Tennessee Tech / CEROC awarded $4.44 Million National Science Foundation CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Grant (2021 – 2026)

The Cybersecurity Education, Research, and Outreach Center (CEROC) at Tennessee Tech University is excited to announce its most recent grant award – that National Science Foundation CyberCorps Scholarship for Service (SFS) Grant (Award# 2043324).  This is the second such grant award from the National Science Foundation to Tennessee Tech.  The five-year grant provides funding for Tennessee Tech students to complete their computer science degree with a concentration in cybersecurity and prepare to join the cybersecurity workforce in the U.S. Government.  Funding includes the following:

  • Full coverage of all tuition
  • $6,000 as Professional Allowance
  • $25,000 stipend (for undergrads starting from junior year to earn accelerated M.Sc. with B.Sc.)
  • $34,000 stipend (for graduate students for M.Sc. and Ph.D.)
Students attending CyberCorps SFS job fair in Washington D.C.

CEROC is completing its first five-year cycle in the CyberCorps SFS program (Award# 1565562).  This newly awarded SFS grant breaks the first record-setting SFS grant for Tennessee Tech originally valued at $4.3 million.  This 1st grant would later be extended to $5 million with addition of special projects over the years.  Under the 2016-2021 grant, 38 students have completed / are completing their computer science degree in cybersecurity with 92% of participants finishing at the Masters of Science level.  These individuals are now (or soon will be) cyber defenders protecting the national cyber infrastructure in mostly federal government positions.  “In today’s technological world, patriots can defend their country in cyberspace, and this elite program provides paths for such undertaking by enabling students to obtain a quality cyber education, gain critical hands-on technical skills, and join peers in the nation to fight cyber criminals” stated Dr. Ambareen Siraj, director of the center and principal investigator of the grant.  “We have been blessed to see some amazing students from our Computer Science program, enter and thrive in the field.  A career field, I might add, that is seeing a deficit close to half a million nationally.  Our nation desperately needs more cyber career professionals to keep peace on cyberspace!”

The first SFS funding cycle provided some firsts in SFS program which have contributed to the state/regional/national community.  Tennessee Tech was the first institution in the state of Tennessee to receive an SFS grant and remains the largest such program in the state.  CEROC was the originating institution for the annual CyberCorps SFS Bootcamp for incoming SFS scholars across the nation.  Tennessee Tech was one of ten institutions in the nation to participate in a pilot program working to improve the bridge between community college cyber programs and four-year cyber programs.  “It is very rewarding to see how the SFS CyberCorps program has had such a positive impact in multiple ways – not just at Tennessee Tech but in the state, region and nation.  It is an honor to work with such an amazing program management team and cyber scholars” remarked Eric Brown, the center’s assistant director.

The new grant, another new record for Tennessee Tech, is valued at $4.44 million dollars and will fund another 30+ students to continue or launch their cybersecurity careers.  This new grant will also provide funding for the development of a new “cyber-crime, law, and society” minor for Computer Science and Sociology & Political Science undergraduate students further expanding the cyber education opportunities on the Tennessee Tech campus.  Tennessee Tech is one of 93 (8 community colleges, 85 four-year schools) participating institutions in the SFS program.  In addition to SFS, Tennessee Tech is the only institution in the state to participate in the Department of Defense Cyber Scholarship program, a similar program operated with only Department of Defense agencies.  Tech’s participation in both of these programs makes it among an elite group of institutions in the nation to host both programs.

More information about the SFS program including a link to the application can be found at https://www.tntech.edu/ceroc/education/sfs.  General information inquiries can be sent to sfs@tntech.edu or by calling (931) 372-3519.

CEROC:  Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center at Tennessee Tech University, established under the direction of Dr. Ambareen Siraj, is a center of excellence in the College of Engineering focused on K-20 cybersecurity education programs; research in emerging cybersecurity topics; and outreach programs to stakeholders in academia, government and industry.  CEROC is an NSA-designated Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) and host of the first and largest CyberCorps SFS program in the State of Tennessee.  CEROC, via Dr. Siraj’s work, is also the founding group for the Women in Cybersecurity initiative, the largest of its type in the world focusing on enhancing diversity within the cybersecurity workforce.  More information about CEROC and its programs can be found at https://www.tntech.edu/ceroc or by sending an email to ceroc@tntech.edu.