Author Alleges Widespread Scam Affecting STEM Scholarship Recipients in New Book
A new book by Leon Roomberg has brought light to what the author believes to be STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) scholarship scams around the nation.
Leon Roomberg has a Master of Science degree, and Project Management and Database Administration certifications. Since 1982, he has hired and mentored STEM professionals, founded businesses, and maintained a counseling practice. It was during his son’s college tours that noticed an inconsistency in STEM programs.
Roomberg believes that some colleges awarding millions of dollars in STEM scholarships have no intention of paying the recipients. According to Roomberg, well known institutions such as Notre Dame, Purdue, University of Colorado, and Thomas Edison State University are involved in this scam.
“College recruiters have fallen into a trap where they rationalize an unethical practice because they see their competitors doing the same thing,” Roomberg said. “They are awarding millions of dollars in STEM scholarships they have no intention of ever paying. The scholarships are cancelled the moment a student has a semester with less than a 3.0 grade point average.”
In his book, Roomberg writes that “the teachers are curving the grades of the majority of STEM students well below that point. As a result, about half of all STEM students fail out of their major, and many fail out of college completely, with only debt and damaged self-esteem to show for their college experience.”
A 2013 study by the National Center for Educational Sciences did, in fact, find that nearly half of all STEM majors leave the field before earning their degree, this number remains the same among students majoring in other fields such as humanities and education. However, we could not find any evidence to support the claim that there is a concerted effort by STEM professors to curve students grades downward to avoid awarding scholarships.
Regardless of the presence of a widespread scholarship conspiracy, Roomberg got the idea of writing a book about the struggles inherent in majoring in a STEM field, and giving advice for students looking into four-year STEM scholarships. His goal is to help STEM families understand the options they have available to enable their student to graduate with with less stress and less debt.
In his book, “The STEM Student Survival Guide,” he addresses to the students, administrators and the government. The first half of the book gives examples of actions students can take to increase their odds of success studying STEM courses. In the second half, the book gives recommendations to the government and school administrators on how they can prevent this scam from happening.
According to Roomberg, there are schools that acknowledge the problem of failing students. Roomberg had mentioned at Purdue, the traditional experience was that “sixty percent of freshman engineering majors drop out or change majors.” As of 2012, Perdue has implemented many progressive teaching approaches and “increased their freshman retention rate to 87% while maintaining their [existing] standards.”
“There are trustworthy scholarships out there,” Roomberg said in advice to WCC students. “When looking at four year ask yourself these questions, is the percentage of students that fail higher than those that are failing and how come part-time students working full-time be more successful than full-time student?“
Drawing from his own experience, Roomberg believes full-time students may be more stressed than their part-time counterparts.
“I’ve noticed that full-time students in STEM programs are more likely to be stressed and have to spend at least 10 hours a week to pass with the minimum grade while part-time students can take their time with studying,” Roomberg said.
While the failure rate of STEM students is consistent with that of other majors, and there is no evidence of a widespread conspiracy regarding purposefully failing students to avoid paying them scholarships, Roomberg stands by the claims he makes in his book. Roomberg hopes that his book will help students who have already failed out of their major, and take the roadmap back to the success in the program and career of their choosing.