Cyberspace has transformed the daily lives of people. Society's overwhelming reliance on cyberspace, however, has exposed the system's fragility and vulnerabilities: corporations, agencies, national infrastructure, and individuals continue to suffer cyber-attacks. Achieving a truly secure cyberspace requires addressing both challenging scientific and engineering problems involving many components of a system, and vulnerabilities that stem from human behaviors and choices. Examining the fundamentals of security and privacy as a multidisciplinary subject can lead to fundamentally new ways to design, build, and operate cyber systems, protect existing infrastructure, and motivate individuals to learn about cybersecurity. The Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014, as amended by the National Defense Authorization Acts for 2018 and 2021, and the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, authorizes the National Science Foundation (NSF), in coordination with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to offer a scholarship program to recruit and train the next generation of cybersecurity professionals to meet the needs of the cybersecurity mission of federal, state, local, and tribal governments. The goals of the CyberCorps® Scholarship for Service (SFS) program are aligned with the U.S. strategy to develop a superior cybersecurity workforce. The program goals are to: (1) increase the number of qualified and diverse cybersecurity candidates for government cybersecurity positions; (2) improve the national capacity for the education of cybersecurity professionals and research and development workforce; (3) hire, monitor, and retain high-quality CyberCorps® graduates in the cybersecurity mission of the Federal Government; and (4) strengthen partnerships between institutions of higher education and federal, state, local, and tribal governments. While all three agencies work together on all four goals, NSF’s strength is in the first two goals; OPM’s in goal (3); and DHS in goal (4).
The SFS Program welcomes proposals to establish or to continue scholarship programs in cybersecurity. A proposing institution must provide clearly documented evidence of a strong existing academic program in cybersecurity. In addition to information provided in the proposal narrative, such evidence can include ABET accreditation in cybersecurity; a designation by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE), in Cyber Operations (CAE-CO) or in Research (CAE-R); or equivalent evidence documenting a strong program in cybersecurity.
Service Obligation: All scholarship recipients must work after graduation in the cybersecurity mission of a federal, state, local, or tribal government organization, or certain other qualifying entities, for a period equal to at least the length of the scholarship.
The SFS Program also supports efforts leading to an increase in the ability of the United States higher education enterprise to produce cybersecurity professionals. Funding opportunities in this area are provided via the Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace - Education Designation (SaTC-EDU) and other programs (see the section "Increasing National Capacity in Cybersecurity Education" for more details.)