Frequently Asked Questions

1. May I participate in this program either completely or partially online?
You must be a full-time student in a degree program at GW.  Currently, there is only one online program at GW that we accept scholarship applications for, and that is the online program in Cybersecurity Policy and Compliance offered by the GWU Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering.  While that program itself is completely online, CyberCorps scholarship students must, in addtion, attend in person the Signature Seminar one evening per week during the acdemic year.  So this is only practical for students who can commit to being in Washington one evening a week.


2. Of your applicants, how many do you grant scholarships to? How many of these are from underrepresented groups?
Typically, 25-50% of the individuals who submit complete applications and who meet all the basic criteria to qualify for the scholarship program are successful.

 

GW CYBERCORPS

Under-represented Men

Other Men

Women

TOTAL

Graduates as of May 2017

14

43

27

84

In program as of September 2017

2

8

6

16

Withdrew from program

0

1

1

2

TOTAL

16

52

34

102

Graduation Rate= 84/86 = 98%
Underrepresented Graduates / All Graduates = 41/84 = 49%
Women Graduates / All Graduates = 27/84 = 32%


3. I am about to graduate from a community college (or I am attending another university). Am I eligible?
Certain local community colleges have course equivalence tables with GW that should make planning to move on to a junior year at GW relatively painless. Students at a community college should contact their advisor to see if those exist for their school.

Several undergraduate majors at GW qualify for the CSIA scholarships. But if your destination department or source community college is not among them, or if you are attending another university as an undergraduate and wish to transfer, see https://undergraduate.admissions.gwu.edu/transfer-application-process. You can also contact the office of Undergraduate Admissions (contact information at the link above) or the proposed GW department for further information and help in planning to move forward with your higher education.

If you are currently a CyberCorps undergraduate at another institution, and wish to, after you graduate, go on for an advanced degree at GW, this is possible, provided that you apply and are admitted to GW and the total number of years paid for by the scholarship at both institutions does not exceed three.  Consult with one of the GW principal investigators well before the scholarship application deadline if this applies to you.


4. Is there any age limit? Do you consider nontraditional students for the scholarships?
There is no age limit, while most of our students in this program are traditional students or are recent graduates, some have been nontraditional students who have been out in the working world for a while and wanted to change their careers or pick up the degree they never earned. They have completed the program very successfully as well.


5. Can I take a junior semester or year abroad under this program?
As long as you can plan a program that fits in your required courses, including required courses for CSIA scholarship recipients, before you graduate, you may take a semester or year abroad. During that time, you would be "on leave" from the scholarship program and not receiving any monetary benefits from it.


6. Are permanent residents of the United States eligible for this program?
Yes, both US citizens and lawful permanent residents are elgible for this program.


7. If I am enrolled in GW's joint BS/MS program, what is the amount of my stipend?
It is paid at the undergraduate level until you obtain your bachelor's degree; then it is paid at the graduate level.


8. I would like to submit a recommendation from a supervisor for a volunteer position more related to information technology than my current actual supervisor, since I work in an unrelated field to {earn a living/put myself through school} and there isn't anyone from an employment relationship who can comment on my character and the skills that pertain to the scholarship. Is this OK?
Yes, that supervisor for the volunteer position would count as an employer.


9. I don't work in the field, and I think you might get a better picture of me from several recommenders. Can I ask more than two recommenders to fill out the form and mail it to you?
To keep the playing field equal for everyone, we want exactly two recommenders for each applicant. If you send in more than two, we will arbitrarily pick two, which is probably not in your interest. Take some time to figure out which two might present you in the best light.

We cannot suggest who are the best recommenders for you. The recommendation form asks recommenders to answer several questions, the majority of which are not related to cyber security and information assurance. If you have not worked in this field in the past or if they don't feel competent to assess your skills in those areas, they can skip those questions by indicating "inadequate opportunity to observe".


10. If I win the scholarship, can I start in the summer, be a full-time student for four consecutive semesters (summer, fall, spring, summer) without an internship, and then go on to a government job right after (August) graduation?
The internship is an integral part of the CyberCorps program. So if you accept, you have to plan your schedule to be a full-time student in the fall and spring, serve your internship in the summer, and then continue (or graduate). With approval of your advisor and the CyberCorps principal investigator, it is possible for the program to pay for summer courses you take that are relevant to your cyber security studies. However, the program will not pay a stipend or housing allowance in the summer months (June - August).


