Department of Education Updates and Improves College Scorecard - December 2020 STEM Newsletter

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STEM Education Updates from the

U.S. Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education (ED or the Department) developed this STEM newsletter to provide resources and inspiration. The Department also maintains resources on its STEM landing page, including funding opportunities and archives of STEM briefings. You can manage your newsletter subscription and you are encouraged to invite your colleagues and friends to sign up as well!   The Department welcomes your feedback and questions. Please feel free to share them at

Table of Contents

ED News
ED Funding Opportunities
Request for Information

Other Federal Resources and Opportunities 
Updated COVID-19 Resources


ED News

College Scorecard Update
Secretary DeVos recently announced that students and parents can now compare average earnings two years after graduation based on field of study and how much federal student loan debt they can expect to incur, including new information on Parent PLUS loans, based on where they decide to attend school.  The College Scorecard now provides new median income data for students two years out from their date of graduation across the various fields of study an institution offers. These updates to College Scorecard make it easier to search for different fields of study and to compare those fields side by side, whether they are within one institution or across several institutions.  Whatever the device - laptop, tablet, phone - you can find the right fit with the updated College Scorecard. Discover schools based on the things that matter most to you:  college programs; costs; admissions; and results.

CTE CubeSat Finalists
This summer, the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) launched the CTE Mission: CubeSat national challenge to bring space missions and hands on learning to students. High schools across the country designed prototypes and created mission proposals for CubeSat projects. OCTAE's Assistant Secretary Scott Stump recently announced the five finalists, who will each receive $5,000 and in-kind prizes that they may use to build CubeSat (cube satellite) prototypes in the second phase of the challenge. To receive Phase 2 updates and other challenge news, subscribe to the CTE Mission: CubeSat newsletter.

Science + Coding = computer science in the classroom
The Office of Education Technology produced a series of STEM Innovation Spotlights and one is of particular note during this year’s Computer Science Education Week.  At South Side Elementary School in Kendalville, IN, students learn computational thinking starting in kindergarten and develop advanced reasoning skills throughout their elementary school years.

STEM Webinars

STEM webinars
Dec. 10, 2020 – 1:30 – 3:00 PM ET – New Frontiers in K-12 CS Education.  In recognition of Computer Science Education Week, tune in to learn about state trends and hear from ED grantees advancing computer science education in formal, informal, and virtual settings.  Register today.

January 2021 – Due to the holidays, there is no STEM webinar scheduled for January 2021.

February 2, 2021 – 2:00 – 3:30 PM ET – Inspiring STEM Interest.  Research shows STEM interest can blossom in a variety of settings, sparked in a variety of ways.  Learn what the latest research shows and how you can inspire STEM interest.  Registration information forthcoming.

March – Differing Abilities in STEM (tentative). Learn how to support people with differing abilities to be successful in STEM careers.

For archived briefing presentations, check out

ED Funding Opportunities

The Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 funding season has officially kicked-off!  Currently open discretionary and research opportunities that can support STEM are below. 

New to the Department’s grantmaking process?  The Department offers introductory resources about its grantmaking . The Department is always seeking experts in STEM education and other fields to serve as peer reviewers of grant applications. 

College Assistance Migrant Program
The Department’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education issued a notice inviting applications (NIA) for FY 2021 for the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP).  CAMP is designed to assist migratory or seasonal farmworkers (or immediate family members of such workers) who are enrolled or are admitted for enrollment on a full-time basis at an institution of higher education (IHE) to complete their first academic year.  Applications are due by January 22, 2021.

Transformative Research in the Education Sciences Grants Program
The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and its National Center for Education Research (NCER) announced a Request for Application (RFA) for the FY 2020 Transformative Research in the Education Sciences Grants Program.  NCER supports innovative or unconventional research that has the potential to lead to new scientific paradigms, novel and more effective approaches to education practice or policy, or transformative technologies that substantially increase learner outcomes. NCER will consider only applications that demonstrate the potential to produce a major impact in an area relevant to the IES mission. The innovation may be technical, conceptual, or a combination of both. For this program, IES defines major impact as an unusually broad and meaningful improvement in learner outcomes.

Native American Career and Technical Education Program (NACTEP)
The Department of Education (Department) is issuing an NIA for new awards for FY 2021 for the NACTEP. NACTEP provides grants to improve career and technical education (CTE) programs that benefit Native Americans and Alaska Natives. Applications are due January 29, 2021.

Request for Information

Work-Based Learning (WBL) Request for Information
The Department's Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education )OCTAE) is pleased to announce the release of a Request for Information (RFI) on Expanding Work-Based Learning Opportunities for Youth. Please share your thoughts and ideas on barriers that limit successful approaches for expanding WBL opportunities for youth. The Department will use submitted information to inform its implementation of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). Comments are due January 13, 2021.


