Despite years of trying to level the playing field, Black college students are leaving STEM fields at higher rates than their non-Black peers. An Educational Researcher report stated that undergraduates, 40% of Black students switch out of STEM majors, compared with 29% of White students.

Despite the concerning data, one organization is dedicated to supporting Black students’ journey into STEM.

Per a news release, Future of STEM Scholars Initiative (FOSSI) announced they’ve raised more than $17 million to fund $40,000 scholarships for over 350 students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

“With an ambitious goal of funding 1000 HBCU students, FOSSI aims to have a significant and meaningful impact on the future workforce,” said FOSSI Chairman and former CEO of The Chemours Company, Mark Vergnano. “These talented scholarship recipients bring new and diverse perspectives to help innovate the solutions that will address global challenges like clean energy and climate change.”

FOSSI is a nationwide program, launched in 2020 that helps students from underserved communities pursuing (STEM) degrees with financial assistance. FOSSI has already provided 151 scholarships and are aiming to offer 144 additional scholarships. The program aims to give 1000 scholarships through 2025.

“It made a big difference, knowing I could count on that funding,” said Carlton Carter, a sophomore at Southern University and A&M College from Georgia. “Plus, the mentoring program has been very helpful. It’s given me insight into how business works and what I can expect once I finish my degree.”

The 2023 FOSSI application period will open on September 23.