SPARC at Gaston College

SPARC LogoThe mission of SPARC is to ignite student curiosity and to prepare future STEM professionals for success in an evolving work environment.


What is SPARC?

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If you’ve enjoyed math and science in high school and are considering a science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) major, the SPARC program at Gaston College can help put you on the path to success. SPARC students graduate from Gaston College with an Associate of Science or Associate of Engineering degree and are prepared to successfully pursue a bachelor’s degree at a four-year university. Students are part of a learning community with special scholarship opportunities and are able to work closely with faculty members and other SPARC participants. The Gaston College SPARC Scholars program is a scholarship initiative funded by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. 1742128 and 1833783 and a private donor to help offset the unmet need of Gaston College students.

SPARC Scholars benefit from:

Benefits for SPARC Scholars include: 

  • Scholarships of up to $6,000 per year that are based on financial need and academic merit. (Students who do not qualify for a scholarship are still able to participate in SPARC.) SPARC scholarships can be used to fund tuition, fees, books, and living expenses.
  • Students will have guaranteed priority enrollment in specific sections of required courses.
  • Students will be paired with a faculty mentor based on their interests. These mentors will help students engage in undergraduate research experiences, STEM competitions and service learning.
  • Students will be able to meet, network with, and interact with industry professionals.
  • Students will have expert advising to guide them for their classes and their future plans
  • Students will be able to form a bond with other scholars, which gives them a ready-made network of friends.
  • Students will participate in field trips including visits to 4-year colleges and universities.
  • Students will be eligible for continued scholarship funding after transfer.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible students must:

  • Maintain U.S. citizenship, nationality, or lawful U.S. permanent residence
  • Enroll full-time in the Associate of Science or Associate of Engineering program at Gaston College (minimum 12 credit hours)
  • Demonstrate financial need based upon federal guidelines as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Have an overall unweighted GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Meet all prerequisites for BIO 111, MAT 171, and ENG 111 by the time of enrollment

How to Apply?

  1. To begin the process, you will need to apply to the College. When you are applying please be sure to select Associate of Science or Associate of Engineering as your major.  All the information on how to apply to the college is at this site:
  2. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and have your FAFSA information sent to Gaston College.  You can start your FAFSA at this site:
  3. After applying to the College and completing your FAFSA, you can apply for scholarships here: At this site, click on the ‘sign up’ button in the upper right-hand corner to create an account. SPARC is one of the scholarships on this site. 

If you have any difficulties during the application process or in completing the scholarship application on Academic Works, please email us at

Want to Learn More?

For more information about the SPARC Program or SPARC Scholars please contact us at