11. Must I start working for my government employer immediately after graduation?
It is fine to set your start date a couple of months after you graduate as long as it is okay with your employer. But after receiving an offer from an agency, do not then tell the agency, "Yes, but I cannot start for three months," since the agency may have to rescind the offer and look elsewhere for someone who can start immediately. Be up front when interviewing about what you would like and what you will accept.

Because of the sequestration crisis of 2013, and the resultant scarcity of available qualifying jobs (relative to a “normal” year) within the federal government, a few graduates accepted jobs in the private sector — but almost all have gone on to work for the federal government. They are not released from their service obligation.


12. It looks like you have to be accepted at GW before you can even apply for the scholarship. Is there a way to know that you have the scholarship before you actually enroll in the degree program?
We use the acceptance process as a first screen to eliminate applicants who are not qualified or not suitable for this program. The applicant who is serious about wanting to pursue the program has to invest the upfront fee (if any) in applying to cover the university's processing costs. Once applicants are accepted, the scholarship committee selects the ones with promise and interviews them either in person or by video connection. We consider that interview along with references, transcripts, etc. We select the recipients and notify them, typically in late March, so they have plenty of time to plan their life change that will start the following September. They must accept or decline within a month or two of notification.

Most finalists gladly accept the scholarship, of course. But we have had some decline it. For example, one person who would have had to relocate to Washington could not sell their house and couldn't afford the mortgage payments or stand the uncertainty of finding a renter; another's spouse got cold feet (so talk it over before you apply!).


13. Do you accept unofficial transcripts?
Transcripts from current institution and all previous institutions attended may be unofficial/scanned for the application package, but official (certified) transcripts will be required if applicant is selected for an interview related to the scholarship.


14. I am several years removed from my undergraduate degree. May I substitute recommendations from managers in industry for those from professors who may not remember me well?
At least one of your recommendation letters must be from a current faculty member [or a most current faculty member], and the second letter may be from either a current or former faculty member, or a current or former employer. In extraordinary cases where it is not feasible to satisfy this requirement, email the CSIA office and explain the situation, tell why it is not feasible, and propose an alternative.


15. I applied last year and was not accepted. This year I cannot access my application. Why?
Your account does not carry on from year to year. The PIN you received last year will not work this year. You will need to create a new account at the scholarship login page. If you are using the same email address as last year, you will need to confirm with the system that you are creating a duplicate account for this year.


16. I am currently a federal employee. Can I still apply?
The program is for full-time students. You cannot remain a full-time (or even half-time) federal employee. If you are already a full-time federal employee, check with your agency about opportunities to return to school as either a part-time or full-time student. Sometimes they will provide tuition support while allowing you to keep your job, and return to work for them during breaks in the academic year.

Please also consider the following before you apply:

  1. The salary range may not equal what you are currently making.
  2. You may be required to relocate — is this something you are willing to do?
  3. Is accepting the stipend going to cause a conflict of interest if you are already working on a federal contract?
  4. Your parent company ethics/legal office should be able to answer this.
  5. Will you be able to perform a summer internship? This could mean a leave of absence from your current job and/or relocation from your family and home.
  6. Note the work and time limitations above.

17. The listed requirements say that I must be at least a junior or higher to qualify for the scholarship, but I will only be a sophomore. Can I still apply?
No, this scholarship is only open to students who will be at least a junior in the following fall semester.


18. Is there an application fee to apply for this scholarship?
There is no fee to apply for the scholarship itself. However, you must have already submitted your separate application to GW (and paid any related fees) by the time you submit your SFS scholarship application.


19. What are the most important things that you would look for in applicants to see whether to accept them or not?
We get this question a lot, but there is no simple answer, since every applicant brings his or her own strengths and weaknesses. We are looking for strong students, as measured by academic transcripts, who have a demonstrated interest in cyber-security and an interest in working for the government and who will benefit from the educational experiences of our SFS program. The responses to the (essay) questions on the Scholarship Application, along with the other information on it, as well as reference letters give us the information we use to make decisions.


20.  Does the scholarship pay for health insurance?
Generally, no.  Often, students have health insurance plans under their parents' coverage.  GW does not require health insurance of all students.  However, ALL medical, on-campus nursing, on-campus Health Science, and ALL international students holding a J1 or F1 visa are required to carry student health insurance while they study at GW.  These students will be automatically enrolled in the GW Student Health Insurance Plan and must submit an opt-out waiver if they have another insurance plan that meets certain criteria.   If you are not in any of the groups above, then you are not required to carry student health insurance, and thus the program will not pay for health insurance.


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