Apply

The application period for the 2024 Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program has closed. The application period for 2025 will open by the end of October 2024.

In order to have a competitive application for the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program, it is recommended that you review the following bullets to assess whether or not you should apply for this scholarship.

  1. Your research proposal aligns closely with NOAA's mission, with particular emphasis on meeting the science priorities of the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. This is worth up to 30 points of your application score.
  2. Your financial need statement documents a strong financial need due to challenges, hardships, or other information through a compelling personal narrative. This is worth up to 25 points of your application score.
  3. You have exceptional letters of recommendation. This is worth up to 10 points of your application score.
  4. Historically, proposals that do not support the science or education priorities of NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary System do not rank as high.
  5. If you are in the last year of your Masters or Ph.D. program, it is not advised to apply for this scholarship.

Application Process

Each year a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) is published in the Federal Register announcing the federal funding opportunity for the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program. Please be advised that the NOFO is the official document for the scholarship opportunity and it is highly recommended that you download it as your guide for applying for the scholarship.

We encourage all Grants.gov applicants to begin the application process at least several days before the application deadline. All applicants should be aware that adequate time must be factored into applicant schedules for delivery of the application. It may take Grants.gov up to two (2) business days to validate or reject the application. Please keep this in mind in developing your submission timeline. Electronic applicants are advised that volume on Grants.gov can be extremely heavy resulting in further delays.

You will receive an official notice from Grants.gov if you have uploaded your application correctly. It is not the responsibility of the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries to verify receipt of any application.

Paper applications are only allowable for the following reasons: 1) Grants.gov is unable to accept applications electronically in a timely fashion; 2) if the applicant does not have access to the internet; or 3) if the person providing the letter of recommendation does not wish for the applicant to see the contents of the letter. Otherwise, all applications must be submitted via Grants.gov. Paper applications and other information in hard copy may be requested from:

NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
Attn: Seaberry Nachbar
99 Pacific Street
Monterey, CA 93940


Application Package

Each application package must be included within the single Adobe PDF document in the correct order as outlined in the official Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). Failure to submit any items as described in the NOFO will disqualify the application from consideration. All detailed information is included in the NOFO, yet a summary of what is required to be considered a complete application package is briefly listed below. The NOFO contains the official instructions for applying to the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program.

  1. Standard Form 424 (SF-424), Application for Federal Assistance is located on the Grants.gov portal and must be completed with information pertinent to the applicant. View the detailed directions here to complete SF-424.
  2. Table of Contents
  3. General Information Sheet
    1. Personal Data
    2. Optional Personal Data
    3. Degree Sought
    4. Education
    5. Academic Honors
    6. Relevant Work Experience
    7. Knowledge of Scholarship
  4. Statement of Intent
    1. Academic, Research, Career Goals and Aspirations
    2. Communicating the Importance of Your Research
    3. Optional Outreach Letter of Support
  5. Transcripts
  6. Enrollment Verification or List of Graduate Schools Applied
  7. Research Proposal
  8. Two Letters of Recommendation
  9. Statement of Financial Need
    1. Department of Education's Expected Family Contribution (EFC) Determination
    2. Yearly Tuition Documentation
    3. Financial Need Information Questions
    4. Statement of Need Essay
  10. Declaration Statement

Submission Deadline

The application period for the 2024 Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program is now open. Complete applications are due on December 20, 2023 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time. View the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) announcement for more details.

The Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program is administered through the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and subject to appropriations. It is funded annually with 1% of the amount appropriated each fiscal year to the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries to carry out the National Marine Sanctuaries Act.

