National Science Foundation Awards $4M to Grand Rapids’ Davenport University for Cybersecurity Scholarships

Davenport University in Grand Rapids has received a five-year, $4 million grant from the National Science Foundation to train cybersecurity experts as part of its CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program.
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Davenport University
Davenport University has received $4 million for scholarships for students studying cybersecurity. // Photo courtesy of Davenport University

Davenport University in Grand Rapids has received a five-year, $4 million grant from the National Science Foundation to train cybersecurity experts as part of its CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program.

Led by Lonnie Decker and Mark McKinnon of Davenport University and Andrew Rozema of Grand Rapids Community College, the program will provide 28 students with scholarships that cover their full tuition, any education-related fees, and living costs for their junior or senior year.

It also extends coverage to sophomores at Grand Rapids Community College, a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Two-Year Education. In return, graduates are guaranteed a full-time cybersecurity role at a government entity.

Those interested in the scholarship can apply here.

“Collaborating with community partners creates more opportunities for our students to gain in-demand skills in growing and evolving fields, including cybersecurity,” says Bill Pink, president of Grand Rapids Community College. “We’re proud to be a partner with the National Science Foundation and Davenport University – and also our local high schools to inspire the students of the future.”

As part of the program, participating students will mentor local high school students interested in cybersecurity careers. They will also travel to a national cybersecurity conference and complete a paid summer internship with a federal, state, local, or tribal government organization.

“Programs like this that support students in their career and educational pathways lend a great hand to helping reach our goal of 60 percent of Michigan high school graduates earning a credential or degree after high school by 2030,” says Doug Ross, adviser on economic prosperity for Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “And when students are supported on a path to earn these credentials, employers gain a highly-skilled talent pool to fill the 545,000 jobs coming open through 2026, and the state grows closer to filling the skills gap. It’s a win-win.”

According to cyberseek.org, an estimated 300,000 cybersecurity jobs will remain unfilled across the country. In the last year, the U.S. has seen an 11 percent increase in security breaches, according to the 2019 Cybercrime Study conducted by Accenture.

“With a large number of open positions and growing security attacks, the need to strengthen and address the cybersecurity talent pipeline is more important than ever,” says Richard Pappas, president of Davenport University. “This grant validates the quality education Davenport University provides and the confidence the federal government has in our ability to deliver the talent needed to address one of our nation’s most pressing issues in cybersecurity.”

Davenport has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security since 2011, one of nine schools in the state to receive the designation. The university is also one of 16 institutions nationally to be recognized as a Center of Digital Forensics Academic Excellence by the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center.

Davenport was founded in 1866 and is a private nonprofit university with about 7,500 students at campuses across Michigan and online.

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