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Gov. McAuliffe announces $1 million in cybersecurity scholarships

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced Wednesday, Aug. 10, that applications are now being accepted for a $1 million state scholarship fund for students studying cybersecurity. The Virginia Cybersecurity Public Service Scholarship Program will award $20,000 a year to eligible Virginia students who are studying how to safeguard computer networks, data and electronic resources. In return, the students must commit to public service by working at a Virginia state agency or institution for as many years as they receive the scholarship.

“As we work to build a new Virginia economy, we must ensure that our electronic infrastructure is secured against cyberattacks,” Governor Terry McAuliffe said. “That is why I launched ‘Meet the Threat: States Confront the Cyber Challenge’ at the National Governors Association in July. It is imperative that states promote programs to help students tackle the cybersecurity challenges of the 21st century. The Cybersecurity Public Service Scholarship Program is an excellent approach to building our cyber workforce as we continue to enhance the Commonwealth’s reputation as an international leader in cyber innovation and security.”

The Governor included $500,000 a year for the scholarships in the 2016-18 biennial budget and is making cybersecurity the central theme of his tenure as chair of the National Governors Association.

“Cybersecurity programs and training are essential to the long-term economic and technological stability of the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson. “These funds will help ensure that the next generation of cyber professionals receives the cutting-edge training they need to be successful in this vital industry.”

About 25 scholarships will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, depending on available funding. Recipients can receive the scholarship for up to two years. They must be enrolled full-time as in-state students in a cybersecurity program at a Virginia nonprofit private or public college or university; be within two years of graduation from an undergraduate or graduate program; and have a GPA of at least 3.0.

“The only way we can produce the kinds of students who are eager to take on the demands of the new Virginia economy is by making sure we are providing them with the skills they need,” said Secretary of Education Dietra Trent. “Expanding opportunities in cybersecurity through this scholarship program will be a key component in preparing students for rewarding and impactful careers.”

The scholarships will be administered by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). Applications for the coming school year will be accepted until Sept. 15, 2016. For details about the scholarship program, please visit SCHEV’s website here.