Students who don’t work for the government after graduation must pay funds back.
By Lionel Ramos
This college has received more than $636,000 in two separate grants for cybersecurity students and technology in the computer information systems program.
Funding from the National Science Foundation’s Community College Pilot Program has provided the program with $568,831 for the Cyber Service Scholarship to help students pursue an Associate of Applied Science degree in information assurance and cybersecurity.
The remaining $68,000 has been provided by the U.S. Department of Education to upgrade equipment and technology.
Cybersecurity is the protection of computer hardware and software, internet networks, accounts and other forms of online data from malicious cyberattacks.
The industry is growing rapidly in conjunction with the growing rate of cyberattacks, said CIS coordinator Kim Muschalek, in a phone interview Oct. 29.
The funds from the National Science Foundation are directed at two groups of students — veterans and students who have already attained a bachelor’s degree in any field.
“We are expecting a majority of applicants to be veterans,” she said, referring to the about 3,500 veterans enrolled in the college.
According to an abstract on the website of the National Science Foundation, “San Antonio is an optimal location for this pilot effort as it is a major hub for veterans and for government-funded cybersecurity operations that are actively looking for qualified employees.”
Muschalek said this is the first time a community college has received funds from a pilot program.
The grant will be split among five applicants. Each will receive a $22,500 stipend for each of two years in the program, payment of tuition and fees and an additional $6,000 stipend to attend the required annual CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service job fair in Washington, D.C., in January.
After graduating, students are expected to finish a summer internship with a participating government agency and fulfill a “one-for-one” year commitment working for a local, state or federal government position. There is information about the scholarship on this college’s website.
“We would have a lot more people lining up to apply if they could change their mind after graduation,” Muschalek said. “If students fail to complete the employment requirements post-graduation, then the award turns into a federal student loan.”
The scholarship also requires students to be enrolled in the AAS information assurance and cybersecurity major, attend school on a full-time basis with no outside employment, be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, be eligible for federal employment and be able to obtain security clearances.
The deadline for the scholarship application is March 15, and the students accepted will begin their coursework in fall 2019.
The college will be reconsidered for another award after two years based on how many students complete the program and how many find employment after their education, Muschalek explained.
For more information regarding the Cyber Service Scholarship, visit https://www.alamo.edu/sac/cyber-service-scholarship or contact Muschalek at 210-486-1059 or firstname.lastname@example.org.