FIRST Announces Scholarship Program Milestone: $25 Million Available to High-School Students

Nearly 200 Providers Offer College Scholarship Opportunities to FIRST Alumni

MANCHESTER, N.H., October 29, 2015 FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an international, K-12 not-for-profit organization founded to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, today announced a milestone in its 20 year old Scholarship Program:  In 2016 – $25 million – in college scholarship opportunities will be made available by nearly 200 Providers to FIRST Alumni.

The FIRST Scholarship Program connects FIRST® Tech Challenge and FIRST® Robotics Competition participants with colleges, universities, corporations, and associations making available hundreds of scholarship opportunities exclusively set aside for FIRST participants.

“This is a significant milestone for the FIRST Scholarship program,” said FIRST President Donald E. Bossi. “Our mission is to inspire young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). We are able to do this by offering students a hands-on learning experience and exclusive access to $25 million in scholarship opportunities. With the generous support of our nearly 200 Scholarship Providers, we are excited to help FIRST students pursue the next steps toward becoming leaders in their fields.”

One such Provider, Kettering University, continues to grow its support in developing these future leaders.  The University offers up to 25 $5,000 scholarships to FIRST participants.  Last year, it expanded its support of FIRST by opening the FIRST Robotics Community Center at Kettering.

“In the one year Kettering University’s FIRST Robotics Community Center – the only facility of its kind on a college campus in the country – has been open, it has already had a profound and dramatic impact on students in our community and beyond,” said Kettering University President Dr. Robert K. McMahan. “This is just the beginning; we are going to continue to expand our programming aimed at exciting young people about the possibilities of a STEM education and career. The FIRST Center has truly made Flint, Michigan and Kettering University a national hub for robotics.” 

In addition to representing 22 percent of incoming freshman at Kettering University this year, FIRST Alumni make up 30 percent of the incoming freshman class at Capitol Technology Institute; 13.4 percent of the incoming freshman class at Worcester Polytechnic Institute; 10 percent of the incoming freshman class at Milwaukee School of Engineering; and ~10 percent of the incoming freshman class at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

New to the Scholarship Program this year is the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The school is making available up to four non-renewable $2,000 scholarships for engineering majors from FIRST teams. In 2015, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was ranked No.5 in the U.S. News & World Report Best Undergraduate Engineering Program rankings.

FIRST Scholarship Program opportunities are available to high-school students in the following programs:

  • FIRST Tech Challenge is designed for students in grades 7-12 (ages 12-18) to compete head to head, using a sports model. Teams are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams.
  • Dubbed a varsity Sport for the Mind™, FIRST Robotics Competition combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Teams of 10 or more high school students in grades 9-12 (ages 14-18) are given six weeks to build and program a robot to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. 

For more information about the FIRST Scholarship Program, visit

Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $25 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST®Robotics Competition for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST®Tech Challenge for Grades 7-12; FIRST®LEGO® League for Grades 4-8; and Junior FIRST®LEGO® League for Grades K-3. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to

Media Contacts:

Brooke Blew