As cyber attacks have been growing in frequency and sophistication over the last few years, so has the number of information security and assurance scholarships available to support new professionals combating them.
Information assurance plays a prominent role in managing the critical infrastructure of commerce, healthcare, banking, national security, and many other industries. There's a large demand for individuals with information security expertise to brainstorm innovative solutions that will prevent hackers from accessing and stealing information in America's computer networks. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of information security analysts will skyrocket much faster than average at 37% before 2022.
If you're interested in using your computer skills to protect critical IT systems, below we've highlighted 20 of the best scholarships available to finance your education in information security and assurance.
1. AFIT Information Assurance Scholarships
Within the Center for Cyberspace Research (CCR), the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) offers the Information Assurance Scholarships annually for up to $5,000 to deserving civilian employees and military officers who are applying for a master's or doctoral degree program at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Eligible candidates must be majoring in electrical engineering, computer engineering, or computer science with a specialization in information assurance. For consideration, individuals must already possess a bachelor's degree, maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, have earned a quantitative GRE score of 163 or above, have U.S. citizenship, and be able to hold a security clearance.
2. Cisco Systems Information Assurance Scholarship
Deadline: September 12th
As a worldwide leader in networking for the Internet, Cisco Systems has created a prestigious Information Assurance Scholarship to award $2,500 annually to deserving undergraduate and graduate college students who are making significant contributions to the information assurance field. Eligible applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2, be majoring in computer science or IT-related fields, be actively involved in extra-curricular or community activities, and exhibit financial need. Candidates must submit a completed application form with a copy of an essay or scholarly project creating Internet solutions that solve information security issues.
Cisco Systems Information Assurance Scholarship
170 West Tasman Drive
San Jose, CA 95134
3. Colonel Sully H. De Fontaine Scholarship
Deadline: July 1st
Through the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO), the Colonel Sully H. De Fontaine Scholarship is presented annually for $1,200 to one full-time student pursuing an undergraduate degree in information assurance, information security, cyber security, national intelligence, or homeland security. Qualified applicants must be AFIO members, attend an accredited four-year U.S. institution, be entering their sophomore or junior year, have strong academic merit, and plan to enter a career in America's intelligence community. Applications must include a cover letter, current resume, academic transcript, recent photograph, letter of recommendation, and proof of enrollment.
4. CyberCorps Scholarship for Service
At participating universities across the United States, the CyberCorps Scholarships for Service are funded through the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide up to $20,000 for undergraduate students, $25,000 for master's degree students, and $30,000 for doctoral students each year. Qualified candidates must be attending an approved four-year U.S. institution, maintain full-time enrollment, be within two years of graduation, have American citizenship, meet criteria for a federal security clearance, and pursue a formal degree program focused in cyber security or information assurance. In exchange for funding, recipients must work in an information assurance position at a local, state, tribal, or federal government agency.
5. ESA Youth Scholarship Program
Deadline: March 27th
Since 1996, the Electronic Security Association (ESA) has hosted an annual Youth Scholarship Program to provide $1,000, $2,500, and $7,500 awards to young students from 15 to 20 years of age who demonstrate a genuine commitment to working in the electronic safety, security, and systems industry. Applicants must be graduating from an accredited high school, be accepted for full-time enrollment at an accredited university, be the sons or daughters of active public safety employees, and be actively involved in extra-curricular activities. Recipients are selected based on their scholastic record, standardized test scores, essay responses, academic honors, extra-curricular hobbies, and future career objectives.
6. Executive Women's Forum INI Fellowship
Deadline: June 30th
At the Information Networking Institute in Carnegie Mellon University, the Executive Women's Forum offers the INI Fellowship to award full tuition scholarships to incoming female students who are seeking careers in the information security, risk management, and security industries. Qualified applicants must be admitted to an INI graduate program, carry a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25, have no outstanding employment contracts, have exceptional leadership skills, and show exemplary promise in information security. All fellows will also receive the valuable opportunity to be mentored by an EWF senior information security professional.
