Guide to Education Grants: How to Get Funding for Your STEM Program

By Jordani Sarreal on December 20, 2023

A comprehensive guide to education grants for school and district administrators. Learn about the different types of grants available, how to find grants you qualify for, and tips for writing a winning grant proposal.

Guide to Education Grants_ How to Get Funding for Your STEM Program

With school and district budgets stretched thin in recent years, education grants have been vital to funding new and innovative STEM programs in schools and districts across the country. Government, private, and corporate education grants can help close budget gaps, allowing schools in need to provide comprehensive STEM curricula to their students In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the different types of education grants available and how they can help fund your vision for a rewarding STEM learning experience for your students. Whether your goal is to close a budget gap to maintain a current STEM program or to launch an entirely new curriculum, grants can help turn these ideas into reality.

In this article, you’ll find:

  • An overview of education grants and how they can help fund a STEM program
  • How to find relevant grant opportunities for your STEM program goals
  • How to craft winning grant proposals tailored for STEM
  • How to manage grant funding and maintain grant compliance

Are you ready to get your dream STEM program funded? Through strategic planning, targeted proposals, and effective grant management, the resources you need can be within your reach. This guide to STEM education grants is designed to help equip you with the key knowledge and practical steps to successfully secure funding for STEM education at your school or district. So let’s get started!

Funding Your New STEM Curriculum

Everything You Need to Know About STEM Education Grants

Education grants from government agencies, foundations, nonprofit organizations, corporations, and private donors can provide crucial funding for K-12 schools looking to implement new STEM curricula and programming. 

Below are the most common questions administrators have when starting to explore the world of education grants for STEM.

What is an education grant?

An education grant is a sum of money given by a government, company, foundation, or organization to support education programs and initiatives. Unlike loans, education grants do not need to be repaid by the recipient, but they do have terms that need to be followed, such as eligibility criteria, reporting certain metrics and results, fund matching, or itemized qualified expenses.

What type of STEM programs and activities can be funded by an education grant?

Education grants can fund a wide range of STEM-related programs and initiatives, such as:

    • Purchasing curriculum, equipment, or lab materials
    • Funding teacher training and professional development workshops geared toward STEM programming
    • Developing new STEM curriculum and instructional content
    • Running STEM-focused after-school programs, camps, or extracurricular activities like robotics clubs or coding events
    • Purchasing programs for digital learning
    • Bringing in expert guest speakers, academic partners, or industry mentors in the field of STEM

Ultimately, each STEM education grant will outline what the funds can be used for and how to maintain compliance to ensure that your school or district doesn’t need to pay back any grant funds because of misallocation.

Who is eligible to apply for STEM education grants?

Any educational institution can receive a STEM education grant, though some grants might specify the type of institution or grade level they are looking for. Without any restrictions, however, K-12 schools and school districts, colleges, universities, nonprofit organizations, libraries, and museums can all be recipients of educational grants in STEM.

When do you need to apply for education grants?

Applications for STEM education grants typically open in yearly, biannual, or quarterly cycles. Any new proposals will be reviewed based on these individual schedules, so it’s important to keep track of each grant’s application deadline.

Is there an application fee for applying for education grants?

Most government and nonprofit education grants do not charge an application fee. However, a very small number of corporate grants do require a small application fee.

How much funding do STEM education grants provide?

Award amounts for education grants vary greatly. Anywhere from $1,000 to multi-million dollar grants are available depending on the project size, the grantor, and the individual grant terms.

Can you fund a STEM program with more than one education grant?

Yes, it is absolutely possible and common to fund a STEM program through multiple monetary resources and education grants. Securing money from more than one grant source allows schools and districts to maximize their funding.

How competitive is it to get an education grant for STEM?

STEM education grants have seen a rise in application volume, so having a standout proposal is key to finding funding success.

How to Fund a STEM Program with the Help of Education Grants (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Fund a STEM Program with the Help of Education Grants (A Step-by-Step Guide)

1. Define Your STEM Program

Before you start requesting funding from education grants, you need a clear vision of your STEM program. This will help you find the most relevant grant opportunities, craft compelling grant proposals, and maintain compliance with each grant’s requirements.

If you’re not sure where to start with defining your STEM program, check out our blog post on how to start a STEM program in your school district.

2. Find STEM Education Grants for Your School

Your first stop in finding education grants for your STEM program should be a comprehensive database like those provided by, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Education.

These databases compile STEM-related grant opportunities and provide built-in filters so you can narrow your search to find education grants that your school qualifies for.

You can also find curated lists of private and corporate STEM grant opportunities on sites like Solid Professor, Snohomish STEM, or Instrumentl

Continue your search by looking for local and regional education grants from private and corporate sources. Don’t forget that regional STEM funders can come from hidden gems like community foundations and local private donors in your city or state who might offer smaller STEM education grants only available to regional schools, not nationwide applicants.

You might also want to connect with local grant writers in your area, as they may be willing to share upcoming local grant opportunities that circle among school districts. Tapping into these hyper-local education grant pools can provide the STEM funding other schools may overlook, giving you better odds at success.

