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High School-Level STEM Initiatives: State Support for Afterschool/ELO Programs in STEM (Such as Robotics, Science Olympiad, INTEL) That Focus on Supporting Student Interest in STEM

Why does it matter?
  • Hands-on experiences are an effective means for students to learn science.
  • Competitions can increase student interest in mathematics and science.
  • Providing financial support to students representing a state nationally encourages students who otherwise might not have been able to afford it.

  • Highlights:

    Policies in 12 states provide support for after-school/ELO programs in STEM subjects. These policies are diverse in their scope and aim. For example:
  • Two states - Alabama and Arizona - provide funds to students representing the state in academic competitions.
  • Nevada and Utah have provided direct support support to STEM-related programs, such as the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and Science Olympiads.
  • Colorado has established a pilot program supporting after-school activities and competitions within the state.
  • Multiple programs in Texas create an engineering summer program, a state science and engineering fair, and a cooperative program with the Johnson Space Center.

  • Sources for all data points are accessible through this link.

    This information was collected from state statutes, rules and regulations, and state education agency Web sites, and will be updated as new policies and programs are enacted.

    Last updated: June 2008

    This database was compiled by Kyle Zinth, policy analyst, ECS Information Clearinghouse. For questions, additions or corrections: 303.299.3673 or

    State support for afterschool/ELO programs in STEM (such as robotics, science Olympiad, INTEL) that focus on supporting student interest in STEM
    Alabama Yes, the Math, Science, and Debate Competition Program is sponsored by the department of education to provide financial assistance to 9th-12th grade public and private school math, science and debate teams and individuals representing the state at national competitions. Contingent upon appropriation, provides $75 per day per person for food and lodging.
    Arizona Yes, academic contest funds provide funds to students and chaperones who accompany students who represent that state at national competitions. Competitions must be sponsored by a recognized national organization and be academic in nature. Districts submit applications to the superintendent for student and chaperone expenses. (Charter and private schools are not eligible.) Student participation must be the result of successfully competing at the local or state level of that contest. In 2006, funds in the amount of $50,000 were equally divided on a per student basis of $104.82 and in 2007 at $105.26.

    Although not focused exclusively on STEM subjects, districts received funds in the 2007-08 school year for students competing in FIRST Robotics, and in past years has gone to students competing in BioGENEius and the Science Olympiad National.
    Colorado Yes, 2007 legislation creates the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) after-school education pilot grant program. Eligible programs are after-school educational activities and competitions focused on STEM that operate at least weekly during the school year in a public school. Nonprofit corporations may apply for funds to defray administrative and personnel costs associated with coordinating the program.
    Idaho Yes, the state department of education administers a program of matching grants to encourage the expansion or maintenance of science education programs in the state. Matching grants may only be made to nonprofit corporations which have conducted a science education program for a minimum of one year. Eligible science education programs include demonstration programs intended to encourage knowledge of and interest in the disciplines of science among secondary school students.
    Kentucky Yes, among the responsibilities of the Kentucky Science and Technology Council is to coordinate, promote and support activities designed to develop additional learning experiences outside the traditional classroom courses, to enhance interest in math and science for middle and high school students, including summer and weekend institutes.
    Louisiana Yes, 1995 legislation directed the state board to develop and adopt an annual mathematics, science, speech and debate competition financial assistance awards program. The program provides financial assistance to eligible teams and individuals from public and approved nonpublic secondary schools representing the state at regional and national competitions. Covered financial expenses are entry fees, travel, lodging, subsistence and incidental costs directly related to participation in the competition. (Exists in statutes, although no evidence of implementation.)
    Missouri Yes, the Afterschool METS Grant Program provides grants on a competitive basis to expand quality afterschool programs that focus on STEM subjects (referred to in Missouri as METS subjects) and/or health. As of 2008, approximately $500,000 has been allocated for each grant program. The maximum funding amount for each grant is $10,000 per site with no more than three sites per school district. List of schools awarded grants for 2007-08.
    Nevada Yes, 2007 legislation appropriated $200,000 for support of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair to be held May 8th-15th, 2009. Upon acceptance of the money, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair is responsible for preparing a report for the Interim Finance Committee that describes expenditures made from the appropriated money.

    Tennessee Yes, state operates a program that provides grants and technical assistance to public and non-profit organizations that provide after school educational programs. Eligible programs must be available for an average of 15 hours a week and provide for mathematics or science skills development and enhancement. (Programs must also meet other specified requirements.) Preference is given to programs that are targeted towards lower-income students, those at risk of educational disadvantage and those attending schools not making adequate yearly progress under NCLB.
    Texas Yes, multiple provisions.

    Gifted and Talented Student Allotments
    Each year the state allots funds to districts to use for the education of gifted and talented students. Once each district has received their allotted funds, the state board of is authorized to use up to $500,000 of the remaining funds for programs such as MathCounts, Future Problem Solving, Odyssey of the Mind and Academic Decathlon. The funds must be used to train personnel and to provide program services.

    Engineering Summer Program
    2007 legislation directed the the Higher Education Coordinating Board to establish and administer a one-week summer program to take place on the campus of each general academic teaching institution that offers an engineering degree program. The summer program must be designed for middle and high school students and expose those students to mathematics, science and engineering concepts that a student in an engineering degree program may encounter.

    The Texas State Science and Engineering Fair (TSSEF)
    Conducted annually by the board for Higher Education Coordinating Board, the TSSEF is intended to promote an appreciation for and interest in science, mathematics and engineering among precollege students. The TSSEF is the pathway for 9th-12th grade students to advance from regional-level science fairs to state-level opportunities. The TSSEF provides access to the International Science and Engineering Fair for Texas precollege students.

    Cooperative Program With Johnson Space Center (JSC)
    1999 legislation authorized the University of Houston to establish and coordinate a cooperative program with one or more school districts under which high school students may be employed by the university to work at NASA's JSC on a part-time basis during the school year or on a part-time or full-time basis during school holidays or vacations.

    The JSC is responsible for: (1) placing, supervising and evaluating each student who participates in the cooperative program; and (2) ensuring that the student performs work related to the study of science, mathematics or engineering to encourage students to study those courses after high school graduation at an institution of higher education.
    Utah Yes, operating within the Governor's Office of Economic Development, the science and technology education program provides direct support for programs such as a science and technology camp and Science Olympiads.

    Additionally, the state-supported Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program is intended to increase the number of under-served minority and female students who pursue course work, advanced study and possible careers in STEM subjects. Approved activities that participating districts or schools may use state funds for include field trips, science fairs, mathematics competitions and extracurricular mathematics or science activities.
    Washington Yes, 2007 legislation directed the superintendent of public education to employ a statewide director for mathematics, science and technology. The duties of the director include coordinating youth opportunities in mathematics, science and technology, including facilitating student participation in school clubs, state-level fairs, national competitions and encouraging partnerships between students and university faculty or industry to facilitate such student participation.

    In an effort to increase pre-college and pre-work interest in STEM fields, the director is also directed to collaborate with the community and technical colleges, the four-year institutions of higher education and the workforce training and education coordinating board to conduct outreach efforts to attract middle and high school students to careers in STEM fields and to educate students about the coursework that is necessary to be adequately prepared to succeed in these fields.

    Additionally, the legislation created the after-school mathematics support program to study the effects of intentional, skilled mathematics support included as part of an existing after-school activity program. The grant program will provide grants to selected community-based, nonprofit organizations that provide after-school programs and include support for students to learn mathematics. (Priority will be given to applicants that propose programs to serve middle school and junior high school students.)

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