7. H. Peet Raap Memorial Scholarships
Deadline: May 5th
Sponsored by the New England Chapter of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), the H. Peet Raap Memorial Scholarships are granted annually to provide $2,000 to one student and $1,250 to two additional students who taking on educational endeavors in the information systems security field. Qualified candidates must be current full-time undergraduate or graduate students studying information systems, information security, computer science, or related areas at accredited colleges in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Applicants are asked to write a 1,000-word essay discussing which current events have had the greatest impact on the IT security profession.
8. Harold F. Tipton Memorial Scholarship Fund
Deadline: June 17th
In honor of the tireless efforts of the "grandfather of the CISSP," the Harold F. Tipton Memorial Scholarship Fund was established by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2 to award $5,000 to currently enrolled full-time undergraduate students who are pursuing a bachelor's degree related to information security or assurance. Eligible recipients must carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.5, have completed at least one year of college, and attend an accredited institution in the United States. Applications must include certified transcripts, a resume/CV, one academic character reference, and a personal statement of purpose in information security.
9. Information Assurance Scholarship Program
In collaboration with the Department of Defense (DoD), the National Security Agency (NSA) hosts the Information Assurance Scholarship Program (IASP) each year to provide full tuition coverage plus $17,000 to undergraduate and $22,000 to graduate students who have concentrated their studies in information assurance. Eligible candidates must be at least rising juniors, be over 18 years of age, have U.S. citizenship, be enrolled at a participating American university, and be able to obtain a security clearance. During academic breaks, all scholars will receive hands-on experience in information assurance through paid internships at selected DoD security organizations across the United States.
Information Assurance Scholarship Program
9800 Savage Road
Fort George Meade, MD 20755
10. (ISC)2 Women's Scholarship
Deadline: March 31st
With the goal of encouraging women to use their talents for making the cyber world a safer place, the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2 was founded to award up to $40,000 to three outstanding female students enrolled in an approved associate or bachelor's degree program centered on information security or assurance. Eligible applicants must have completed at least one year of undergraduate studies, attend an accredited educational institution, have U.S. citizenship, and possess a minimum overall GPA of 3.2. Candidates must submit a current resume, certified transcripts, at least one academic character reference, support from an academic supervisor, and a written personal statement.
11. ISSA Education Foundation Scholarships
Deadline: June 15th
Each year, the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) Education Foundation offers two scholarships for $2,000 apiece to active full-time undergraduate or graduate students currently enrolled in a degree program related to information security and privacy. Eligible candidates must be at least sophomores, attend an accredited U.S. institution, possess information security-related experience, carry a minimum overall GPA of 2.5, and be actively involved in community service. After submitting the application with a short biography and three letters of recommendation, finalists will be asked to participate in a 30-minute telephone interview with a member of the scholarship committee.
12. Ralph W. Shrader Diversity Scholarship
Deadline: May 1st
Through generous contributions from Avaya, the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) has created the Ralph W. Shrader Diversity Scholarship to award $2,000 to women and minority students pursuing a graduate degree in computer science, information science, information security, network security, computer engineering, strategic intelligence, or related majors. Qualified candidates must be enrolled full-time in a four-year accredited HBCU university in the United States, possess a minimum overall GPA of 3.5, and be entering their second semester. Online applications must be accompanied by a current official transcript and two endorsed letters of recommendation.
Ralph W. Shrader Diversity Scholarship
4400 Fair Lakes Court
Fairfax, VA 22033
13. SMART Scholarship for Service Program
Deadline: December 15th
In partnership with the Department of Defense (DoD), the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) has created the SMART Scholarship for Service Program to cover full tuition costs and provide a generous cash stipend to college students pursuing degrees in STEM disciplines, including information security and assurance. Qualified applicants must be U.S. citizens, be 18 years of age or older, be pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree at an accredited four-year American institution, and have a minimum overall GPA of 3.0. Recipients will participate in summer internships at select DoD laboratories nationwide and accept post-graduate employment with the federal government.
