Dozens of private organizations and a few government departments offer scholarships for space exploration studies. Some scholarships for space exploration are for study of a specific space-related specialization, such as planetary geology or astrobiology. Many are linked to a particular space grant university.
Scholarships through NASA
More than 800 universities across the U.S. are part of the Space Grant Consortium. Each offers its students a limited number of scholarships through the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program, and may additionally offer local scholarships in space-related specialization. Various types of scholarships are available to applicants at every level of postsecondary study.
Applicants for the NASA scholarships should apply through their state Space Grant office. All applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, although some may be restricted to U.S. citizens only. A few scholarships may also be restricted based on disability or minority status.
NASA also offers summer internships through the Space Grant program, as well as research fellowships to graduate students who work in fields with direct application to future NASA exploration. All applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
AAS Lady Mamie Ngan Memorial Scholarship (American Astronautical Society)
This scholarship provides up to $10,000 in tuition assistance for a student to attend the International Space University’s Space Studies Session or Masters Program. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and have completed a bachelor-level degree at an accredited university. Preferential treatment will be given to AAS members and to members of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS-USA) organization.
Galactic Unite STEM Scholarship Program (Virgin Galactic)
This new scholarship is intended to inspire young women in their pursuit of answers to global challenges through science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. The Galactic Unite Brightman Scholarship is limited to 4-year colleges, while the Galactic Unite Bytheway Scholarship is for both 2- and 4-year colleges. Permissible fields of study differ slightly between these scholarships, as does the minimum required GPA.
Applicants for both scholarships must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Only high school seniors can apply. The value of each scholarship is $7,500.
The International Star Trek Fan Association offers between 8 and 10 scholarships of up to $500 every year. These are not limited to space exploration majors. Instead, each scholarship is named for a Star Trek actor and dedicated to either that actor’s personal interests or their character’s job. All fields of interest are covered.
These scholarships can be applied to a wide range of postsecondary studies from community college to postgraduate. Applicants must have been paid members of Starfleet for at least one year. Direct links to scholarship information are not constant year to year.