Action C-1: Increase the number and proportion of U.S. citizens who earn bachelor’s degrees in the physical sciences, the life sciences, engineering, and mathematics by providing 25,000 new 4-year competitive undergraduate scholarships each year to U.S. citizens attending U.S. institutions.
The Undergraduate Scholar Awards in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (USA-STEM) would be distributed to states on the basis of the size of their congressional delegations and awarded on the basis of national examinations. An award would provide up to $20,000 annually for tuition and fees.
Action C-2: Increase the number of U.S. citizens pursuing graduate study in “areas of national need” by funding 5,000 new graduate fellowships each year.
NSF should administer the program and draw on the advice of other federal research agencies to define national needs. The focus on national needs is important both to ensure an adequate supply of doctoral scientists and engineers and to ensure that there are appropriate employment opportunities for students once they receive their degrees. Portable fellowships would provide a stipend of $30,000 annually directly to students, who would choose where to pursue graduate studies instead of being required to follow faculty research grants, and up to $20,000 annually for tuition and fees.
Action C-3: Provide a federal tax credit to encourage employers to make continuing education available (either internally or through colleges and universities) to practicing scientists and engineers.
These incentives would promote career-long learning to keep the workforce productive in an environment of rapidly evolving scientific and engineering discoveries and technological advances and would allow for retraining to meet new demands of the job market.