Department of Defense Cyber Scholarship Program

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott’s Cyber Intelligence and Security (CIS) Department is now accepting applications for the 2020-2021 Department of Defense (DoD) Cyber Scholarship Program (CySP).

Application Deadline: Friday, February 14, 2020 - 5:00 PM (Arizona Time)

Overview

The DoD CySP program is authorized by Chapter 112 of title 10, United States Code, Section 2200. The purpose of the program is to support the recruitment of new cyber talent and the retention of current highly skilled professionals within the cyber workforce to help secure the US against the threats of information systems and networks. Hence, the DoD CySP program is best suited for students who want to enter the cybersecurity field where they can work on circumventing national-level threats. This opportunity to work on real-world problems and gain experience can greatly accelerate your career and help you to succeed in the field.

The DoD estimates awarding scholarships via grant awards for a period of one year, beginning with the Fall 2020 semester, to DHS and NSA designated National Centers of Academic Excellence for Cyber Defense Education, Cyber Defense Research, and Cyber Operations (CAE-Cs). Awards will be made via a grant to the CAE (ERAU-Prescott). Selecting agencies will also provide sponsors who will maintain contact with the student during the scholarship period, and who will facilitate the student’s entry into internships, if applicable, and eventually into DoD employment.

Benefits

Students selected as Cybersecurity Scholars by the DoD CySP program will receive a full-ride scholarship for the 2020-2021 academic year that covers the following:

  • Full cost of tuition and books (only the required textbooks)
  • Required fees (including healthcare)
  • A laptop, if funding allows, which the student can keep after the scholarship period has ended (limited to $1500)
  • Undergraduate: $25,000 stipend to cover room/board and other living expenses
  • Graduate: $30,000 stipend to cover room/board and other living expenses
  • Internship opportunities and guaranteed employment with a DoD agency upon graduation (contingent of eligibility to obtain a clearance)
  • Begin security clearance processing while being a student
  • Collaboration with the best in cyber security

Other benefits include:

  • Scholarship recipients who successfully complete the terms of an initial one- or two- year scholarship (for example, complete an undergraduate degree), may apply for a second scholarship of up to three years for completing an advanced degree, if the sponsoring agency agrees.
  • When funding allows, students may be provided funding to attend one US-based cybersecurity related conference. No foreign travel authorized.

Eligibility Requirements

You must be/have:

  • US citizenship
  • Desire to work in cybersecurity and national security
  • Full-time undergraduate or graduate student at ERAU-Prescott within two years of graduation, pursuing a course of study and/or have a declared major in one of the scientific, technical, or managerial disciplines related to cyber or with a concentration in cybersecurity. Eligible programs at ERAU-Prescott is provided in the next section.
    • Note: you may be only accepted for enrollment as a full-time student in the eligible programs at ERAU-Prescott for the 2020-2021 academic year.
  • Graduating in May 2021, or before May 2022.
  • A cumulative GPA of at least 3.2 (for undergrads) and 3.5 (for grads)
  • 18 years of age or older at the time of application
  • Ability to obtain a security clearance
    • Failure to be able to obtain a security clearance is grounds for dismissal from the DoD CySP. You must be able to obtain the required security clearance for the position selected. Before you may be awarded a scholarship or hired by DoD, you will be required to complete certain forms to initiate the security clearance process. Some of these forms will require that you reveal extensive information about your background, such as potentially sensitive information about your financial circumstances and any arrests and/or convictions for offenses of any kind. You must agree to all of these conditions of employment and you must complete these forms as a condition of financial assistance and appointment.
    • Note, if family members are not U.S. Citizens, some DoD Agencies may be unable to process the applicant (student) to the security clearance level required. Every effort will be made by the DoD to assign eligible students at an Agency without such restrictions.
  • Not currently employed full-time by the DoD or a federal agency. Also, students who are currently receiving funds from another scholarship program or who have a service obligation upon graduation are not eligible to apply for the DoD CySP.

Eligible Programs at ERAU Prescott

How to Apply

Applications that do not follow the format below will not be accepted.

You must compile all the required documents, in the order indicated below into a single PDF file titled YourLASTNAME_YourFirstName_Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Prescott.PDF (e.g., DOE_JANE_ Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Prescott.PDF).

  1. The completed DoD CySP New Student Application. This 10-page form must be filled out and signed electronically. NOTE: Hand-written applications will NOT be accepted.
  2. Official Transcripts (scanned from an official hardcopy) from all colleges and universities attended
  3. Resume (2 pages), including:
    1. Education: degrees, institution, location, date of graduation (or expected date of graduation); major/minor fields; GPA.
    2. Experience: jobs, internships, and/or volunteer work. Include the name of company, position, and dates employed. List at least three important tasks, accomplishments, or skills gained at each job. Also, identify any clearance level held. It is important that you identify the number of hours per week you worked.
    3. Skills: include computer systems; programs which you are proficient. Include foreign languages. List any other skills, certifications, and/or clearance levels you may hold.
  4. Separate sheet highlighting recognitions, honors, and awards (see instructions on page 5 of the DoD CySP New Student Application).
  5. Two Letters of Reference from persons knowledgeable of your potential for successful learning, as well as your knowledge and ability. At least one of these letters must be from a current faculty member (or a most current faculty member), and the second letter may be from either a current or former faculty member, or a current or former employer. See page 5 of the DoD CySP New Student Application for instructions about the content of Letters of Reference.
  6. Competency Statement (see instructions on page 6 of the DoD CySP New Student Application).

