RealTime IT News

NSF Expands Cyber Corps Program

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced 13 new awards to higher learning institutions under its Scholarship for Service (SFS) program, effectively doubling the number of students that may be trained under SFS as information assurance professionals.

The SFS program, generally known as the Cyber Corps, is an outgrowth of a White House initiative to protect the nation's critical information infrastructure in a post-Sept. 11 environment. The program is designed to increase the number of professionals nationwide trained in computer security and information assurance.

NSF is an independent federal agency with about a $5 billion annual budget to support programs in scientific and engineering research, and education, from K-12 through graduate level, in mathematics, science, engineering and technology.

President Bush signed into law recently a fiscal 2002 supplemental appropriations bill, from which NSF received $19 million to nearly double its total SFS investment since the scholarship program began.

"The newest scholarship awards include four institutions not previously part of the program, including Norwich University in Vermont, Syracuse University, Idaho State University in Pocatello, and Florida State University in Tallahassee," said Ernest McDuffie, NSF's program manager for SFS. "The other nine schools were already in the program, and will be able to add about 10 students each to their efforts."

The newest awards announced today are focused primarily on scholarship activities that will prepare students with bachelors and masters degrees in critical information security fields, and raising the total number of students being trained under these scholarships to about 300.

In the first two years of the program, about 150 students were selected for training. Most of NSF's investment -- about $22 million -- was for scholarships, but a substantial portion was also used for college and university capacity-building efforts to establish their infrastructures to conduct education programs in information security.

The nine existing programs that are being expanded are at the Naval Post Graduate School in California, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Polytechnic University of New York in Brooklyn, the University of Tulsa, University of Idaho in Moscow, University of North Carolina--Charlotte, Mississippi State University, Purdue University and Georgia Tech. in Atlanta.