programs that target well-prepared minority students.
The National Scholars Program should be envisaged, at a minimum, as a 15-year commitment. After the planning stage, there should be a two-year pilot phase during which three consortiums will be established. Information obtained from the experience of these first two years will indicate whether the activities are operating as planned and permit refinement of the guidelines for implementation of subsequent consortiums. Over the subsequent three years, other consortiums would be established and the full program implemented.
Planning activities for the first year of the National Scholars Program are estimated to cost $0.5 million. The second and third years of the program will involve implementation of the three pilot consortiums and an increase in the planning, coordinating, and oversight responsibilities of the National Scholars Coordinating Council at a cost of $9.3 million. In 12 years, estimated annual expenditures for the national program and consortium site activities will total $48.7 million, with undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships representing the major share of program costs.
We recommend that NASA convene, in partnership with a national association or organization of scientists and engineers, an initial conference of educators and scientists to publicize the program and inform pertinent organizations and individuals about its purposes and strategies. Following the development of program guidelines, to be specified in an RFP, a second meeting with promising candidates should be convened to explain the requirements for preparing a proposal to fund and implement a consortium.