Submitting Your Application

Application Deadline: Friday, February 14, 2020 - 5:00 PM (Arizona Time)

To submit an application, you should email the soft copy, i.e., your single PDF file, to prcyberd@erau.edu with a subject line of ‘Completed DOD CySP Scholarship Application’.

In addition to the above electronic document, you must physically deliver a hard copy of the application in a sealed envelope to CSI Deans Suite (Building 17 on ERAU-Prescott campus), before the above application deadline. This package should include the official (sealed) copy of your transcripts.

If you’re not yet on campus, please mail your hardcopy package, addressing it to:

Dr. Krishna Sampigethaya
College of Security and Intelligence
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
3700 Willow Creek Rd.
Prescott, AZ 86301

Please make sure your package is postmarked no later than Feb. 14, 2020.

Assessment

All applications will be evaluated in the following stages:

  • Verification – Upon receipt of an application, the CAE Principal Investigator will review it for completeness and to ensure that the applicant meets the minimum requirements for the program. Applications not meeting the minimum requirements will automatically receive a final ranking of “Not Recommended” for the CySP.
  • Ranking – After the application deadline, the Principal Investigator and the CAE faculty/staff will objectively rate the applicants as “Not Recommended”, “Recommended”, or “Highly Recommended” based on the selection criteria, described in the next section.

    • Note: This ranking is carried out in accordance with the CySP requirements for “Academic Sufficiency” and “Knowledge and Ability” determination procedures listed in the CySP Attachment C.
  • The final applicant list, including the applicants’ respective rankings, will then be sent to the Department of Defense, which will then select the scholarship recipients.

Selection Criteria

The criteria used to classify and rank applicants are:

  • Cumulative and major undergraduate or graduate GPA
  • Academic record
  • Two Letters of Reference
  • Demonstrated leadership, participation in team activities, prior social service, and/or evidence of creative and independent thinking and/or acting
  • Knowledge of the techniques of the information technology and/or information security (assurance) discipline, including encryption, access control, physical security, training, threat analysis, and authentication
  • Knowledge of the human factors in the information technology and/or information security (assurance), including human computer interaction, design, training, sabotage, human error prevention and identification, personal use policies, and monitoring
  • Ability to identify and analyze problems, distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information to make logical decisions, and provide solutions to individual and organizational problems
  • Ability to consider and respond appropriately to the needs, feelings, and capabilities of different people in different situations; is tactful, compassionate and sensitive, and treats others with respect
  • Ability to make clear and convincing oral presentations to individuals or groups; listens effectively and clarifies information as needed, facilitates an open exchange of ideas and fosters an atmosphere of open communication
  • Ability to express facts and ideas in writing in a clear, convincing and organized manner appropriate to the audience and occasion

Announcement of Scholarship Recipients

Scholarship notifications for students are expected to be announced around May 15, 2020. Scholarships are awarded for a period of one academic year (2020-2021), with awards expected to be made by August 1, 2020.

Scholarship Restrictions

  • Submission of a DoD CySP application does not guarantee selection as a Cyber Scholar.
  • Students selected to participate in the DoD CySP will be required to sign a written agreement obligating them to work for the DoD, as a civilian employee, for one calendar year for each year of scholarship assistance. If selected, you will also be required to serve in a paid internship position, if timing permits, with the DoD organizations during the time you are receiving scholarship support until you have completed the course of study provided for by the scholarship.
  • Applicants must be able to obtain a security clearance necessary for employment at a DoD agency upon graduation (clearance is not required at the time of application to the DoD CySP).
  • Except for small achievement awards, not to exceed $5,500 in an academic year, a student may not accept simultaneous remuneration from another scholarship or fellowship. The DoD CySP is a first pay scholarship program. However, students should not stop, interfere with, or otherwise delay the application or acceptance of other forms of financial aid until notified that he/she has been selected as a Cyber Scholar.
  • Scholarship recipients will be required to maintain a GPA of 3.2 (for undergrads) and 3.5 (for grads). Failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress will constitute grounds for termination of financial assistance and termination of internship and/or employment appointment. Additionally, students who fail to complete the degree program satisfactorily or to fulfill the service commitment upon graduation shall be required to reimburse the United States, in whole or in part, the cost of the financial (scholarship) assistance provided to them.
  • Additional years of scholarship awards are dependent upon satisfactory academic progress, internship performance, if applicable, and the availability of funds.

Questions

For more information and/ or questions, please contact the CAE Principal Investigator, Dr. Krishna Sampigethaya at sampiger@erau.edu.