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Department of Defense (DoD) Information Assurance Scholarship Program (IASP) Opportunity Through the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL), A National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense Education

 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2018 BY 5:00 PM CENTRAL TIME

CONTACT PERSON AND PROJECT DIRECTOR (PD) / PRINCIPLE INVESTIGATOR (PI):

Dr. Shaji Khan | shajikhan@umsl.edu | Cell Phone: 314-489-9733

(please email or call cell phone as many times as necessary or stop by office)

Room 234, Express Scripts Hall

One University Blvd.

Saint Louis, MO 63121

 

NOTE: Please read the entire document very carefully. Be sure to understand both the eligibility requirements for scholarships, the service obligations and repayment in case you are unable to meet the service obligation.

 

  1. Summary

  2. Description of Scholarship and Employment Opportunity with DoD

  3. Scholarship Benefits

  4. Minimum Eligibility Requirements for Scholarships and Subsequent DoD appointments

  5. Student Oblications / Conditions for Scholarships

  6. What Programs of Study at UMSL are suitable for Scholarships?

  7. Veteran’s Preference in Hiring

  8. Applicants with Disabilities

  9. Equal Employment Opportunity

  10. Other Important Information About this Opportunity

  11. Next steps / Preparing the Application Packet

 


 

I. SUMMARY / KEY POINTS

  1. These generous scholarships are only available to National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) institutions. UMSL is one of those institutions as it is a CAE in Cyber Defense Education
  2. Undergraduate (third or fourth year) or Graduate (first year or second year of two-year degree or within one or two years of graduation) students enrolled or accepted (by Feb 16, 2018 for the Fall 2018 semester) for enrollment, who are United States Citizens, can obtain security clearances, meet minimum GPA and other performance requirements, can apply for 1-year DoD scholarships
    1. Scholarships cover full tuition, course text-books, etc. along with a stipend for living expenses to study in cybersecurity related programs. Scholarships can be obtained for an additional year subject to conditions listed below.
  3. Scholarships are not guaranteed. Students must first apply through UMSL. UMSL will then submit all applications to the DoD. The DoD will then choose to accept/decline UMSL’s proposal. If UMSL’s proposal is accepted the DoD will then decide which students are funded, if any. If accepted, students might be notified by late May 2018 and then will have 15 days to accept the offer and the conditions of offer
  4. IN RETURN, students commit to working for the DoD (across any one of the many agencies/offices of the DoD) for at least 1-year for a 1-year (or even 1-semester) award. Failing to do so, implies that the student will reimburse the DoD for all or part of the scholarship award as determined by the DoD.
  5. Students who have taken at least some coursework in cybersecurity and/or have work experience and can make a case they have fundamental knowledge and skills in this area are more likely to be considered.

PLEASE READ THE ENTIRE GUIDELINES BELOW CAREFULLY.

 

II. DESCRIPTION OF SCHOLARSHIP AND EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY

“Chapter 112 of title 10, United States Code authorizes the IASP. The purposes of the program are to recruit and retain well-qualified personnel for work in the vital cybersecurity field and to cultivate continuing capacity for cybersecurity workforce development at select institutions of higher learning (CAEs) throughout the United States. As directed by the Secretary of Defense, the DoD CIO has delegated authority and responsibility to establish scholarship and institutional grant programs to achieve these purposes, including the authority to conduct civilian employee recruitment for these purposes. This program is executed by the National Information Assurance Education and Training Program (NIETP) of the National Security Agency (NSA) on behalf of the DoD.

Rising junior and senior undergraduates, master’s and doctoral candidates, who are U.S. citizens and are at least 18 years of age are eligible for consideration for the program.

Students selected as Cybersecurity Scholars will receive the full cost of tuition, books (from the institution/degree specific required book list, not books which are optional for the class), required fees (including health care), and a stipend to cover room and board. The stipend levels are $25,000 for undergraduate students and $30,000 for graduate (Master’s/PhD) students.”

