NACME’s principal outreach effort, which uses 70 percent of our annual budget, is the awarding of scholarship grants to minority engineering students through a powerful network of college and university partners.
More than one-third of minority students in the nation graduating with engineering degrees received their diplomas from NACME Partner Universities. In the 2010-2011 school year, NACME supported a total of 1,227 scholars, who were awarded more than $1.6 million in NACME Scholarships and $2.4 million more through our partner institutions’ in-kind support. Even so, NACME has established the aggressive goal of benefiting 1,400 students by the year 2010 – nearly 30 percent more than the current number served.
According to NACME research, underrepresented minority engineering students tend to thrive in colleges and universities where the leadership strongly supports initiatives for inclusion. NACME currently commits block grants of $100,000 to $125,000 to selected universities that have demonstrated a thorough commitment to diversity. These partner institutions (see NACME Partner Universities) use the grants as part of financial aid packages to recruit and retain underrepresented minority engineering students, and, in turn, serve as models for “culturally competent campuses.” Partner schools are expected to graduate at least 80 percent of all NACME Scholars and 90 percent of Scholars who have transferred from a community college.
Many partner schools have achieved that goal. Since the mid-1990s, the retention-to-graduation rate of NACME Scholars has exceeded 85 percent, which is more than twice the average retention rate for minority engineering students nationwide and nearly 20 percentage points higher than that of all engineering students regardless of ethnicity. In addition, 31 percent of our students are women; the national average is 25 percent.
As NACME works to grow its base of scholarship grants toward the 2010 goal of $2.1 million, it does so with a renewed commitment to what NACME former president and CEO Dr. John Brooks Slaughter calls “a new terminology ... of competitiveness and winning.”
Knowing that NACME’s best practices are understood and being applied throughout a national network, the organization looks forward to measuring the success of its university scholarship programs student by student in the coming years.