3. Choosing the Right Education Grant for Your STEM Program

Since you’ve clearly defined the STEM program you are aiming to fund, finding relevant STEM grants will be much easier. Keep these key factors in mind when determining if an education grant is a good fit for your STEM program:

  • Alignment: The grant should align with the goals of your proposed STEM programming. If you need to purchase STEM lab kits, look for a hardware-focused STEM grant rather than a broader tech education grant.
  • Eligibility: Carefully review the eligibility requirements on items like the size of your school district, demographics, or location. Make sure your school qualifies before spending your time and effort applying for an irrelevant grant.
  • Competitiveness: More niche, specialized STEM grants tend to have fewer applicants, so your chances for funding are higher. Ultra-popular, nationwide grants attract hundreds of applicants vying for the same funding. Don’t rule these out completely. Just be sure you can craft a winning proposal that can make your school or district stand out from the crowd!
  • Grant Size: Make sure the funding amount, timeline, and dispersal schedule (upfront or reimbursement) work realistically for the scope of your STEM program and your budgetary needs.

4. Write a Winning Grant Proposal

When writing your STEM grant proposal, there are a few key tips to keep in mind to make your proposal more competitive and compelling:

  • Have a clear mission statement. Be sure to clearly articulate the vision of your STEM program and the STEM learning objectives upfront. Map out an overview of the program with timelines, roles, responsibilities, and any other specific information that helps convey the mission of your school’s new STEM program. 
  • Tell a story with data. Paint a clear picture of how the funds from this education grant will transform your schools, students, and/or communities. Emphasize any underserved groups if applicable, and use data to build a compelling case that highlights the true need for these funds (lack of access, gaps in proficiency, etc.). You can also use data to support the vision of the improvements this STEM program will bring. Speak directly to the grantor and use the facts to make a genuine case for your school’s needs.
  • Add third parties. Showcase any community partnerships, cross-sector collaborations, or matching funding sources. These all provide social proof and strengthen credibility, making the idea of your STEM program more attainable to the grantor looking at contributing funding.
  • Add the voices from the community. Student testimonials, quotes, and anecdotes help tell your story with emotion and empathy. Put faces to the data to make your application resonate emotionally. Photos and videos are great additions to do this visually.
  • Outline the logistics. Show the details of your plan and exactly how the grant’s funding will be used. Share the quantifiable outcomes you’ll be measuring and the metrics you’ll be able to share with your funders: test scores, engagement levels, interest in STEM careers, etc.
  • Pay attention to the details. Education grants have detailed instructions on how they want their proposals delivered to them. Pay close attention to all formatting instructions, word counts, and application deadlines. Also, be sure to include all of the required appendices like letters of recommendation, annual reports, and budget sheets. 

What do grantors look for when evaluating applications for STEM education grants? In general, funders are looking for a demonstrated need for the funds, the expected outcomes from receiving the funds, and the feasibility of your proposed STEM program. In addition to these, some specialized grant competitions may be more focused on the geographical region, creativity or innovation, specific reporting metrics, or other individual criteria.

Who should write the grant proposal for a STEM education grant?

The best person to write the STEM grant proposal depends on the size and resources of your school or district. If you have the resources, a dedicated grant writer may be beneficial. They continuously build relationships with funders and are familiar with the detailed requirements STEM grants require.

If a grant writer is not an option, a school or district administrator, STEM director, teacher, or a cross-functional team with all of the above can help write a compelling STEM grant proposal that tells a story and paints the individual needs of your school or district.

5. Maintain Grant Compliance and Properly Manage Your STEM Grant

STEM grants require varied compliance and fiscal responsibility from each grant recipient. This helps keep organizations accountable to their funding sources, standardize grant reporting requirements, and further any internal goals the grantors might have, such as impact quantification or reporting.

Keep a dedicated team and a detailed calendar to oversee the project management of your grant to ensure that every aspect of your STEM grant stays aligned with expectations and within compliance. This might include:

  • Budget Compliance: Track and report expenses in detail with itemized reports and receipts, and follow all procurement procedures for any major purchases.
  • Reporting Requirements: Complete all progress reporting requirements like statistical data on student impact, test scores, outcomes, etc. 
  • Communication Requirements: Keep communication open about any program developments and be sure to respond to the grant manager in a timely manner.

  • Proof of Successful Completion: Upon the grant’s closeout, you will likely need to complete final financial reconciliations and reports to show the success and completion of your project.

Funding Your New STEM Curriculum

STEM grants provide a unique opportunity to bring external funding to your school or district. This can make all the difference when it comes to implementing a new STEM curriculum for your students.

With these tips on how to secure a STEM education grant for your school(s), we hope you find the funding you need! You can also learn more about our STEM Equity Grants Program to see if you qualify.

Everything You Need to Know About STEM Education Grants

Partner with Kid Spark Education for a Comprehensive STEM Program

Kid Spark Education is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to making STEM education accessible to all students. Since 2015, we’ve brought Kid Spark STEM labs to hundreds of institutions—many using won grant funds to purchase our programs. We would love to do the same for you and provide your schools with the tools you need for STEM success.

Our research-backed STEM curriculum for Pre-K through 8th grade provides an all-in-one district solution that spans grade levels and builds a solid foundation in STEM fluencies through hands-on lesson plans and activities, cumulative curricula, and NGSS-aligned STEM objectives.

To learn more about our STEM labs and see if they’re the right fit for your school, contact us today.

Topics: Elementary STEM Education, STEM Education, implementation, stem programs, resources, funding, grants, administration

Jordani Sarreal

Written By Jordani Sarreal

Would you like to receive more information about starting a Kid Spark STEM program for your students? 

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At Kid Spark Education, STEM isn't a buzzword: it's a powerful way to nurture students' natural curiosity; build confidence and skills in science, technology, engineering, and math; and foster abilities in collaboration, problem-solving, and communication. You, their teachers, are our most important partner in achieving our mission of preparing all children for a lifetime of learning about science and technology. The Kid Spark Blog is written by educators, for educators to be a resource in your toolbox so you can feel confident and capable in teaching STEM to your elementary students. 

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