Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Perry Promotes $100 Million STEM Challenge Scholarship Initiative

Tuesday, December 15, 2009  •  Press Release

WACO – Gov. Rick Perry today was joined by state and education leaders at Texas State Technical College to promote a $100 million initiative to help students pursuing degrees and certificates in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields receive the education necessary to compete in the global workforce. The STEM Challenge Scholarship will emphasize providing competitive awards to regional partnerships between higher education institutions, school districts and local employers to help attract, retain and graduate STEM students.

“Accelerating the number of college students graduating in a high-tech field is essential to maintaining a globally competitive workforce,” Gov. Perry said. “This scholarship program will encourage higher education institutions to design STEM programs that meet local employer needs, while providing Texas students the opportunity to pursue the education they need as they fulfill their potential.”

This effort builds on the state’s existing incentive funding program, which provides $80 million to universities to increase the number of graduates, particularly in STEM fields. The governor has also proposed $60 million in additional measures to continue efforts to strengthen STEM education in Texas schools. This includes expanding the Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program by 50 additional schools, which would increase the number of students taking AP exams by certifying additional AP teachers. From 2000 to 2009, the number of Texas students passing AP exams each year increased 140 percent, with African American and Hispanic rates increasing by 218 percent and 194 percent, respectively.

“I’m proud that Texas has one of the largest STEM networks in the country,” Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott said. “This scholarship program lets students know that their hard work is paying off.”

Gov. Perry has also proposed greatly expanding the nationally recognized UTeach program, which recruits college students to become math and science teachers, to five additional higher education institutions. This would create an additional 2,000 STEM teachers in Texas public schools over a five-year period. The governor has also proposed doubling the number and scope of the state’s high performing T-STEM academies from 46 to 92, significantly increasing the number of students attending these academies.

“Texas must intensify its efforts to recruit, retain, and graduate students in STEM fields to ensure we stake our claim in the 21st century economy,” Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes said. “The governor’s STEM Challenge Scholarship will prove to be an invaluable tool for helping Texas achieve its goals for Closing the Gaps by 2015.”

Ensuring that Texas remains a leader in job creation depends on the development of our workforce and is imperative to Texas’ future prosperity. This initiative is building upon successful initiatives like T-STEM academies and legislation such as House Bill 3 of the 81st Legislative Session, which for the first time holds schools accountable for graduating college- and career-ready students.  These efforts will help ensure future generations of Texans have the educational foundation necessary to compete and win in the increasingly competitive global economy.

The governor will work with lawmakers over the next several months to implement this initiative and secure funding during the 82nd Legislative Session.

In Their Words »
Dr. Nancy Grayson, Superintendent
Rapoport Academy Public School
Dr. Roland Hernandez, Superintendent
Waco Independent School District
Learn more about:
Governor's Initiatives »
Connect With Us
Texas Governor's Office on Google+Google+ Texas Governor's Office on LinkedInLinkedIn Texas Governor's Office YouTube ChannelYouTube Sign Up For Email Updates - Opens New WindowEmail Texas Governor's Office Flickr Photo StreamFlickr RSS FeedsRSS Feeds FlipboardFlipboard InstagramInstagram
Related News
September 09, 2014 • Austin, Texas • Press Release
Gov. Perry Promotes Texas’ World-Class Business Climate in Beijing
September 08, 2014 • Tokyo, Japan • Press Release
Gov. Perry Promotes Stronger Economic Ties between Texas and Japan
September 05, 2014 • Austin, Texas • Press Release
Gov. Perry to Lead Economic Development Delegation in Asia
August 28, 2014 • Austin, Texas • Press Release
In Case You Missed It: Editorial Hails Texas as “Real Model For Economic Opportunity”
View News Archive »