Senators Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) and Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota) have introduced a bill that seeks to expand the Defense Department‘s scholarship program for college students pursuing cybersecurity degrees.
Kaine’s office said Thursday the DoD Cyber Scholarship Program Act of 2017 would provide $10 million to DoD’s scholarship fund for fiscal year 2018.
The bill would also expand grants to students pursuing associate’s degrees at community colleges.
“A well-trained and highly skilled cyber workforce is essential to addressing the United States’ growing cybersecurity challenges,” said Kaine.
“Expanding scholarship funds so they’re available to community college students is a commonsense change that will help put more of Virginia’s students on a path to success and support our national security needs,” he added.
The bill would allocate five percent of scholarship funds to students taking two-year programs at institutions designated by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as Centers of Academic Excellence.
Eligible schools can also vie for competitive grants to establish cybersecurity academic programs under the legislation.
Qualified CAEs in Virginia would include Lord Fairfax Community College, Danville Community College, Tidewater Community College, Northern Virginia Community College, George Mason University, Hampton University, James Madison University, Marymount University, Norfolk State University, Radford University and Virginia Tech.
Scholarship awardees will be required to work in a DoD cybersecurity position after graduation to fulfill a service obligation.