The Money is There for Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies is the umbrella term for a course of study that examines the state of the natural world, ecosystems, resources, climate and the future of the Earth. It encompasses the fields of chemistry, biology, geology, forestry, meteorology, oceanography, wildlife conservation and resource conservation and management. As you might guess, grants and other sources of funding are plentiful once you start looking. Environmental Studies grants come primarily from three sources:

  1. Federal or state government;
  2. Colleges and universities; and
  3. Private sources, including foundations and environmental organizations.

 

Federal Grants for Environmental Science Students

Undergraduates who have Pell Grants or are eligible for Pell Grants can also apply for the National Science and Math to Access to Retain Talent Grant, known as the SMART Grant. It is available to third- and fourth-year students who are majoring in one of the life or physical sciences, natural resources conservation or mathematics (among other majors).  This grant can provide up to $4,000 each year. For details, go to http://studentaid.ed.gov and search for “National SMART Grant.”

Part of the mission of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is education. To this end, EPA administers its own grants, internships and fellowships for undergraduates, graduate students and professionals. You can find a list of funding opportunities at www.epa.gov/epahome.grants.htm. Paid and unpaid internship information is a www.epa.gov/internships.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) awards grant money to colleges that primarily serve minority communities to support the education of students in environmental fields. At institutions awarded applicable grant money, students majoring in Environmental Sciences may be eligible for funds. NOAA also offers a range of paid fellowships and internships for students. The website is www.oesd.noaa.gov.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a number of grant and scholarship programs, as well as paid internships and fellowships, in natural resources conservation, forestry, and other fields related to environmental science and management.  Ger more information at www.usda.gov.

 

State Grant Sources

Because every state is completely different in their approach to higher education funding, the best place to start is your state’s higher education commission. To find a list of state commissions and contact information, including web addresses, go to http://studentaid.ed.gov, click on “Get Money for College,” scroll down to “Explore Other Sources,” and click on “State Higher Education Agencies.”

 

College and University Funding

One of your best sources for funding your environmental sciences education is your own institution. Many colleges and universities have designated grants and scholarships for students studying environmental sciences. Do not overlook grants funded by or through your department; while they are may be smaller than funds available for all students at the school (particularly for undergraduates), many students do not do the work to find out about them in the first place. A couple of examples:

  1. At Emory University, the James G. Lester Endowment funds grants and scholarships for undergraduate research, field study and travel, and Turner Research Grants support undergraduate field research in Georgia. The website is http://envs.emory.edu
  2. STEPS Institute Grants at the University of California, Santa Cruz supports environmental research especially relevant to California. For more information, go to www.steps.ucsc.edu.

Private Sources of Funding for Environmental Sciences Students

One of your best sources for funding your environmental sciences education is your own institution. Many colleges and universities have designated grants and scholarships for students studying environmental sciences. Do not overlook grants funded by or through your department; while they are may be smaller than funds available for all students at the school (particularly for undergraduates), many students do not do the work to find out about them in the first place. A couple of examples:

  1. At Emory University, the James G. Lester Endowment funds grants and scholarships for undergraduate research, field study and travel, and Turner Research Grants support undergraduate field research in Georgia. The website is http://envs.emory.edu
  2. STEPS Institute Grants at the University of California, Santa Cruz supports environmental research especially relevant to California. For more information, go to www.steps.ucsc.edu.

 

Private Sources of Funding for Environmental Sciences Students

Professional associations, environmental organizations, private and public foundations and corporations can be very valuable sources of grant funding. The site www.enviroeducation.com has an extensive (but not exclusive!) list of professional organizations and conservation organizations that could be excellent sources of funding.

  1. The Morris Udall Foundation provides two grants for environmental science students. One of them is for undergraduates enrolled in a general degree program, and the other is for graduate students working focusing on environmental policy as part of their dissertation research. See www.udall.gov.
  2. The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation administers the Doris Duke Conservation Fellows Program, which provides funding to students involved in environmental conservation programs at any of these participating universities: Yale University, Duke University, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin, University of Montana, Cornell, Florida A&M, University of California – Santa Barbara, and Northern Arizona University. Their website is www.woodrow.org.
  3. The Garden Club of America offers 25 grants, fellowships and scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral candidates and PhD candidates in a wide range of environmental areas. Their website is www.gcamerica.org.

Environmental Studies is one of the most relevant and in-demand programs of study today. Because it touches so many scientific disciplines, a little creative thinking about which organizations, agencies and associations might offer grants to students in environmental sciences can yield surprising and valuable results.

 

 

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