Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the NSF SFS program?  The NSF Scholarship for Service program was created to increase the number of qualified students entering the fields of Information Assurance (IA) and Cybersecurity to meet our country's information technology needs for national defense and the security of our nation's critical information infrastructure.  Scholarships cover full tuition, books and fees for two to three years of study.  Students selected for the NSF SFS program are selected by the institution that has been awarded a National Science Foundation grant award.  Students must compete for placement and complete a summer internship and serve in a paid position in a Federal, State, Local or Tribal government agency upon graduation.
  2. Which costs do the scholarships cover?  The program covers tuition, books, and fees for two to three years of undergraduate-, master's-, or doctorate-level study. In addition, undergraduate students receive a $22,500 stipend; graduate students receive $34,000.  The SFS program also covers travel costs to an annual job fair/conference that all students are required to attend.
  3. When, and for how long, can I get a scholarship? The scholarship is conferred during an undergraduate's junior and senior years. Graduate students are conferred the scholarship while pursuing a master's degree or PhD. Scholarships may be conferred for two years.  A third year award may be available for students applying for funding for their senior year that commit to complete USA's School of Computing master's program or the PhD program. 
  4. Do I incur an obligation by receiving this scholarship?  Yes. You must serve at a government agency in an information assurance position for a period equivalent to the length of the scholarship or one year, whichever is longer.
  5. Where will the jobs be located? Jobs will be located throughout the United States. However, many will be in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. Therefore, participants will be required to be available for placement nationwide.
  6. At what grade level will I be appointed when I serve the internship and when I am placed after graduation? The grade level at which you will be appointed depends on your qualifications at the time of appointment. In general, students with a bachelor's degree and superior academic achievement may be appointed at the GS-7 level. It is important to note that the pay rates for information technology professionals are higher than for other jobs.
  7. Is the post-graduation employment commitment the only period of employment I am required to serve with the Government? No. You are also required to serve a10 week long internship between each funded year.
  8. What responsibilities do I have to the program while I am still in school?
    1. Attend the annual job fair/symposium.
    2. Search for internship and post graduation opportunities.
    3. Complete and submit a job search activity report to the program office quarterly.
    4. View/edit resume and contact information quarterly.
    5. Engage in other CyberScholar related activities as directed by the PI or program office.
  9. Why is it important that I begin my job search early? It is very important that you begin your job search immediately for a variety of reasons. Students who receive scholarship funds for more than one academic year are required to serve an internship performing information assurance-related work. Internships are intended to enhance the students' information assurance knowledge by exposing them to field-related work experiences. For both internships and post-graduation commitment, most positions will require some type of security clearance and these along with the Federal hiring process can sometime be very time consuming.
  10. What positions are open to me? Students can apply for any position that includes duties in Information Assurance at a Federal Agency, a National Research Laboratory, a Federally Funded Research Development Center, or other approved organization.
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