Financial support for ESTEEM is provided by the National Science Foundation's Division of Undergraduate Education through the S-STEM (Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) program, and UC Santa Barbara's College of Engineering.
In 2011, the NSF initially awarded UC Santa Barbara a 5-year, $600,000 S-STEM project to support engineering students. The project was called Enhanced Support, Training and Experiences for Engineering Majors (ESTEEM). Directed by Professor Susannah Scott, the project has provided scholarships and support to over 40 engineering majors. In 2016, the project was extended for an additional 5 years and expanded as a $4.8 million multi-institutional partnership, with an additional mandate to support prospective transfer students at community colleges in Santa Barbara County.
The goals of the NSF S-STEM program are:
- To increase the recruitment, retention, student success, and graduation (including student transfer) of low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need who are pursuing post-secondary degrees in STEM and enter the STEM workforce or graduate programs in STEM.
- To adapt, implement, and study models, effective evidence-based practices, and/or strategies that contribute to understanding how factors or existing high quality evidence-based practices affect recruitment, retention, student success, academic/career pathways, and/or degree attainment (including student transfer) in STEM of low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need.
- To contribute to the implementation and sustainability of effective evidence-based curricular and co-curricular activities (e.g., evidence-based practices; professional and workforce development activities) for low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need, pursuing undergraduate or graduate education, and entry into the workforce or graduate programs in STEM.