How and where to get a scholarship in cybersecurity

Published by on May 9, 2018 in Information Security

freee money scholarships for cybersecurity

Looking to get started in cybersecurity? Whether you’re a high school student about to graduate or an adult career changer, there’s a strong and growing demand for cybersecurity professionals. As a result, governments, universities, and businesses are all willing to spend good money to help train those who want to enter into the field. And for you, that means numerous scholarships are waiting and available if you know where to look.

Below are some great scholarship opportunities for future cybersecurity professionals in both the US and the UK. While not every potential scholarship you might find is listed here, we do give some advice on how to find scholarships and other free training opportunities.

Using scholarship search websites

Before getting into the specific scholarships available, it’s important to know a little about the scholarship database sites you might want to use.

US scholarship websites

For US residents and international students looking to study Stateside, you can turn to several websites when starting your scholarship search. These include:

There are more out there. However, among the many scholarship search websites around, several are either too limited in the number of scholarships available through their services or are not entirely trustworthy. If you’re looking for scholarships in the US, it’s best to stick to the more well-known services. These will have most of the privately-offered scholarships you’re likely to find. Typically, the sites you can trust are those landing on the first and second pages of a Google search, although even then, not all are worth the effort.

cyber security scholarship

Using these sites is seemingly very simple. However, they will ask you to give up a lot of personal information. In most cases, these sites are free and monetize their services both through ads and by selling your data to colleges, universities, and educational research organizations. If that makes you a bit uncomfortable (and it should), you may want to avoid using the scholarship database services that require an account and instead look for scholarships outside those websites. Unfortunately, you’ll likely struggle a bit to find scholarships without those sites, putting you in a bit of a bind if you want to find good scholarships. Ultimately, scholarship search websites do reduce the amount of time you spend looking for potential scholarships.

Some of the more popular US sites are also incredibly limited in how you can use them. FastWeb, for example, will collect all of your information during signup but pigeonhole you after you make an account. Your scholarship results will be based on the profile information you provided, and you cannot actually perform a topical search on the website. Scholarships.com, at the least, lets you look for scholarships by degree program, but offers no search option. Peterson’s and College Board let you perform topical searches but have more limited databases.

UK scholarship websites and degree apprenticeships

UK residents and those looking to study in the UK have a more limited number of scholarship websites to choose from. However, unlike your American counterparts, you don’t have to jump through nearly as many hoops or give up much personal information just to look for free money. And unlike the US, you might want to consider an entirely different category outside of scholarships: degree apprenticeships.

cybersecurity scholarships

The best UK scholarship websites include the following:

You can easily do topical searches through these websites. However, you may find the results are somewhat limited for cybersecurity.

UK degree apprenticeships

Degree apprenticeships are a growing trend in UK post-secondary education. These opportunities combine on-the-job training with university coursework. Often offered by employers who want to train individuals needed to fill empty positions, government-sponsored degree apprenticeships are designed to a growing number of technical areas—including in cybersecurity.

Some excellent sources to locate degree apprenticeships include:

You’ll find degree apprenticeships provide an excellent balance between full-time work and part-time schooling. While not a traditional “scholarship,” degree apprenticeships offer the chance to “earn while you learn” and get your schooling paid for in the process.

cyber security scholarships

If you’re an older career changer, you may have a much harder time finding an opportunity through degree apprenticeships. These programs are more commonly offered to 18- and 19-year-olds. However, some programs do begin at younger ages or extend to those in their early 20s.

Top cybersecurity scholarships for both US and UK residents

Both US and UK residents can seek out several top scholarships. As these scholarships are offered internationally, there is often stiff competition among potential applicants.

(ISC)² Information Security Undergraduate Scholarship

Award amount: $5,000

Deadline: February 1, 2019

cybersecurity scholarships

The International Information Systems Security Certifications Consortium, Inc., or “(ISC)²,” is a non-profit organization that champions cybersecurity research of all kinds. Through their educational wing, they offer a $5,000-per-student scholarship targeted at students planning to obtain an undergraduate degree with a focus on cybersecurity or information assurance.

The scholarship requires:

  • Minimum 3.3 GPA on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent)
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Resume/CV
  • Statement of purpose

Additionally, those who apply for the scholarship must be either a graduating high school senior, or currently in or entering into their freshman, sophomore, or junior year of college.

Some restrictions apply upon receiving the scholarship as well. If awarded, you must be enrolled before the funds are dispersed (although you can win the award without being enrolled quite yet). Funds will only be disbursed to your institution, with the money to be used for tuition, books, and fees.

Note: This scholarship is open and available to anyone, not just US residents or those attending schools in the US.

(ISC)² Graduate Scholarship Program

Award amount: $5,000

Deadline: None given, but applications open November 1, 2018

cyber security scholarships

For graduate students in cybersecurity, (ISC)² offers a scholarship similar to the one available for undergraduates. The requirements are nearly equivalent as well, with the only key difference being a higher minimum GPA for applicants (minimum 3.5 out of a 4.0 scale, or equivalent). As with the undergraduate scholarship, this one is open to students outside of the US.

(ISC)² Women’s Cybersecurity Scholarships

Award amount: $40,000

Deadline: None given, but applications open November 1, 2018, and January 1, 2019.

Also administered by (ISC)²’s Center for Cyber Safety and Education and Raytheon, the Women’s Cybersecurity Scholarships are designed for women looking to enter into the field. This scholarship offers up to $40,000 and is open to both graduate and undergraduate women pursuing degrees.

