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Idaho State News

Cybersecurity Scholarships Benefit U of I Students Locking in Positions with Federal Agencies

Alexiss Turner, Marketing & Communications Manager | University of Idaho

MOSCOW, Idaho — Feb. 6, 2023 — All 10 University of Idaho College of Engineering students in a federal cybersecurity scholarship program are headed to top jobs after graduating with more than $900,000 in scholarships aimed at supporting one of Idaho’s fastest-growing industry needs.


U of I tuition and degree-related financial support is provided through the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Cybercorps: Scholarship for Service Program (SFS).

Scholarships of $70,000 for graduate students and $40,000 for undergraduates are awarded annually through the SFS program. U of I has secured more than $20 million in funding and graduated more than 110 students through the program since 2001. The most recent cohort, consisting of four women and six men, had a 100% job placement rate. Ninety-five percent of graduates in the past four years are working in cybsersecurity.

“The SFS program is one important part of U of I’s ongoing role in meeting Idaho’s and the nation’s critical need for cybersecurity professionals,” said Terence Soule, professor and chair of U of I’s Department of Computer Science. “U of I was one of the nation’s first institutions to recognize this need, offering our first course in cybersecurity 30 years ago.”

Upon graduation, students will go on to professional cybersecurity positions in government, including the U.S. Department of Defense.

U of I launched Idaho’s first cybersecurity bachelor’s degree program in 2020, adding to existing comprehensive computer science degree programs emphasizing cyber defense. U of I was one of the first Northwest universities to start a cybersecurity master’s program and is on track to launch its doctoral program. Students train alongside 15 nationally and internationally recognized U of I faculty with expertise in power engineering, information assurance, industrial control systems and transportation. Students are assigned to faculty-led research investigating cybersecurity and cyber defense issues. These positions require security clearance and maintaining student anonymity. 

As one of the National Security Agency’s first of seven National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense, U of I has led advanced cybersecurity education and research for three decades. The designation assures students receive academic instruction to produce the qualified workforce that the nation needs.

The Idaho State Board of Education in 1999 approved U of I’s Center for Secure and Dependable Systems (CSDS) as a research entity within U of I’s College of Engineering. CSDS was also recently named academic support center lead for the newly launched Department of Defense University Consortium for Cybersecurity (UC2), representing community colleges and universities nationwide. Congressionally mandated by the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, the UC2 exists to facilitate two-way communication between the U.S. Secretary of Defense and academia across the U.S. to expand opportunities for students and faculty, creating a fast track for jobs and security clearances in the federal government.


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