Carolinas Cyber Defender Scholarship

What the Federal Cyber Service Scholarship for Service Program Offers

Through the Federal Cyber Corps Scholarship for Service (SFS) program, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte will provide grants to students studying in the field of information assurance (IA).

Each scholarship recipient will complete either a Bachelor's degree in Software and Information Systems or Computer Science, or a Master's degree in either Information Technology or Computer Science. In addition Ph.D. degree in Computing and Information Systems will also be considered. Each scholarship student must be able to complete his or her academic program within a maximum of two years (for Ph.D. students, the degree must completed in three years).  Rising juniors and seniors are eligible either as undergraduates or through the early entry accelerated track for the MS degree. 

All participants will be fully integrated into the department's research programs and become affiliated with an on-going research project. 

In addition to their degrees, graduate students will complete a Graduate Certificate in Information Security and Privacy at UNC Charlotte. There will be additional activities that are created especially for the SFS students.

Scholarship Benefits

Each student in the program will be supported for up to two or three years depending on the program pursued. The specific benefits are:

  • Tuition and fees: Applicable tuition and fees, including the reasonable cost of textbooks and any out-of-state and/or graduate student fees, will be paid on behalf of the scholarship recipients. This support is provided in addition to the stipend. (Out-of-state tuition may be offered subject to overall funding limits).
  • Stipend: To cover room, board, and other expenses, an undergraduate will be paid a stipend of $20,000 per academic year. Graduate students will be paid a stipend of $25,000 per academic year.
  • Research: Each student will be matched to a on-going research project under the direction of an IA faculty member.

Requirements and Eligibility

The eligibility criteria are:

  • A United States citizen.
  • Either a full-time graduate student within two years of graduation at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with either a Master's degree in Information Technology or Computer Science, or a qualified rising junior or senior at UNC Charlotte.
  • Ph.D. students within three years of graduation
  • Preferences will be given to those students who will be in the program for at least three semesters in order to have the necessary exposure to information security research.
  • Each student must meet selection criteria for federal, state, or local government employment. Final job placement may require a security clearance, so each scholarship recipient may be required to undergo the background investigation required to obtain such a clearance.

Recipient Responsibility

In return for receiving scholarship benefits, each scholarship recipient incurs two obligations:

  • During the summers while enrolled in the program, each student will be responsible for securing an internship position at a federal, state, or local government agency. Numerous resources are available to assist students in identifying and applying for internships.
  • Upon graduation, each student will be required to work in a qualified information assurance position for a federal, state, or local government agency or a qualified national laboratory. The work requirement time period matches the supported time period. For example, a full two-year scholarship requires two years of federal employment. Each student is responsible for identifying, applying for, and securing a qualified position. Numerous resources are available including an annual job fair specifically for SFS students as well as the assistance of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) which oversees permanent placement for scholarship students.

Application Process and Deadlines

Each applicant to the SFS program should provide the following:

  • Completed application form.
  • Statement of purpose and description of goals and motivations to pursue a career in Information Assurance and computer security.
  • Official transcripts of all college work outside of UNC Charlotte.
  • Resume.
  • Recommendation letters from at least two university faculty members familiar with the student's background. The faculty members may be from UNC Charlotte or another institution. Additional letters of recommendation from employers, supervisors, or other faculty members are encouraged.

Application deadline for receiving scholarship in Spring semesters is Nov. 15. Application deadline for receiving scholarship in Fall semesters is July 15.

All applicants should send (in electronic form) all of the information listed above to:  billchu “at domain” uncc.edu.  Please include as the Subject line "SFS Application".

Questions may be directed to Bill Chu:    billchu “at domain” “uncc.edu”.

 

Criteria for Selection

The selection criteria are as follows:

  • Undergraduate Students
    • United States citizen
    • Junior (60 hours) or Senior (90 hours) standing at UNC Charlotte as of the Spring semester 2008. Students must be able to complete their undergraduate degree requirements in no more than two years (i.e., four regular semesters).
    • At least a 3.0 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale.
    • Recommendation letters from at least two faculty members. Additional letters from employers or faculty members are acceptable.
    • Evaluation of the student's potential for success in the IA program.
  • Graduate Students
  • United States citizen.
  • Official acceptance into the graduate program by either UNC Charlotte or NC A&T State University.
  • Expected graduation with MS degree in either Information Technology or Computer Science within two years.
  • At least a 3.2 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale.
  • Recommendation letters from at least two faculty members. Additional letters from employers or faculty members are acceptable.
  • Evaluation of the student’s potential for success in the IA program.

In addition, we will consider the following criteria for both undergraduate and graduate candidates:

  • Commitment to participate in summer service and service following degree completion according to the guidelines of the SFS program.
  • Commitment to participate in assessment activities after their scholarship and required federal service has ended.
  • Demonstrated leadership, participation in team activities, prior social service, and/or evidence of creative and independent thinking and/or acting.

Competition is expected to be significant. Only the most qualified students will be selected.

 

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