Microsoft is not only one of the first and largest software companies in the world, but it is also a known player in the STEM and computer science education field. It provides financial resources to educational institutions and programs, faculty and students. Over the years, many programs and individuals have benefitted from Microsoft sponsorship in the form of grants, awards, competitions, training, internships, scholarships and so on.
Grants for High School and College Students
College students can apply for a Microsoft tuition scholarship, which is given to students wishing to pursue a degree in computer science or a related STEM field who have demonstrated academic excellence and passion for technology.
College students are also eligible to apply for the Microsoft Diversity Conference Scholarship. It awards $1,200 to students to further their education in Computer Science and related STEM by attending one of the following diversity conferences: Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, National Society of Black Engineers Conference, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Conference or the Tapia Conference.
If you have a grand tech project in mind, you can apply to participate in the Microsoft Imagine Cup Global Competition. It is a technology competition open to high school and college students age 16 and over. Students who built the most innovative software are awarded $100,000.
Microsoft TEALS program
Another one of Microsoft Education initiatives is the TEALS program, which invests in education in a different way. Started in 2009, the program pairs school teachers with technical volunteers who provide training to enable students to provide a quality computer science education. Within two years, 97 percent of teachers are able to teach computer science independently.
Microsoft Grants for Doctoral Students
Microsoft also offers funding for students wishing to pursue graduate degrees in computer-related fields. For instance, the Microsoft Research Ph.D. Fellowship Program awards $42,000 to students wishing to pursue graduate degrees and who wish to conduct research that is related to the research topics carried out by Microsoft Research.
The Microsoft Research Ada Lovelace Fellowship provides funding to doctoral students from groups underrepresented in computing, such as women, African-Americans/Blacks, Latinos, American Indians/Alaskan Natives, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ population. To be eligible, you must be in the second year of your Ph.D. and nominated by the department chair.
Microsoft Philanthropies provides financial resources to non-profit organizations and has several initiatives focused on education. More importantly, these Microsoft grants are given by invitation only, so there is no application process. For instance, YouthSpark grants are given to non-profit organizations that aim to “increase access to digital skills and computer science education for youth around the globe," and the Microsoft’s Airband Initiative aims to improve broadband access in rural and underserved areas of the world, and provides funding to innovators whose projects are in line with this mission.
In other words, Microsoft is truly committed to its mission to promote and improve computer science education in the United States and around the world, so go ahead and apply for a grant or get involved as a volunteer.
Tanya Mozias Slavin is a former academic and language teacher. She writes articles about education and linguistic technology, and has published in the Washington Post, Fast Company, CBC and other places. Find her at www.tanyamoziasslavin.com