BOX 7-3

Life-Gets-Better at Florida A&M University

The Presidential Scholars Program at Florida A&M University is a student-centered program of academic scholarships for student enhancement and empowerment. This program offers a range of seven unique scholarships and seeks to identify and award scholarships to students who have excelled at the national achievement level. It also seeks those committed students who have achieved a measure of success and have the potential to pursue a rigorous program of study, particularly in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

The premier scholarship in the Presidential Scholars Program is the Life-Gets-Better Scholarship, which is offered to students seeking a STEM major. The Life-Gets-Better Scholarship is a unique award at Florida A&M University. It provides a full scholarship and summer internship to a student who has outstanding academic achievements and is jointly sponsored by Florida A&M University and major corporations. The sponsoring corporations provide the students with paid summer internships. Each summer, the student continues employment with the same firm at an increasing rate of pay. The four-year scholarship covers the cost of tuition and fees, room and board, $500 per semester stipend, and a book scholarship each semester.

The Presidential Scholars Program also has scholarships for students who have demonstrated academic potential and have achieved success. Each of the seven scholarships in the Presidential Scholars Program has elements of the Life-Gets-Better Scholarship. The nurturing environment that is imbedded in the Presidential Scholars Program at Florida A&M University emphasizes twenty-first century skills required for knowledge-based STEM careers and readiness for graduate school and for lifelong learning, while assuring the acquisition of professional attributes required for industry.

This approach has resulted in Florida A&M University being ranked #1 for baccalaureate degrees awarded to African Americans in traditional higher education institutions and ranked #1 as the baccalaureate origin institution of African American doctorates in Natural Sciences and Engineering (NS&E), 2002-2006. The Presidential Scholars Program at Florida A&M University offers a Life-Gets-Better approach to educational attainment.

gram.) Indeed, it is in these institutions primarily that we have already invested to build capacity, so going forward it is important to build on these investments in order to improve education and research in these institutions to bolster undergraduate education in particular and graduate education in selected areas. A good example is North Carolina A&T State University, which has been reclassified as a research-intensive institution according to the Carnegie Classification System and designated an Engineering Research Center by the NSF as a result of an open national competitive process.

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