Call for Letters of Inquiry: Creating Equitable Pathways to STEM Graduate Education

Grants up to $500,000 will be awarded to U.S. higher education institutions and organizations developing equitable pathways to STEM graduate education

Submission Deadline

July 1, 2024, 5:00PM EDT

Informational Webinars

April 18, 12:00-1:00PM EDT - Register here

May 9, 3:00-4:00PM EDT - Register here


The Higher Education Program at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is pleased to announce its third Call for Letters of Inquiry for the Creating Equitable Pathways to STEM Graduate Education initiative, continuing its investment in Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and in the establishment of partnerships between MSIs and graduate programs nationwide.

Grantees awarded via this initiative will engage the expertise of MSIs—and the unique experiences of their faculty and students—to model effective systems and practices that remove barriers and create opportunities for equitable learning environments in STEM graduate education so all students can thrive. Grant awards will support sharing MSIs’ institutional know-how on equitable undergraduate and graduate education, as well as modeling that know-how to create systemic changes that enhance pathways from MSIs to master’s and doctoral degree programs in astronomy, biology, chemistry, computer science, data science, Earth sciences, economics, engineering, marine science, mathematics, physics, and statistics at partner institutions.

Three types of grants will be funded:

  1. Planning grants to support two or more institutions to conduct internal reviews of existing barriers to student success and for analysis and planning for a future partnership(s) (up to $75,000 for up to 1 year)
  2. Seed grants to two or more institutions that seek to formalize an existing partnership(s) and launch one or more pilot initiatives (up to $250,000 over 1-2 years)
  3. Implementation grants to two or more institutions that allow for the augmentation or scaling of existing partnerships/collaborations (up to $500,000 over 2-3 years)

In addition to establishing seamless pathways, successful projects will address policies, processes, and practices that reinforce existing systems that are barriers to student access and success in graduate education. These projects could include efforts to examine or redesign graduate recruitment, admission policies and processes, mentoring practices, departmental climate, or other gatekeeping (or gateway) structures to and through STEM graduate education.

Since the barriers to equitable pathways do not end once students are admitted to graduate programs, Sloan is looking for evidence that projects will promote and enhance existing efforts to reduce and eliminate policies, procedures, and institutional climates and cultures that prevent students from successfully attaining a graduate degree.


Proposals should be submitted electronically via no later than July 1, 2024 by 5:00PM EDT.

The Call

Full information about the Call for LOIs, including eligibility criteria, example project activities and partnerships structures, and components of a completed submission packet, are available via pdf here.


Questions about this Call may be emailed to [email protected] with the subject line, "Equitable Pathways."

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