Three students in the Cal State San Bernardino cybersecurity program will receive full scholarships in the fall from the U.S. Department of Defense Cyber Scholarship Program (DoD CySp), which seeks to recruit the nation’s top cyber talent to help protect the nation against threats on information systems and networks.
“These scholarships are a tribute to the accomplishments and great work of our students. The DoD CySp program is one of the most competitive and prestigious in the nation, with anywhere between 50-100 yearly participants,” said Tony Coulson, director of the CSUSB Cybersecurity Center and a professor of information and decision sciences in the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration. “The three CSUSB students receiving the scholarships were chosen from a national pool similar to a National Football League draft and were among the top picks for their agencies.”
Nationally, the DoD CySp program received 571 student applications this year and made 115 new scholarship offers, of which 108 students accepted, Coulson said. There were 78 returning students for a total of 186 students this year, he said.
U.S. Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA), a longtime supporter and proponent of the CSUSB Cybersecurity program, said, “I worked to restart the DoD Cyber Scholarship program because it gives students from communities like ours the chance to excel in a field on the cutting edge of both our economy and our national security. These scholarships will allow these students to obtain long-term job security while providing a critical service to our country. I’ll continue working in Congress to ensure this program is funded and operational to allow more students from the Inland Empire and from communities like ours to have these opportunities.”
As vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee and a member of the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, Aguilar has successfully fought to fund and expand the DoD CySp program each year since its re-establishment. The OPPORTUNITY Act, Aguilar’s bill to expand the program to include more students of color, was signed into law in 2018.
The selected CSUSB students will receive the full cost of tuition as well as a monthly stipend, Coulson said. Students are also required to attend an internship with the Department of Defense during the summer, he added.
The DoD CySp program at Cal State San Bernardino started in 2016. Reemerging from its origins as the Information Assurance Scholarship Program (IASP) as the result of legislation passed by Aguilar, the DoD CySp program provides regionally and nationally accredited Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cybersecurity (CAE in Cyber Defense, CAE in Operations, and CAE in Research) the opportunity to submit proposals to develop a grant-funded scholarship program.
“The students who have graduated from the DoD CySp program are working to protect our nation. Most are first-generation college students,” Coulson said. “Restarting this program has led to record participation and is a significant effort to encourage students to work in public service, protecting our country.”
The CSUSB Cybersecurity Center also offers scholarship opportunities through the CyberCorps®: Scholarship for Service (SFS) program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The SFS program provides students full tuition, books, and a monthly stipend. Upon graduation, these students must work in federal, state, local, or tribal government for two years (or equivalent to the length of the scholarship). Scholarships range from $50,000 for undergrads and $80,000 for graduates. To date, more than 100 students have completed the program at CSUSB.
The Cal State San Bernardino Cybersecurity Center is a pioneer in cybersecurity education. In 2008, the Cybersecurity Center became a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Information Assurance by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). As a reflection of the program’s excellence, in 2014, CSUSB received a designation as a CAE in Cyber Defense Education (CDE) through 2021, recognized for the center’s specialty areas in Cyber Investigations and Network Security Administration. The center is also one of three Centers of Academic Excellence National Resource Centers (CAE CNRC) selected by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), home to the nationally acclaimed NICE Challenge Project.
For more information, visit the CSUSB Cybersecurity Center website.