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The NSF wants to pay tuition, rent and much more for BYU Cybersecurity students | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware | #hacking | #aihp

BYU cybersecurity students (left to right): Emmie Hall, Macen Bird and Mason Jones

Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo

Cybersecurity grads from BYU have continually gone on to work for the most prestigious cyber-defense programs in the country, including the National Security Agency (NSA), the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and various branches of the military.

In other words, they’re really good at what they do.

The National Science Foundation agrees. The NSF recently awarded the cybersecurity program within the BYU Electrical & Computer Engineering department with a five-year, $3.7 million grant called the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service. BYU is one of only six schools nationwide to receive the award this year, which recognizes students with technical talent, moral integrity, leadership, and second language skills.

“Many federal agencies have encouraged BYU to apply for this grant because they want more of our students working for them,” said IT & Cybersecurity Professor, Derek Hansen. “We think our program is one of the best in the nation and this grant will help us gain more recognition and visibility as one of the top destinations for cybersecurity talent.”

The grant is designed to simultaneously enhance the nation’s cybersecurity workforce and enrich students’ academic experience by financing students’ tuition and giving them a hefty living stipend ($27,000 for undergrads and $37,000 for grad students). Student recipients will also receive $6,000 to use for books, certifications, and travel to an exclusive seminar where they will receive specialized training and personalized introductions to government agencies.

In return, students commit to work summer internships with government organizations and to take jobs with a federal agency or research lab after graduation for at least the same number of years that they received the grant – otherwise, they need to repay the grant money they received.

“Some of the best cybersecurity professional development happens in government jobs because they are the only ones with legal authority, access to top-secret information, and specialized tools at their disposal,” said Hansen. Professor Albert Tay, who helped secure the grant, says it will “provide our exceptional cybersecurity students with greater and unparalleled opportunities for both academic and professional advancement.”

“I personally would be really interested in applying for the NSF grant scholarship because working for the government is a solid career path where I’d get to explore a lot of different aspects of cybersecurity in a capacity that you can’t get anywhere else,” said Emmie Hall, a junior at BYU studying cybersecurity. “The scholarship would give me time to focus on schoolwork and get involved with extra-curriculars in college.”

BYU has been recognized by the National Security Agency as a center of academic excellence in cyber defense for nearly 12 years, originally as an emphasis within the IT Major. Since the cybersecurity major began in 2018, enrollment has grown each year, helping make a dent in the large cyber workforce gap (There were over 500,000 cyber jobs not filled in North America in 2023 according to a ISC2 workforce study). The new scholars will join an already thriving BYU cyber student community that hosts weekly cybersecurity club activities, a yearly research symposium, and “capture the flag” security competitions.

“BYU is known within the cybersecurity industry for graduating students with high ethical standards, technical rigor, international experience, and overall maturity,” Hansen said. “This new grant will pave the way for some of our brightest students to work in government jobs protecting our citizen’s data from those with malevolent intent.”

Students who are interested in applying for the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service should visit or reach out to Derek Hansen at

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