ST. CLOUD - St. Cloud State University has earned a $2.78 million scholarship award to train government cybersecurity professionals.

The Scholarship for Service is from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Homeland Security.

The five-year grant will give two-year scholarships for six students starting this fall. St. Cloud State will award the scholarships to the top three undergraduate students in information technology security and information assurance. Tirthankar Ghosh is the director of the information technology security program, he says the students will be required to work in government cybersecurity for two years after graduation.

"This money is being invested by the government in these future cybersecurity professionals, these students are legally obligated to serve their government after the program."

Students will be able to work for federal, state, local or tribal government in a cybersecurity role.

The grant certifies St. Cloud State as a member of the Cybercorps Service Community, made up of around 55 Universities across the country working to train cybersecurity professionals.

Tirthankar Ghosh (Dan DeBaun, WJON)

Online data breaches have increased drastically over the past several years. Recent breaches at Target, Dairy Queen and Sony have compromised data for millions. Cyber warfare is also increasing worldwide as technology becomes more widespread and sophisticated, creating a higher demand for security professionals.

Ghosh says cybersecurity concerns have drastically grown over the last 10-15 years.

"You combine things together-you have people with malicious intent, you have nation states with malicious intent, you have advanced technology, you have more sophistication...my sense is this is going to grow worse,"

Ghosh says there's also huge social value in using technology and cybersecurity to improve the lives of people around the world.

"Students could be designing programs to help vulnerable people, there's a psychology of people that's being involved in cybersecurity."

St. Cloud State will also form a Community Cybersecurity team with the students to bring awareness of cybersecurity isses to the community through seminars, workshops and talks to area schools, teachers and counselors.

For more on the scholarship and program, go to the SCSU website.

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