 

III. Scholarship Benefits

Scholarships are not guaranteed. Subject to availability of funds and a positive evaluation of a student’s application, the DoD will award a 1-year scholarship to qualified students at their sole discretion, through UMSL.

A. Funding Amounts (Recap/Details):

  1. Students selected as Cybersecurity Scholars will receive full cost of:
    1. Tuition,
    2. Books (from the institution/degree specific required book list, not books which are optional for the class),
    3. required fees (including health care),
    4. A stipend to cover room and board. The stipend levels are $25,000/Year for undergraduate students and $30,000/Year for graduate (Master’s/PhD) students
      1. At UMSL, the stipends will be disbursed to your student accounts pro-rated monthly
  2. Disabled students may receive additional allowances.
  3. There are no allowances for dependents.
  4. Additional years of scholarship awards are dependent upon satisfactory academic progress, internship performance, if applicable, and the availability of funds. Returning students will be given first priority over new students to the program as long as they continue to meet the IASP requirements and appropriate funding is available. Scholarship recipients who successfully complete the terms of an initial one or two-year scholarship (for example, complete an undergraduate degree), may apply for a second scholarship of up to three years for completing an advanced degree, if the sponsoring agency agrees.
  5. When funding allows, students may be provided funding to attend one cybersecurity related conference - USA-based only. No foreign travel authorized.

 

IV. MINIMUM ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR SCHOLARSHIPS AND SUBSEQUENT FEDERAL (DoD) APPOINTMENTS

  1. You must be 18 years of age or older.
  2. You must be a citizen of the United States at the time of application. Note, if family members are not U.S. Citizens, some DoD Agencies may be unable to process the applicant (student) to the security clearance level required. DoD indicates that every effort will be made to assign eligible students at an Agency without such restrictions.
  3. You must be enrolled (or accepted for enrollment) at UMSL.
  4. You must have completed (or by August 2018 will have completed) at a minimum the first two years of an undergraduate degree program and be eligible to (a) begin either the third or fourth year of an undergraduate degree program; (b) begin the first or second year of a Master's degree program; or (c) pursue doctoral studies
     
    1. If you are not currently enrolled at UMSL in one of the suitable programs, please do so as soon as possible (before Feb 15, 2018) for starting coursework for the Fall 2018 semester.
    2. Please contact Dr. Shaji Khan (shajikhan@umsl.edu / 314-489-9733) immediately. 

  5. You must be pursuing a course of study and/or have a declared major in one of the scientific, technical, or managerial disciplines related to cybersecurity or with a concentration in cyber security. SEE WHAT PROGRAMS OF STUDY AT UMSL ARE SUITABLE FOR SCHOLARSHIPS
  6. Agree to the terms of conditions as listed in STATEMENT OF GENERAL ACADEMIC AND EMPLOYMENT CONDITIONS [OF612 Supplement in the student application package]
  7. STUDENT MAKES A STRONG CASE (AS PART OF A WRITTEN STATEMENT IN SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION) that the student has the following basic Knowledge and Abilities related to these 6 areas:
    1. Knowledge of the techniques of the cybersecurity discipline, including encryption, access control, physical security, training, threat analysis, and authentication.
    2. Knowledge of the human factors in cybersecurity, including human computer interaction, design, training, sabotage, human error prevention and identification, personal use policies, and monitoring.
    3. Ability to identify and analyze problems, distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information to make logical decisions, and provide solutions to individual and organizational problems.
    4. Ability to consider and respond appropriately to the needs, feelings, and capabilities of different people in different situations; is tactful, compassionate and sensitive, and treats others with respect.
    5. Ability to make clear and convincing oral presentations to individuals or groups; listens effectively and clarifies information as needed; facilitates an open exchange of ideas and fosters an atmosphere of open communication.
    6. Ability to express facts and ideas in writing in clear, convincing and organized manners appropriate to the audience and occasion.

