Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined elected officials and educators at the University at Albany to encourage students to apply to the Cyber Service Academy scholarship program, which grants students free college in return for public service in the Department of Defense (DoD). Gillibrand was joined by NYS Assemblymember Pat Fahy, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Dean of the University at Albany College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity Robert Griffin, and University at Albany School of Business Interim Dean Kevin Williams.
Gillibrand created the Cyber Service Academy scholarship program through her work on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Successful applicants are provided a scholarship covering the full cost of tuition, select books and fees, a stipend, purchase of a laptop, and more. Successful applicants incur a service commitment which starts after the awarding of their degree; individuals will serve in roles throughout the DoD for a period equivalent to the length of their scholarship. Areas of study include cybersecurity, cyber operations, digital and multimedia forensics, computer crime investigations, and more.
As of 2022, there were nearly 40,000 unfilled public-sector cybersecurity positions, and the tech workforce that our government does have is quickly aging out. Just 7 percent of federal employees in computer science, computer engineering and information technology positions are under 30.
“There are nearly 40,000 unfilled public-sector cybersecurity positions, leaving our country with a severe shortage of cyber personnel needed to protect ourselves from adversaries like Russia,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The Cyber Service Academy will create a pipeline for a talented, highly-trained cyber workforce, granting one year of free college for every year of subsequent public service. The University at Albany is a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity and I encourage students to apply, earn free college and serve your country.”
“Senator Gillibrand’s proposal to create a National ‘Cyber Academy’ is exactly how we position the United States to continue to lead on cybersecurity and respond to the threats posed by the utilization of artificial intelligence by our adversaries in the 21st Century,” said Assemblymember Patricia Fahy. “Cyber-attacks and cyberwarfare now pose a larger threat to U.S. national security than ever before when it comes to maintaining the safety of our energy grid, military responsiveness, and integration of new technologies in defense. That’s why it’s imperative the federal government recruit and retain thousands of AI experts and professionals in the near future to ensure our future cyber and national security, respond to potential attacks, and safeguard American interests at home and abroad. Senator Gillibrand’s National Cyber Academy proposal is a vital first step in accomplishing these goals and I’m proud to support her legislation doing so.”
“With more frequent and severe cyber attacks threatening the nation’s infrastructure, the urgency to strengthen the U.S. cybersecurity workforce has never been greater,” said University at Albany President Havidán Rodríguez. “As one of the most diverse public research institutions in the nation, UAlbany has the innovative academic programs to recruit talented students interested in both cybersecurity and serving their country. The scholarships Sen. Gillibrand has fought for will provide critical financial support to ensure all students have equitable access to these important careers.”
The University at Albany is one of 19 New York institutions eligible to offer the program because of its designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity. A full list of schools can be found here.
Interested students should go to www.gillibrand.senate.gov/cyberacademy and click on the DoD Cyber Scholarship Program link to apply. This page will continue to be updated as the DoD refines its application process. Open enrollment starts November 1st.