Department of Defense (DoD) Cyber Scholarship Program (CySP)

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: 11:59 PM on Friday, February 14, 2020

Scholarship Program

Students selected as Cyber Scholars will receive the full cost of tuition, books (from the institution/degree specific required book list, not books which are optional for the class), required fees (including health care), and a stipend to cover room and board. The stipend levels are $25,000 for undergraduate students. Awards will be made via a grant to the university institution (i.e., UNT).

Selecting agencies will also provide sponsors who will maintain contact with the student during the scholarship period, and who will facilitate the student’s entry into internships, if applicable, and eventually into DoD employment.

The DoD estimates awarding scholarships (via grant awards) for a period of one year (beginning with the Fall 2020 semester). Returning students will be required to re-apply each year by submitting the entire student application, one copy of their official transcripts, reflecting maintenance of the required grade point average, and an endorsement/ recommendation letter from the Principal Investigator for this grant award at UNT.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify as a candidate for the Cyber Scholarship Program, you must meet all of the following requirements at the time of your application:

  1. You must be 18 years of age or older.
  2. You must be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence prior to award.
  3. You must be enrolled or accepted for full-time enrollment at UNT and, for the Fall 2020 semester, you must be an undergraduate Junior or Senior at UNT pursuing a bachelor’s degree with an expected graduation date of May 2021 or later;
  4. You must hold a minimum GPA of 3.2 as an undergraduate student.
  5. You must be pursuing a course of study in computer science, computer engineering, information technology, or related discipline, with a concentration in a cybersecurity function.

Current DoD/Federal Employees, Active Duty Military/Reserves/Guard, or students with an existing service obligation are not eligible to apply for the scholarship.

Student Obligations

Students selected to participate in the DoD CySP will be required to sign a written agreement obligating them to work for the DoD, as a civilian employee for one calendar year for each year of scholarship assistance. This agreement is provided to the selecting agency for their records to ensure compliance with the service commitment. Students will also be required to serve in internship positions, if timing permits, with the DoD organizations during the time they are receiving scholarship support until they complete the course of study provided for by the scholarship. These internships will be arranged by the DoD to occur during the summer or other breaks between school terms, as appropriate to the individual’s circumstances and the institution’s calendar. The internship does not count toward satisfying the period of obligated service incurred by accepting the CySP scholarship. Students will be required to formally accept or decline the scholarship within 15 days of notification. Non-acceptance by this date will mean the scholarship will be offered to the next available student.

Students will be required to complete a security investigation questionnaire to initiate the process for a background investigation in preparation for their internships, if applicable, and as a condition of future employment with the DoD. Drug tests or other suitability processing will occur as appropriate. Students will also be required to sign an agreement stating that they will accept assignments requiring travel or change of duty stations as interns or employees. Individuals who voluntarily terminate employment during intern appointments or before the end of the period of obligated service required by the terms of Chapter 112, title 10, United States Code, will be required to refund the United States, in whole or in part, the cost of the educational assistance provided to them. Web pages have been provided in the Application Background and Application Package for review about security clearances to assist the students in understanding these requirements before they apply.

An opportunity also exists for scholarship payback through military service. Individuals choosing to enlist or accept a commission to serve on active duty in one of the Military Services shall incur a service obligation of a minimum of 4 years on active duty in that Service upon graduation. The Military Services may establish a service obligation longer than 4 years, depending on the occupational specialty and type of enlistment or commissioning program selected.

Undergraduate scholarship recipients will be required to maintain a 3.2 out of 4.0 grade point average or the equivalent. Failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress will constitute grounds for termination of financial assistance and termination of internship and/or employment appointment. Additionally, students who fail to complete the degree program satisfactorily or to fulfill the service commitment upon graduation shall be required to reimburse the United States, in whole or in part, the cost of the financial (scholarship) assistance provided to them. UNT will be responsible for monitoring student progress and will notify the DoD CySP Program Manager should any student scholar fail to attain minimum academic standards required for continuing scholarship support.

Except for small achievement awards, not to exceed $5,500 in an academic year, a student may not accept simultaneous remuneration from another scholarship or fellowship. The DoD CySP is a first pay scholarship program.

Application Information

Create one zip file containing a completed DoD Cyber Scholarship Program New Student Application and the supplemental materials listed within the application, all in PDF format. The zip file should be named: LAST NAME_First Name_University of North Texas. Submit this zip file to Dr. Mark Thompson by 11:59 PM on February 14, 2020. Please allow sufficient time to complete the application as it is very detailed and requires a significant amount of supplemental content, including a personal statement, resume, two letters or reference, and possibly additional documentation. Pay special attention to details as student materials submitted in the wrong format, using wrong forms, or missing items will be deemed incomplete and will not be considered for an award of scholarship program selection.

Scholarships are awarded on an annual basis. Re-applications in 2021, subject to availability of funds, to complete a degree are encouraged.

Read the full solicitation for proposals specification for more details, which includes a section on Student Application Preparation Instructions. If you have any questions or for details about submitting a paper application (note that handwritten applications will not be accepted), please contact Dr. Ram Dantu or Dr. Mark Thompson.


Cybersecurity Program Designation

UNT has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) for 2017 – 2022 and Cyber Defense Research (CAE-R) for 2019 – 2024 by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.