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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When are applications for the SWSIS scholarships due?

A: Applications are accepted by a February 1 deadline of each year, for scholarships to start the following academic year. The application site opens in early December for a mid-December to February 1 application window. Decisions are finalized in mid-April.

Q: It is my first semester in the graduate program, so I technically do not have any class records in my transcript for this campus.

A: Please include a copy of your class schedule, to show that you are an enrolled student, even though you don’t have a transcript yet.

Q: I hope to enroll in a masters program next year, but I have not yet been accepted. Am I eligible to apply?

A: Yes, so long as you meet the other criteria. Before an award is made, we will verify that you will in fact be in a suitable masters program. Please include a statement about your plans in your essay, and list the programs to which you have applied.

Q: Can a student in a two year master’s program apply in their second year, having already completed the first year of the program?

A: If you will be in your second year of your two-year Master’s program in the upcoming Academic Year, then you are eligible. If you will be finished with the second year by the time the scholarship is awarded, then you are not eligible to apply.

Q: I am a first-year undergraduate in computer engineering. I don’t know yet whether I am interested in security – could I get a scholarship?

A: Probably not – you need to be a junior or senior or in a Master’s program next school year, plus already have security coursework in your studies, have held a security-related job, or otherwise exhibit security interest (e.g., through a club).

Q: I have a BS in another field, now I am back at community college taking classes in LInux and Cisco so that I can get some certifications. Would I be eligible to apply for this scholarship?

A: Probably not – our goal is to encourage security education, not training, and certifications fall in the “training” category.

Q: I am earning an Associate Degree. Am I eligible?

A: No.  You must be earning a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree to be eligible.

Q: I’m pursuing a BA, not a BS. Am I eligible?

A: Yes, any Bachelors’ program, including BA, BS, BEng, etc., is acceptable for a SWSIS scholarship, assuming that you meet the other qualifications.

Q: I’m pursuing a PhD. Am I eligible?

A: No. This program is only for undergraduates and masters students.

Q: I am enrolled in an Information Security certificate program – am I eligible to apply for a SWSIS Scholarship?

A: Most likely not, as we do not support student in certificate programs, unless they’re also degree programs (Bachelors’ or Masters’ degree).

Q: What topic areas constitute “information security”?

A: We have a broad interpretation of the field. Some relevant areas include:

This list is not comprehensive. Please ask if unsure whether a topic qualifies.

Q: Who selects the scholars who will receive an award?

A: An award committee of academics and industry members review applications and recommend recipients, subject to review and approval by an ACSA committee.

Q: How are applications evaluated? Are letters of recommendation important?

A: Letters of recommendation are one of the factors we consider, along with essays, transcripts, and resumes (e.g., clubs, honors, internships), along with diversity factors.  There is no fixed weighting among the inputs, but all are important.

Q: I am participating in an online program, not an on-campus program. Am I eligible?

A: Students in online degree programs offered by US institutions are eligible, so long as all of the other eligibility criteria are met.

Q: What do selected scholars receive?

A: Fnds are paid directly to your account at your university for tuition, books, etc. Selected scholars will be invited to attend security conferences and events held by ACSA and sponsor organizations (expenses will be paid for winners who choose to attend) and will have opportunities to participate in career mentoring programs organized by our sponsors.

Q: What are your essay requirements? How long should my essay be?

A: The essay should be no more than one page or 500 words. It should include information about your past interest and involvement in the field of cybersecurity, including academic, employment, or extra-curricular involvement in the field, and your career goals, including educational and professional plans relating to the field. Explain why you are interested in the field, and any specific areas within the field that are of interest to you.