 

V. STUDENT OBLIGATIONS / CONDITIONS FOR SCHOLARSHIPS

Students selected to participate in the DoD IASP will be required to sign a written agreement on numerous terms, conditions and obligations. These pertain to aspects such as academic performance, internship, employment, security clearance, and repayment of scholarship funds in case of failure to meet obligations.

A quick summary of these requirements/obligations are below.

[See STATEMENT OF GENERAL ACADEMIC AND EMPLOYMENT CONDITIONS [OF612 Supplement in the student application package for full text of the terms/conditions]

  1. In return for scholarship assistance the student must commit to work for the DoD, as a civilian employee for at least one calendar year for each year of scholarship assistance, after the student graduates.
    1. However, should a student apply for only one semester1 (or six months) of scholarship, the student must still agree to work for the DoD for one year.
    2. Upon graduation, you may be appointed under this program as a GS-7, GS-9, or GS-11 based on your qualifications, and the needs and conditions of the appointing defense component
  2. Students will also be required to serve in internship positions, if timing permits, with the DoD organizations during the time they are receiving scholarship support until they complete the course of study provided for by the scholarship. These internships will be arranged by the DoD to occur during the summer or other breaks between school terms, as appropriate to the individual’s circumstances and the institution’s calendar.
    1. The internship does not count toward satisfying the period of obligated service incurred by accepting the IASP scholarship.
    2. Internships will be typically paid and may follow the Student Trainee appointments pay levels at GS-0099-7, GS-0099-9, and GS-0099-11.
  3. Students will be required to formally accept or decline the scholarship within 15 days of notification. Non-acceptance by this date will mean the scholarship will be offered to the next available student.
  4. Undergraduate students must maintain 3.2/4.0 and graduate students must maintain 3.5/4.0 overall GPA. Students must also complete the program of study. Failure to maintain these standards are grounds for termination of scholarships. If this happens students will have to repay the government part of whole (as determined by the DoD) of the awarded funds.
  5. Awardees will NOT be able to obtain any other scholarships/fellowships except for small achievement awards.
  6. Students will be required to complete a security investigation questionnaire to initiate the process for a background investigation in preparation for their internships, if applicable, and as a condition of future employment with the DoD. Drug tests or other suitability processing will occur as appropriate.  
    1. SEE http://www.opm.gov TO GET AN IDEA ABOUT SECURITY CLEARANCES
  7. Students will also be required to agree that they will accept assignments requiring travel or change of duty stations as interns or employees. While the DoD will ask for your preferences for DoD organization/location and consider them in assigning you to an agency/location, you’d have to agree to go where the positions are available.
    1. See http://www.defense.gov/about/ for an overview of the numerous agencies/departments and locations that fall under the DoD.
  8. Individuals who do not keep up academic performance, fail to complete the program of study, do not accept the offered Federal appointment, or who voluntarily terminate employment during intern appointments or before the end of the period of obligated service required by the terms of Chapter 112, title 10, United States Code, or fail to obtain security clearances or otherwise fail to meet any conditions listed by the DoD in the agreement, will be required to refund the United States, in whole or in part, the cost of the educational assistance provided to them. Essentially, the funds become your debt to the U.S. Government and you are obligated to pay them back.
    1. An opportunity also exists for scholarship payback through military service. Individuals choosing to enlist or accept a commission to serve on active duty in one of the Military Services shall incur a service obligation of a minimum of 4 years on active duty in that Service upon graduation. The Military Services may establish a service obligation longer than 4 years, depending on the occupational specialty and type of enlistment or commissioning program selected.