October 20, 2023 - FY2023 Application Period Opens
December 20, 2023 - FY2023 Application Period Closes
May 24, 2024 - Scholarships Announced
August 1, 2024 Scholarship Funds Available
August 25-30, 2024 - Dr. Nancy Foster Scholars Orientation Retreat
October 2024 - FY2025 Application Period Opens
December 2024 - FY2025 Application Period Closes

Paper applications are only allowable for the following reasons: 1) Grants.gov is unable to accept applications electronically in a timely fashion; 2) if the applicant does not have access to the internet; or 3) if the person providing the letter of recommendation does not wish for the applicant to see the contents of the letter. Otherwise, all applications must be submitted via Grants.gov. If you meet one of exceptions, paper applications can be sent by the deadline listed above to the address below:

NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Attn: Seaberry Nachbar
99 Pacific Street
Monterey, CA 93940

Checklist

The checklist below is provided to assist applicants in completing the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program application. Note that the annual Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) announcement provides the most up-to-date and accurate information that is required. This is a snapshot of the requirements.

___ Completed Standard Form 424 (SF-424) that will be uploaded as a separate document into Grants.gov.

NOTE: Item number 21 on the SF-424 cannot be used as a replacement for the declaration statement required in Item 10 below. The SF-424 must be uploaded to Grants.gov separately than the items outlined below.

___ Table of Contents on a single page, please list the items and page numbers of the required information. Page numbers are not required for pre-existing PDF documents, such as transcripts or PDF letters of recommendation, but should still contribute to the page count. If the sealed letters are in envelopes, the table of contents should reference them as attachments.

___ General Information Sheet that does not exceed two typewritten, single-spaced pages with Times New Roman 12-pt font and a 1” margin.

___ Statement of Intent that does not exceed one typewritten single-spaced page with Times New Roman 12-pt font and a 1” margin.

___ Optional Outreach Letter of Support To strengthen this section of your application, please provide one letter of support from a community organization or group with which you would partner or collaborate to communicate your research.

___ Transcripts for all complete years of academic training (both undergraduate and graduate), including courses in which you are currently enrolled.

___ Enrollment Verification For current graduate students, transcripts showing courses in which you are currently enrolled can be used as enrollment verification. Enrollment verification must include the name of school and applicant. If an applicant is not currently enrolled, but is applying to graduate schools, they must submit a "List of Graduate Schools Applied to" including the month and year graduate studies will begin, and any acceptance letters received at the time of application, with their application.

___ Research Proposal must be typewritten, single-spaced with Times New Roman 12-pt font and a 1” margin that must not exceed three (3) pages, including figures and other visuals, but excluding references. Do not include a cover page for your research proposal. Be sure to explain how your research supports NOAA's mission, particularly that of the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the science or education needs of one or more national marine sanctuaries.

___ Two Letters of Recommendation Each application must include only two (2) letters of recommendation with handwritten or electronically created signatures on the actual letter from individuals who have knowledge of your academic record, research effort, and work and/or life experience. It is recommended that each letter is no more than two (2) pages long. Letters of recommendation do not need to include headers. The letter of recommendation may not be from more than one individual, meaning the letter cannot be signed by more than one person. It is recommended that one of these letters be from someone in your current academic career. If you are currently not enrolled, consider submitting one (1) letter from a professor who can provide knowledge of your academic career.

___ Student Aid Report (SAR) that contains the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and your name or last four digits of your social security number.

___ Documentation of Estimated Yearly Tuition for each school you are applying to. Tuition should not include room, board, and other miscellaneous fees.

___ Responses to the Financial Need Information Questions that doesn’t exceed one typewritten, single-spaced page.

___ Provide an Estimated Financial Need (EFN) for each school to which you are applying. Your EFN can be determined by performing the following calculation: (Estimated Tuition per academic year) - (Expected Family Contribution [this is a monetary value]) = Estimated Financial Need (EFN).

___ Statement of Financial Need In one (1) page, provide a personal narrative of your financial need, personal hardship(s), and, if necessary, include further clarification for the answers to the Financial Need Information Questions section. This is your personal story and your opportunity to give insight into your financial status, including any challenges, hardships, or information that may not be evident in the statements above.

___ Sign and submit the Declaration Statement that certifies that all statements and information in your application are true and correct

___ I have provided accurate Contact Information, such as a telephone number, email address and permanent mailing address at which I may be reached during the summer.

___ All documents have been submitted to Grants.gov in a single Adobe PDF file in the specific order outlined in the official NOFO, excluding the SF-424, which can be uploaded as a separate attachment.