The National Science Foundation (NSF) has selected nine universities to receive more than $29 million in total funding as part of its CyberCorps® Scholarship for Service program, a major agency initiative to strengthen the security of America’s cyber space.
The CyberCorps® SFS program aims to boost the number of well-trained cybersecurity professionals for careers in the public sector, particularly in government agencies and organizations. The nine new awardees join 89 academic institutions that are already part of the CyberCorps® SFS program, which now extends across 39 states.
“Cybersecurity is one of the most important issues confronting society in the information age,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan, in a news release. “As our reliance on the national cyberspace evolves, so does the complexity of the cyber threats we face. It is imperative that we support the development of a strong cybersecurity workforce to ensure we can all benefit from secure and trustworthy cyberspace.”
The five-year grants range from $2 million to $4.8 million apiece. They provide scholarship funding for undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in an academic program in cybersecurity that’s accredited or been designated by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education, in Cyber Operations, or in Research.
SFS Scholarships support students for up to three years of study in the field of cybersecurity. The stipends are $25,000 per year for undergraduate students and $34,000 per year for graduate students. In addition, the scholarships cover tuition and other educational fees; and they include a professional allowance of $6,000 per academic year for travel, conferences, research materials and supplies, a laptop, books, professional training and certifications.
Following graduation, scholarship recipients are required to work in cybersecurity for a federal, state, local, or tribal government organization for the same duration as their scholarship support.
According to NSF, since the beginning of CyberCorps® SFS over 20 years ago, more than 4,220 students have graduated from the program and have gone on to become experts in cybersecurity.
The new group of awardees will focus their training on various topics, including interdisciplinary cybersecurity, ethics and strategy, developing the cybersecurity workforce of tomorrow, and emerging specialities like artificial intelligence and next generation wireless.
The new institutions and their projects are:
- CyberCorps Scholarship for Service: Cybersecurity Talent Development in Kentucky, University of Louisville
- CyberCorps Scholarship for Service: Excellence, Ethics, and Strategic Thinking, Robert Morris University
- CyberCorps Scholarship for Service: Interdisciplinary Cybersecurity and Cyber Forensics, Sam Houston State University
- CyberCorps Scholarship for Service: Accelerating Cybersecurity Education, Scholarship and Service, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
- CyberCorps Scholarship for Service: Expanding the Cybersecurity Workforce and Curriculum Assessment Methods in the State of Wisconsin, Marquette University
- CyberCorps Scholarship for Service: Cybersecurity Research and Education for Service in Government, University of South Florida
- CyberCorps Scholarship for Service: Graduating Workforce-Ready Cybersecurity Professionals, Wichita State University
- CyberCorps Scholarship for Service: The Bulldog Cyber Scholarship, Bowie State University
- CyberCorps Scholarship for Service: A Clinical Rotation Approach to Professional Cybersecurity Workforce Development, Oregon State University.
The NSF grants come at a time when there’s a global shortage of 3.4 million workers in the field of cybersecurity, according to 2022 Cybersecurity Workforce Study by (ISC)2 a leading organization of cybersecurity professionals. In the U.S., it’s estimated there are more than 700,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs. And the demand is only likely to grow, as the number, sophistication and severity of cybersecurity threats continue to increase across all business sectors.