ED Delivers Historic Investment in STEM
In FY 2020, the Department invested $578 million to support high-quality STEM education, including computer science, for students through its discretionary and research grants.  Read more about this support and the program investments.

School Ambassador Fellowship Program
This Fellowship Program is a one-year long professional learning community that enables outstanding teachers, administrators, and other school leaders, like school counselors, psychologists, social workers, and librarians to bring their school and classroom expertise to the Department and to expand their knowledge of the national dialogue about education.  Applications are due January 11, 2021.

Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award 
The call for nominations is now open for second year awards for one elementary and one secondary teachers that teach cybersecurity education.  Nominations and any questions should be submitted to Nominations are due January 31, 2021.

November 2020 STEM Education Briefing Series
Federal STEM Strategic Plan: 2 Years Later webinar and presentation slides are now available online.  Learn about ED and other agencies’ efforts in year two of a five-year plan to support robust STEM education.

Back to School Success Stories
OESE recently hosted a series of webinars discussing best practices and successful strategies for safe and successful school reopenings. At the website, you can learn from parents, teachers, students, school officials, and community partners from all over the country.  To submit a reopening testimonial, contact

November 2020 STEM Newsletter 
Last month’s edition featured some great information and opportunities, including some from the U.S. Department of Defense and NASA.

Other Federal Resources and Opportunities


Computer Science Education Resources
NASA has created a number of computer science education resources to help K-12 teachers and students celebrate Computer Science Education Week and learn throughout the year.

U.S. Department of Energy

New Nuclear Energy STEM Activities Webinar

Baranwal DOE
Join Assistant Secretary of Nuclear Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy, Dr. Rita Baranwal, as she welcomes formal and informal educators to this professional development webinar on Monday, December 14, 2020, 2:00-3:00 PM ET. The Office of Nuclear Energy will discuss new STEM engagement activities and demonstrate multiple “hands-on” activities your students can do, using materials often found in their own homes and communities. Register today!

Attention Teachers: Win a GoPro Bundle
To celebrate Computer Science Education Week (December 7-13), the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) is hosting a social media contest for teachers. Throughout the month of December, ORISE wants to hear teachers’ ideas on how to teach computer science without technology. Three randomly chosen teachers will win GoPro bundles. Contest ends December 31, 2020.

Department of Energy (DOE) Scholars Program
The ORISE invites students and recent graduates who are pursuing or already have a degree complimentary to DOE mission areas to apply to the DOE Scholars Program. Applications are now being accepted for 2021 and appointments are available for summer or longer periods.  Apply online by January 4, 2021.

Postdoctoral students who are pursuing or already have obtained a doctoral degree in fusion energy sciences are invited to apply to the Fusion Energy Sciences Postdoctoral Research Participation Program. Applications should include a proposed hosting facility, research mentor, and proposed research plan. Apply online by January 4, 2021.

Summer Fellowship Program


The DOE’s Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship Program is currently accepting applications for their Summer 2021 program. Participants will gain hands-on research experience by completing a cutting-edge research project at a DOE National Laboratory or Headquarters. During the 10-week appointment, fellows train under the mentorship of scientists and engineers. Register for one of their upcoming virtual information sessions before December 17, 2020.

National Science Foundation

Nominate a STEM Mentor Today


The National Science Foundation's (NSF) 2020–2021 cycle of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) is in now open. PAESMEM are the highest honors bestowed upon STEM mentors by the U.S. government. Do you know any STEM mentors in your community deserving of this recognition?  The nomination deadline is December 18, 2020 and the application deadline is January 24, 2021.

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST)
The PAEMST are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science teaching.  Awards are given to STEM and/or computer science teachers from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity schools, or the U.S. territories. Each Presidential Awardee receives a certificate signed by the President of the United States and a $10,000 award from NSF. Applications for 7-12th grade teachers are now open and must be completed by April 1, 2021.

See the cross-agency teacher resources prepared for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Fall 2019 awardees.

Seeking STEM Education Research Fellows
The NSF is supporting a new three-year summer Institute in Advanced Research Methods for STEM education research (SIARM for STEM) that will focus on developing leadership among STEM education researchers and on research endeavors to promote STEM learning with a lens toward supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM, a goal of the 5-Year Federal STEM Strategic Plan. This NSF-funded project will select a diverse cohort of 22 post-doc Fellows of STEM Education Research among early- and mid-career scholars and faculty who are engaged in quantitative research in STEM education and who seek to do work on the cutting edge in areas such as causal inference, multilevel analysis, social networks, and computation for large-scale data.  Interested scholars must complete the Expression of Interest form, which will remain open until all slots are filled.

Updated COVID-19 Resources


During this coronavirus pandemic it is important that states, communities, educators, and families are equipped with resources and flexibilities that empower students to continue pursuing their education goals. COVID-19 resources for schools, students, and families are available at The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also continues to provide updated guidance for school settings.

Please send questions on which the Department can be helpful to