14. SourceFire Snort Scholarship
Deadline: May 16th
As a firm dedicated to intelligence cyber security technologies, SourceFire has created the Snort Scholarship to award $5,000 annually to two upper-division undergraduate and graduate students who have declared a major in information security, information assurance, information systems, computer forensics, computer science, or a closely related field. Eligible applicants must be attending an accredited university covering Snort in the computer science curriculum, already possess a high school diploma, be in good academic standing, exhibit financial need, and show a clear interest in an information security career. Two deserving individuals will be selected at random by drawing to receive tuition assistance for higher education purposes only.
15. Stokes Educational Scholarships
Deadline: November 15th
Since 1986, the National Security Agency (NSA) has offered the Stokes Educational Scholarships to provide up to $30,000 each year for graduating high school seniors planning to attend college full-time with a major in computer science, computer engineering, information security, cyber security, electrical engineering, or another computer-related field. Qualified candidates must be U.S. citizens, be able to obtain a security clearance, have earned an SAT score of 1600 or above, maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, and demonstrate leadership abilities. Recipients will work during the summers for 12 weeks at NSA to acquire real-world experience in solving national security concerns.
16. SWSIS Scholarship Program
Deadline: February 15th
Administered through the Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W), the Scholarships for Women Studying Information Security (SWSIS) program is designed to provide $5,000 to $10,000 for outstanding female students pursuing bachelor's or master's degrees related to information security. Qualified applicants must have attained at least junior-level standing, be currently enrolled in an accredited United States university, have U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, and have satisfactory academic progress. Candidates must submit a current transcript, two letters of reference, an up-to-date resume or CV, and a personal essay describing her interests in information security.
17. Symantec Software Scholarship
Intended to encourage high school students to pursue an STEM education, Symantec has established the Software Scholarship to award $10,000 annually to four college-bound students interested in earning a degree in computer science, information technology, computer engineering, information security, or a similar field. Eligible candidates must reside in Utah, have a clear interest in a software-based science career, and create a science project that involves writing computer software that effectively solves a specific security problem. For consideration, students must qualify enter their projects in one of the Utah regional science fairs.
18. U.S.A. Cyber Warrior Scholarship
Deadline: September 22nd
Also sponsored by the (ISC)2 Foundation, the U.S.A. Cyber Warrior Scholarship is available to provide $2,000 to United States military veterans who are returning to the civilian workforce and would like to transition to a career in the information security or assurance field. Qualified recipients must be honorably discharged from one of the five military branches, have worked at the IAT or IAM level, have performed certain IT-related functions in the service, submit to a background check, and indicate a passion for information security. Selected veterans will be responsible for completing education and the SSCP, CISSP, CAP, CCFP, CSSLP, or HCISPP certification within 12 months.
19. Vector Security Loss Prevention Scholarship
Deadline: March 31st
Well-known for being a premier provider of intelligent security solutions for more than 40 years, Vector Security has dedicated to provide financial support to the next generation of leading professionals by awarding the Loss Prevention Scholarship annually for up to $1,000. Eligible applicants must have three years of security-related experience, already possess at least a bachelor's degree, and plan to pursue coursework for becoming LPQualified or LPCertified. Along with the application, candidates must submit one letter of recommendation from their current supervisor, a current resume of work/education background, and a short 100-word narrative essay discussing their security career aspirations.
20. WMISACA Annual Scholarship Award
Deadline: August 15th
Annually, the Western Michigan Chapter of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (WMISACA) offers a scholarship award to grant $500 to graduating high school seniors or full-time college students who have declared a major in computer science, information security, information science, auditing, information technology, or another appropriate field. Qualified students must maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.5, be enrolling in at least 12 semester credits this upcoming fall, have ISACA membership, and write a three-page essay discussing the greatest risks in the software development cycle. Recipients are chosen based on their academic record, essay responses, career aspirations, and potential.
Earning a degree in information security or assurance is a smart start for building a rewarding technical career defending our nation's information systems from attack. However, before you can successfully become a qualified information assurance and security specialist, you'll need to pay your dues by completing at least four to six years of post-secondary education. Despite rising tuition costs, these excellent information security and assurance scholarships can significantly reduce the financial burden of your training in the latest security methods.