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NSF Awards $29M Scholarships to Boost Govts’ Cyber Workforces

The National Science Foundation added eight universities to its CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program and will award $29 million of scholarships to students who agree to work in government cybersecurity post-graduation.

cyber student
The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently announced new scholarship grants for university students who agree to work in cybersecurity for state, local, federal or tribal government post-graduation.

The news comes at a time when the public sector has been struggling to recruit enough cyber talent and is competing against the private sector for workers with these skill sets.

NSF will award more than $29 million of scholarships over the next five years to eight universities, as part of its CyberCorps Scholarship for Service grant program. The monies cover full scholarships and stipends, per the announcement.

Those scholarship funds will support attendance at eight universities that NSF is adding to its CyberCorps roster, which already includes 82 other universities.

NSF selected the new grantee institutions based on the strengths of their cybersecurity programs, their connection with the local colleges and communities, and the diversity of their student membership. They are:

  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Fordham University
  • Georgia State University
  • Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis
  • Oakland University
  • State University of New York at Binghamton
  • University of Memphis
  • University of Nevada, Reno

The universities’ programs tackle areas like artificial intelligence, aviation cybersecurity and “next-generation cybersecurity engineering,” per the announcement.

Scholarships are intended to support initiatives for recruiting and retaining students who are traditionally underrepresented in cybersecurity, including first-generation and low-income college students, students with disabilities, women, racial minorities and veterans.

Students accepting the scholarships must agree to work in a cybersecurity role for government organizations “for a period equal to the length of the scholarship,” per NSF.

The Scholarship for Service grant program aims to not only reduce cyber talent shortages in the public sector but also increase the nation’s cyber education and research and development capabilities and “strengthen partnerships between institutions of higher education and relevant employment sectors.”

“The cybersecurity talent shortage remains a critical issue in the United States, with businesses and government agencies alike struggling to fill critical cybersecurity positions,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan in a published statement. “These new CyberCorps Scholarship for Service projects engage diverse student populations and provide innovative and high-quality educational experiences that will ensure our nation is prepared to meet future cyber threats with a well-trained workforce.”