NSF funds infosec scholarships

The National Science Foundation on Tuesday announced it has awarded $8.6 million in scholarship money to six schools in the first round of its Scholarship for Service program.

The program provides scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students who agree to study information security and information assurance in exchange for two years of related government service. The students also will receive a paid summer internship at a federal agency.

The six schools that received the money will award the scholarships to students. The schools are:

* Carnegie Mellon University.

* Iowa State University.

* Naval Postgraduate School.

* Purdue University.

* University of Idaho.

* University of Tulsa.

These institutions are among 23 Centers of Excellence in Information Assurance and Security Education, a designation bestowed by the National Security Agency.

NSF, which manages the scholarship program, plans to announce shortly an additional $1.6 million in awards that will go toward developing faculty instruction in information assurance and security. Some of that money will also go toward helping schools that are not certified as centers of excellence, but want to develop their own information security programs.

Rita Colwell, NSF director, said there is a vital and growing need for information security professionals, particularly since "the pace of change is unlikely" to slow down. Colwell was speaking Tuesday at the Fifth Annual National Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education.

The scholarships will encourage young people to enter the information assurance and information security field "and give them the opportunity to put their talents to work at the front lines of government cybersecurity efforts," Colwell said. "We need more of our nation's most promising minds focused on the growing cyberthreat to national security."

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