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Program Synopsis: Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program Funding Opportunity (MSP)

The Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program (MSP) is designated for food and agricultural sciences baccalaureate and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) degree training to meet the increasingly advanced technological needs of the food and agricultural sciences workforce.  The program will advance the goals of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Coalition. MSP scholarships are intended to increase the number of new and outstanding students from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in the food and agricultural sciences and who pursue and complete their degrees with scientific and professional competence. 

The MSP funding opportunity provides competitive grants to eligible colleges and universities that have designed baccalaureate and D.V.M. degree training programs that will:

  • prepare graduates to meet the demand for highly qualified personnel entering the workforce in the food and agricultural sciences;

  • pipeline more undergraduates into graduate education, increasing the representation of diverse cultural groups in the fields of food and agricultural sciences, or closely allied disciplines;

  • address the substantial gap between White, Latino, African American, First American and other populations entering graduate schools to enable the US higher education system to remain internationally competitive;

  • promote students’ success in food and agricultural science disciplines at the undergraduate/D.V.M. level, and;

  • focus on student learning and outcomes, e.g., academic preparation; social support structure (tutoring, mentoring, experiential opportunities in research and study abroad); and professional mentoring to ensure matriculation and entry into graduate education or the workforce.

The program additionally provides funding through the Special Experiential Learning (SEL) opportunities. SEL opportunities further the development of student scientific and professional competencies, through experiential learning programs, that afford MSP scholars with chances to solve complex problems in the context of real-world situations.  SEL funding will support eligible MSP scholars for one- or two-year experiential learning activities that are not normally available to other students within the institution.

Student beneficiaries of the MSP program must be a Citizen or national of the United States meaning:

(1) A citizen or native resident of a State; or,

(2) A person defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act, who, though not a citizen of the United States, owes permanent allegiance to the United States under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 USC 1452(b)(2)

Where eligibility is claimed solely on the basis of permanent allegiance, documentary evidence from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as to such eligibility must be made available to NIFA upon request.

Legislative authority for this program, which began in 1994, is contained in section 1417 of the National Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (NARETPA) (99 Stat. 1548; 7 U.S.C. 3152).



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