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Underrepresented students can get full ride grants in the fall for sought-after program

COURTESY PHOTO: SURFACE FOR UNSPLASH - New cyber secuirty security scholarships at Mt. Hood Community College target students that are underrepresented in the field.

Mt. Hood Community College will offer full scholarships to underrepresented eligible cyber security students, thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation.

The five-year, $647,754 grant will provide scholarships to students beginning in the fall. In addition to the scholarships, the grant will pay for academic support and enrichment activities as students work toward an associate degree.

"There are clear benefits to the students who will receive these scholarships, but there will also be a broader positive economic impact to our communities driven by better access to high-wage, high-demand career opportunities in cyber security," Lisa Skari, college president said in the announcement.

The scholarships target cyber security students who are full- or part-time and come from populations underrepresented in the field by gender, race, ethnicity, language spoken, first-generation status and socioeconomic status.

"Making this an area that is accessible and of interest to a more diverse population of students is foundational to the success and future of cyber security," Wayne Machuca, MHCC cyber security professor said in an announcement.

The deadline to apply for the scholarships is March 31. Students must declare a major in computer information systems, cyber security: networking and security operations or cyber security: penetration testing, to be eligible.

Scholarship students must also take a college success strategies course and a foundational information technology class.

A faculty adviser will create a personalized academic plan with each student to ensure that they are meeting scholarship and program requirements and provide individualized support when needed.

The cyber scholarship students will be able to participate in extra-curricular activities related to their program, such as cyber security competitions, Portland Chapter of Information Systems Security meetings and events and the Portland Virtual Cyber Security Summit. The scholarship will cover all base costs, subscriptions, memberships and other expenses tied to these activities.

Cyber security experts are in high demand. Bureau of Labor statistics project that jobs will grow by 31% in the field through 2029, which is much faster than average. BLS said the median pay for an information security analyst in 2019 was $99,730 and they typically have a four-year degree.

This is the second grant benefitting cyber security education MHCC got in 2021. The college and various partners also recently received a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to expand access to cyber security and advanced manufacturing workforce training statewide.

MHCC was the first community college in Oregon to offer an associate of applied science degree in cyber security.

The MHCC Cyber Security and Networking program is acknowledged by the National Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security as a Center for Academic Excellence. The college is also home to the Oregon Center for Cyber Security, which provides access to Information Security and Information Assurance resources.


How to apply

Applications for the cyber security scholarship and more than 150 others at Mt. Hood Community College are due March 31.

The college will host online scholarship information sessions:

- 5:45-6:45 p.m. Wednesday, March 10

- 3-4 p.m. Tuesday, March 23

- 12:30-1:30 p.m. Friday, March 26

- 3-4 p.m. Monday, March 29

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