 

VI. WHAT PROGRAMS OF STUDY AT UMSL ARE SUITABLE FOR SCHOLARSHIPS?

According to the DoD, in order to receive financial assistance (a scholarship) or appointment under the IASP, you must be enrolled (or accepted for enrollment) in a full-time program leading to an undergraduate or master’s degree, or doctoral degree, and pursuing a course of study and/or have a declared major in

  1. one of the scientific, technical or managerial disciplines related to computer and network security, [see Student Application for full DoD list]
  2. with a concentration in a cybersecurity function. [see Student Application for full DoD list]

 

At UMSL: We anticipate students with the following majors and cybersecurity curricula fit the DoD description (please contact Dr. Shaji Khan to discuss your potential for consideration for IASP program):

Graduate:

  1. Master of Science in Computer Science with Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity
  2. Master of Science in Information Systems with Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity
  3. Master of Business Administration with Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity
  4. Master of Accounting with Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity/Accounting Information Security
  5. Master of Arts in Mathematics with Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity
  6. Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematical and Computational Sciences with Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity OR strong existing research focus related to Cybersecurity

Undergraduate:

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with Undergraduate Certificate in Cybersecurity
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems with Undergraduate Certificate in Cybersecurity
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems with an Undergraduate Minor in Cybersecurity
  • Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with Undergraduate Certificate in Cybersecurity
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with Undergraduate Certificate in Cybersecurity
  • Bachelor of Science in Accounting with Undergraduate Certificate in Cybersecurity

 

VII. Veteran’s Preference in Hiring:

If you served on active duty in the United States Military and were separated under honorable conditions, you may be eligible for veteran’s preference. For further details visit the Office of Personnel Management website at: http://www.opm.gov/veterans/html/vetguide.asp.

  • To claim 5-point veterans' preference, attach a copy of your DD-214, Certificate of Release or discharge from Active Duty, or other proof of eligibility, to your Optional Form 612 – Optional Application for Federal Employment, as required at Item 15 of the application.
  • To claim 10-point veterans' preference, attach an SF 15, Application for 10-Point Veterans' Preference, plus the proof required by that form, to your Optional Form 612 – Optional Application for Federal Employment, as required at Item 15 of the application.

 

VIII. Applicants with Disabilities

You can find out about alternatives for submitting your application by calling the Office of Personnel Management at 912-757-3000. If you have a hearing disability, call TDD 912-744-2299. You may obtain case-by-case assistance by calling the Department of Defense point of contact for this announcement. The name, address, and email address of the point of contact for this announcement are below:

 

DoD IASP Program Office

National Security Agency

Attn: NIETP, A233, Suite 6804

9800 Savage Road

Fort George G. Meade, MD 20755-6804

AskIASP@nsa.gov

 

IX. Equal Employment Opportunity

The Department of Defense is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified persons shall receive consideration for this opportunity without regard to political, religious, labor organization affiliation or non-affiliation, marital status, race, color, sex, national origin, non-disqualifying physical disability, age, or sexual orientation.

 

X. OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THIS OPPORTUNITY

Before being hired, the appointing agency (the specific DoD Agency requesting to hire you) will ask you to complete a Declaration for Federal Employment or other agency or component specific form to determine your suitability for federal employment and to authorize a background investigation of your suitability. The agency will also ask you to sign and certify the accuracy of all the information in your application. If you make a false statement in any part of your application, you may not be hired; you may be fired after you begin work; or you may be fined or jailed.

You will be required to obtain and maintain eligibility for a security clearance in order to receive financial (scholarship) assistance or an appointment under the IASP. The appointing agency will ask you to complete certain forms to initiate the security clearance process. These forms require you to reveal many details about your background, including your financial circumstances, and other sensitive matters such as any arrests and/or convictions for offenses of any kind. You must complete these forms as a condition of financial assistance and appointment.

If you are a male over age 18 who was born after December 31, 1959, you must have registered with the Selective Service System (or have an exemption) to be eligible for a federal job.

Federal law prohibits officials from appointing, promoting, or recommending their relatives.

Federal annuitants (military and civilian) may have their salaries or annuities reduced. All employees must pay any valid delinquent debts or the employee’s payroll office may garnish their salary.

 

XI. Next steps / preparing the application packet

Download and carefully the read the Student Application below and immediately begin putting the material together.


