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NSF Press Release


NSF PR 03-21 - February 14, 2003

Media contact:

 Bill Noxon

 (703) 292-8070


Program contact:

 Ernest McDuffie

 (703) 292-4655


NSF Announces New Scholarship for Service Awards
New students will be trained as information security professionals

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced 13 new awards to higher learning institutions under its Scholarship for Service (SFS) program to increase the number of professionals nationwide trained in computer security and information assurance. The program is an outgrowth of a White House initiative to protect the nation's critical information infrastructure.

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. This effectively doubles the number of students that may be trained under SFS as information assurance professionals to meet a critical need for the government to protect the nation's information infrastructure in the public and private sectors in a post-Sept. 11 environment.

The newest awards announced today are focused primarily on scholarship activities that will prepare students with bachelors and masters degrees in these 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 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 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.

Under SFS, federal funding is awarded to colleges and universities already certified by the National Security Agency (NSA) as Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance. Scholarship awards are made to institutions that propose degree programs to train promising students as new "cyber corps" professionals. Students receive two-year undergraduate and graduate-level support for their educations, and many have opportunities to serve in government internships, as available. Graduating students are required to serve a year or two with the federal government. Once the commitment is satisfied, these professionals can make career choices allowing them to stay within the government or move to the private sector.

In addition to scholarships, NSF offers funding for capacity building projects that help universities build a solid program in information security fields to help them meet NSA certification requirements for center of excellence status.

The Bush Administration has continued an effort established by a presidential directive in 1998 to make a national priority the protection of the nation's infrastructure and communications systems. NSA is the lead agency for the government's overall effort to provide information assurance and security programs nationwide. NSF's scholarships and education capacity building initiatives fill a key requirement under the Cyber Service Training and Education Initiative within the President's National Plan for Information Systems Protection.

NSF had just recently completed a second round of SFS awards with initial 2002 funding to expand both scholarship and capacity building efforts when the supplemental appropriations measure was signed into law. NSF's initial 2002 awards, totaling $10 million, included five institutions for scholarships leading to undergraduate and graduate degrees. Another nine awards worth about $1.5 million were made to universities and colleges, and their partners, to build their infrastructures for these education programs.

In May 2001, NSF awarded its first scholarship grants to Carnegie Mellon, Iowa State and Purdue universities, as well as the universities of Idaho and Tulsa, and the Naval Postgraduate School. Subsequent capacity-building awards were issued to the University of Missouri at Rolla, the University of South Carolina at Columbia, Purdue, Indiana and Iowa State universities, the University of Pennsylvania, Towson University (Maryland), Georgia Tech, and Embry Riddle Aerospace University (Florida).

NSF also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) under which OPM manages parts of the SFS program, including internship and full-time employment opportunities for Cyber Corps students.


For more information, see:
and http://www.nsa.gov/isso/programs/nietp/colloq.htm



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