The Impact of SWE Scholarships on Retention in Engineering and Computer Science

The Society of Women Engineers awards more than $1 million each year in scholarships to deserving students, both undergraduate and graduate, who are pursuing degrees in engineering, engineering technology, or fields related to engineering. How impactful is this investment?

Research indicates that women pursuing bachelor’s degrees in STEM switch to non-STEM fields at higher rates than men, with 32% of women major switching compared to 26% of men [1]. Overall, less than half of women persist in their bachelor’s degree programs in STEM [2].

SWE conducted an analysis of data from the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), which collects information on students’ higher education pathways and outcomes, including choice of major, institutional transfer, and degree completion. Looking at SWE scholarship recipients from 2017 to 2022, SWE obtained data from NSC on over 400 women who had received at least one scholarship during this time period.

The impact of a SWE scholarship is remarkable! Almost 88% of undergraduate scholarship recipients have either earned or are still pursuing a STEM degree, with 97% of these STEM students majoring in engineering or computer science. This research study was funded by the Amateur Radio and Digital Communications (ARDC) Foundation.

FINAL THE IMPACT OF SWE SCHOLARSHIPS INFOGRAPHIC PageDownload the infographic to learn more.

[1] Chen, X. (2013). STEM Attrition: College students’ paths into and out of STEM fields. Statistical Analysis Report. NCES 2014-001. National Center for Education Statistics.
[2] Koch, A. J., Sackett, P. R., Kuncel, N. R., Dahlke, J. A., & Beatty, A. S. (2022). Why women STEM majors are less likely than men to persist in completing a STEM degree: More than the individual. Personality and Individual Differences (190)111532.