Cybersecurity Center Secures $4.1 Million Grant

The award provides scholarships for tuition and living expenses to students pursuing a degree in cybersecurity



The Center for Cybersecurity intends for the grant to attract new students to the program.


Fordham University’s Center for Cybersecurity received a $4.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to provide scholarships for all undergraduate and graduate students who wish to pursue a master’s degree in cybersecurity. Through this grant, the university will cover all tuition, living and insurance expenses for the selected students and guarantees that they will receive government jobs in cybersecurity after graduation. 

In December 2016, Fordham’s Center of Cybersecurity was founded with the goal of advancing academic and outreach programs and providing scholarships for students studying cybersecurity. It has been recognized by the National Security Agency and Homeland Security Designate as a National Center of Academic Excellence. 

The grant is not a research grant, rather its primary objective is to attract students to the program. As the data science and cybersecurity master’s degrees at Fordham are relatively new, these funded programs will allow Fordham to bring more students into the cybersecurity program and attract qualified students. 

According to Thaier Hayajneh, professor of computer and information science and founder of Fordham’s Center for Cybersecurity, the center is currently in the process of establishing the application for students to apply to receive the scholarship. This application will be open to all Fordham students who wish to pursue a Master of Science degree in cybersecurity.

Gary Weiss, associate professor of computer and information sciences and co-director of the grant, said the scholarship will allow students to earn a funded master’s degree in cybersecurity. The program can be completed over a span of three semesters, which students have 36 months to complete. This will prepare students for a computer science Ph.D. program, starting at Fordham next fall. In addition to getting a cybersecurity degree, students will be able to enroll in data science courses.

“The distinctive aspect of this grant from the others is to combine some data science programs since cybersecurity requires processing a lot of data, and (Fordham has) a masters in data science so we will try and leverage that background,” Weiss said.

“The great thing about this scholarship is that it opens the door for students to get that difficult first job in cybersecurity.” Thaier Hayajneh, professor of computer and information science

The requirements for a student to be eligible for the scholarship are that they must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, have a minimum 3.0 GPA in their undergraduate years and show a genuine interest in pursuing a master’s degree in cybersecurity. Students must also make a commitment to work with the federal government after graduation. 

Hayajneh hopes to expand the grant’s impact by creating different tracks in the security program in collaboration with other Fordham schools. Tracks would focus on the business and management of cybersecurity, intelligence and forensics of cybersecurity, policy, and law. 

“The great thing about this scholarship is that it opens the door for students to get that difficult first job in cybersecurity,” Hayajneh said. “Working in a government job would open a number of opportunities for students.”