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Supporting “The Best and Brightest” in Science and Engineering

Supporting “The Best and Brightest” in Science and Engineering

NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

(p.19) 1 Supporting “The Best and Brightest” in Science and Engineering
Science and Engineering Careers in the United States
Richard B. FreemanTanwin ChangHanley Chiang
University of Chicago Press

Stipends to U.S. citizens/residents are a natural policy tool for increasing the incentive for Americans to enter science and engineering (S&E) fields without directly impacting the flow of talent from overseas. Analysis of National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships suggests that raising the value of awards increases the number of applicants and quality of awardees, while giving more awards increases the number of awardees, by definition, with only a modest reduction in measured academic skills. To the extent that changes in NSF fellowship policy induce changes in the policies of other stipend-granting groups, it is suspected that the qualitative results, at least, can be extrapolated to the broader market. To see if such an extrapolation is at least consistent with the data, this chapter examines the changing number of first-year first-time graduate students in science and engineering who were U.S. citizens and permanent residents relative to the number of S&E bachelor graduates in the United States. The results are consistent with the notion that more and better-paying stipends could raise the number of native-born/residents choosing S&E fields broadly.

Keywords:   stipends, policy tools, sciences, engineering, graduate fellowships, United States

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