Download: Application Form / Instructions

 

    1. The application (link above) requires official (certified) transcripts from all prior higher education including from UMSL - Order those right away.
      1. UMSL Transcripts Request Information
      2. Electronic transcripts may be accepted as long as they are certified by the institution.
    2. The application requires TWO recommendation/references letters. Request those right away.
      1. SEND THIS DOCUMENT to your potential referee as it contains all the instructions and aspects they would need to address
        1. One (1) Letter of Reference from a current faculty member who is fully knowledgeable of your potential for successful learning, your knowledge, and your ability.
        2. One (1) additional Letter of Reference from either a current or former faculty member, or a current or former supervisor who is fully knowledgeable of your potential for successful learning, your knowledge, and your ability.
    3. Start working on the Supplemental Competency Statement: Knowledge, Skills and Attributes: You must complete the OF612 Supplemental Competency Statement (as part of your application packet in link above) with narrative responses that describe the level of your attainment of the knowledge and ability factors indicated. See remainder of application package for instructions about the content of this supplemental statement
      1. The evaluation points are very high in this area. THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT ASPECT OF YOUR APPLICATION. You must address each area identified. If you do not provide this information your package will be deemed non-responsive and will not be considered. Indicate your name and school name on each page. Limit your responses on all six competency areas to a total of three pages.
      2. USE THIS DOCUMENT as a template which lists the 6 areas of interest to the DoD. Be sure to fully address ALL SIX (6).
        1. Be sure to change “First Name” “Last Name” to your first name and last name everywhere in the document template
    4. Start working on the write-up highlighting Recognitions – Honors – Awards
      1. Describe any academic recognition (certifications included), honors, distinctions, or awards that you have received. This is very important, as it counts towards the evaluation criteria.
        1. The recognition, honors, distinctions, or awards that you describe in this supplemental statement need not be job-related.
        2. Be sure that you include any scholarships, membership in any honorary societies to which you were admitted because of academic accomplishment, and any significant leadership roles in academic groups, organizations, societies, or associations to which you were nominated or elected.
        3. Provide sufficient summary information for evaluators to understand the period or date of the accomplishment, the awarding institution or organization, and what you did to earn the recognition.
      2. USE THIS DOCUMENT tempate to get started
        1. Be sure to change “First Name” “Last Name” to your first name and last name everywhere in the document template

  1. SUBMITTING APPLICATION MATERIAL
    1. The DoD requires both a "hard-copy" packet as well as soft copies of all material
    2. TYPE the information needed in the PDF application (linked above). 
      1. Save the PDF file
      2. Print it and sign it.
    3. TYPE the "Competency Statement" in the template mentioned above.
      1. Save the word file.
      2. Print it.
    4. BE SURE the reference letters are either word documents or PDF files.
      1. Print the two letters.
    5. TYPE the "Recognitions - Honors - Awards" document using the template above.
      1. Save the file.
      2. Print it.
    6. Obtain Certified Transcripts. 
      1. If the official transcripts are paper based Dr. Khan will scan them.
      2. If the official certified transcripts are electronic, please print them as well.
    7. Professional Resume
      1. Word or PDF file
      2. Printed Version.
  • Put all the "electronic" files into a folder. Be sure all files are clearly named as "firstName_LastName_UMSL_FileType" where "FileType" refers to what the file contains, for example "resume". It is better if you dropped all these files in person by putting them on a clean USB Thumb Drive. If you are unable to, you could send the files (as a zipped folder) via email (shajikhan@umsl.edu).
  • Put the printed versions in a folder arranged in the order required by the application form. Drop them off with Dr. Khan in Room 234 ESH. If mailing them, please use the following address:
Dr. Shaji Khan
234 Express Scripts Hall, One University Blvd.
University of Missouri-St. Louis
Saint Louis, MO 63121
  • ALL MATERIAL MUST BE SUBMITTED BEFORE  FEB 16, 2018, 5:00pm Central Time.
  • Contact Dr. Khan (shajikhan@umsl.edu | 314-489-9733) as many times as needed to be absolutely sure you have all the material, have fully completed all form fields, etc.