must attend school at least half time; acceptable credit
Must qualify as a low-income student; income cutoff varies by school
Based on credit
Up to $20,500/year; $138,500 for the entirety of a degree
Full cost of graduate study, including living expenses
$8,000/year; varies according to the college a student attends
Tied to a 10-year treasury note plus 3.6%; a maximum of 9.5%
Tied to a 10-year treasury note plus 4.6%; a maximum of 10.5%
Six months after leaving school
Deferred until six months after leaving school or after attendance drops below half time
Nine months after leaving school
After 20-25 years; 10 years for public servants
After 10 years if employed at a nonprofit or government agency