Requirements are similar to the other (ISC)2 scholarships. To qualify, female applicants (both graduate and undergraduate) will need:

  • Minimum 3.3 GPA on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent)
  • Unofficial transcript
  • Resume/CV
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • Apply separately to either the (ISC)2 undergraduate or graduate scholarships

As with the other scholarships, award money will be provided to your institution to cover tuition, fees, and book costs. Also, in keeping with other (ISC)2 scholarships, the award is available to citizens and college students in any country.

Cybersecurity scholarships for US residents and students

The US has one of the largest scholarship markets of any country. Cybersecurity-specific scholarships are increasing in number as well, and come from varied sources.

Raytheon’s Women Cyber Security Scholarship

Award amount: $8,000

Deadline: Application period to reopen late 2018 / early 2019

cyber security scholarships

Working in conjunction with (ISC)2, Raytheon offers a separate scholarship for two selected female applicants. Because this scholarship is offered by Raytheon specifically, it has a slightly different set of requirements.

This scholarship requires:

  • US citizenship
  • Must be a graduating high school senior or college freshman
  • Pursuing a degree with a cybersecurity focus
  • Minimum 3.3 GPA on a 4.0 scale

Awards will be given directly to your institution to cover books, tuition, and fees. Additionally, mid-career individuals pursuing an undergraduate degree can also apply. If you are a mid-career applicant, you can also be in your sophomore or junior year of your undergraduate degree.

Alongside the scholarship money, Raytheon Women’s Cyber Security Scholarship recipients will also be awarded an (ISC)2 exam voucher, free textbooks, free practice exams, a five-day seminar, and a 1-year membership to (ISC)2. Internship opportunities may also be awarded if available.

Microsoft STEM Scholarships

Amount awarded: Unspecified

Deadline: January 1, 2019

cyber security scholarship

Anyone obtaining a degree in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM) (which includes cybersecurity), can apply for a scholarship from Microsoft. The company does not specify an amount provided by the scholarship, only that the award will be a one-time payment to the school to cover tuition cost, and that successful applicants receive “partial tuition covered for one academic year.”

This scholarship requires:

  • Full-time enrollment at a 4-year institution in bachelor’s degree program in the US, Canada, or Mexico
  • Enrollment in a degree program in Computer Science, Computer Engineering or a related STEM field
  • Maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale, or a minimum 4.0 GPA on a 5.0 scale

While the scholarship is only available for those in US, Canada, or Mexico, international students enrolled in colleges in those countries can apply as well. And although the scholarship is provided to everyone who meets the eligibility requirements, Microsoft states that it is “committed to offering scholarships to those individuals from backgrounds that may historically have been underrepresented in the technical field.”

Top UK cybersecurity scholarships and degree apprenticeships

UK residents looking to get into cybersecurity will find good opportunities for those willing to put in the effort.

National Cyber Security Centre CyberFirst Bursary

Amount awarded: £4,000 per year, tax-free

Deadline: None given, but applicants must be 18 years of age by September 2018 and have fulfilled the listed requirements by that time.

cyberschool scholarships

Any university student interested in pursuing cybersecurity can apply for the CyberFirst Bursary, which offers several benefits during your course of study. The immediate benefit is the tax-free, £4,000 per year bursary. This bursary is given annually while you’re enrolled in your undergraduate program.

Alongside the bursary, you will also get paid work in cybersecurity during the holidays, or be placed in a training program with the government. Successful applicants receive £250 per week during the holiday employment or training.

Finally, upon graduation, the program will place you in a three-year, graduate-level cybersecurity role, either in the government or in private industry.

This scholarship requires:

  • Applicants must be a UK national
  • Have an offer to study or already be enrolled in your first year of study in a STEM degree program
  • Have 3 A-levels at Grade B or above, or equivalent qualifications, in any subject

For students in the UK, the CyberFirst Bursary is one of the best available options to get paid to enter into the field.

National Cyber Security Centre CyberFirst Apprenticeship

Amount awarded: £17,942 salary

Deadline: None given, but applicants must be 18 years of age by September 2018 and have fulfilled the listed requirements by that time.

A great opportunity for those who want to work while they learn, (with the emphasis on working) the CyberFirst Apprenticeship is designed as a fast-track into a cybersecurity career. The program offers a salary and learning opportunities, as successful applicants work alongside others in the civil service to help support the national security efforts of the UK.

This scholarship requires:

  • 3 A-levels at Grade C or above, or equivalent qualifications
  • Minimum of 2 IGCSEs/GCSEs in STEM subjects at grade 6/B or above, with one in maths
  • An interest in programming, computing, and technology

Applicants do not need to have any coding experience in order to apply, although having previous coding experience is advantageous for applicants. The apprenticeship has some limiting factors for interested parties, particularly given it is a direct route to civil service work. However, for those interested in a cybersecurity route without the need to attend university, the apprenticeship route offers a distinct, hands-on method with a guaranteed income.

University-Level Scholarships

Beyond what’s listed above, UK residents looking to get scholarships in cybersecurity can look to different universities for potential offers. Many universities now offer scholarship opportunities for students interested in pursuing cybersecurity degrees or other STEM degrees.

Some UK universities offering cybersecurity or STEM scholarships include:

Looking beyond cybersecurity

There are numerous avenues into cybersecurity beyond just scholarships, bursaries, and apprenticeships. Self-study is a common method for many individuals to get into cybersecurity fields, and a large number of free resources exist online as well.

We recommend also checking out our guide on how to start a career in cybersecurity for more details, including the best literature and websites to help you get started.

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