Homeland Security Student Resources, Scholarships, and Support Services

Get the help you deserve paying for college and succeeding in your homeland security degree program with these top scholarships, resources and student support services.

Last Updated: 11/30/2020

If you want to keep American citizens and interests safe, chances are you’ve considered a homeland security program (or are already enrolled in one). But with rising college costs, you may need some help paying for school. There are plenty of ways to get that help if you know where to look. This page lists more than 15 top scholarships that can help make your homeland security degree affordable. You’ll also find dozens of resources and learn about college support services that can help make your time in college a positive experience that positions you well for future career endeavours.

Campus and Online Support Resources for Homeland Security Students

When working towards a homeland security degree, many colleges offer academic, career, and financial resources to benefit you both during school and after graduation. Finishing college and starting your homeland career can be challenging, but the journey having the support you need along the way makes it easier. The following sections examine where to find homeland security-specific services.

University Student Support Centers and Services

Besides general services available to all students, some universities provide tailored resources for homeland security learners. Offerings vary based on individual colleges, making it essential you do your research. The two schools highlighted below provide examples of what you may encounter, but other services could include specific financial aid services, technology services for cybersecurity coursework, and/or tutoring.

1

Syracuse University

At Syracuse University, learners can access several student services provided by the Institute for Security Policy and Law. As you prepare to graduate and start thinking about next steps, the institute offers several resources related to careers in national and international security.

Some of the services currently available include search tips for finding homeland security careers and creating an impressive resume, information using the USAJobs governmental website effectively, and details on career and internship websites that commonly post homeland security positions. Students can also find information on getting research published.

2

Virginia Commonwealth University

The L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University offers several degree-specific support services for students, including undergraduate research opportunities and specialized advising.

Each student is paired with an academic advisor, who can help with both general and degree-specific course advising. Advisors can also provide advice on both career and graduate school options. Both campus-based and online students can make appointments by contacting the department.

Articles, Videos, Books and Podcasts for Homeland Security Students and Professionals

Center for Homeland Defense and Security The CHDS provides a list of books for students and professionals in the homeland security field. Use this list to develop a broad understanding of the discipline and stay abreast of changes.

Department of Homeland Security Podcasts The DHS provides a podcast focused on giving departmental updates, sharing interviews with staff members, and addressing DHS priorities.

Homeland Security Digital Library Use this resource to find publications, videos, and other digitized resources related to the study and implementation of homeland security practices and protocols.

Turning Education and Experience into a Career This DHS article highlights how your skills – even if you didn’t study homeland security in college – can translate to a meaningful role at the agency.

What Can You Do with a Degree in Homeland Security? This guide highlights some of the many domestic and international jobs available after completing a homeland security degree. It also tells what you can expect to learn along the way.

Homeland Security Professional Associations and Student Organizations

Information Systems Security Association International Joining ISSA can benefit you greatly if you work (or plan to work) in cybersecurity. Membership offers resources, career support, and local chapters.

Global Society of Homeland Security Professionals Joining GSHSP provides access to several certification programs, in-person training, digital webinars, and industry updates. You can also receive discounts on these services.

International Association for Counterterrorism & Security Professionals Members of IACSP can take advantage of continuing education opportunities, an annual symposium, a range of online and in-person events, and several different products.

National Homeland Security Association The NHSA organizes an annual national conference attended by thousands of homeland security professionals throughout the country. Though online for 2020 because of COVID-19, members can access videos of roundtables, keynotes, etc.

Order of the Sword & Shield This order acts as the academic and professional honor society for all homeland security disciplines. Read about eligibility and application requirements online.

Homeland Security Social Media and Online Communities

Juliette Kayyem Twitter Kayyem previously worked at the DHS and is now a Harvard University professor and CNN analyst. Follow her account to gain insight into the state of the field.

r/DHS This Reddit community offers interaction with individuals interested in the Department of Homeland Security. It’s a place to ask questions and network.

Seasoned Cyber Security Professionals The SCSP Facebook group maintains a membership of more than 22,000 and offers networking, support, career counseling, and resources.

Support Resources for Students in Online Homeland Security Programs

COVID-19 escalated the number of homeland security students completing degrees online, making it even more important to have support resources for distance learning. Whether taking advantage of services offered specifically by your college or finding resources designed by other organizations, all of these can help ensure success as a distance learner.

DHS Homeland Security Careers The DHS provides student programs in cybersecurity, including the Secretary’s Honors Program Cyber Student Intern Program for current undergraduate students wanting to gain necessary experience before graduating.

Opportunities and Resources Campbell University offers several travel opportunities for students. Students, travelling with instructors, visit places such as the FBI, DHS, and DEA in America or key security sites in Europe.

Pursuing Your Homeland Security Degree Online This resource provides information for prospective and current students looking to learn more about homeland security, identify top schools, and find out about careers in the field.

Student Guide to Online Learning Success The Student Training & Education in Public Service website provides support tools and services to help online homeland security learners thrive.

The Online Student’s Guide to Time Management Transitioning to online learning, especially if you were previously campus-based, can be challenging as a homeland security student. Use this guide to learn what it takes to succeed in distance learning.

College-Sponsored Homeland Security Scholarships

Finding a college or university offering a homeland security scholarship is an excellent option because you face less competition for the award. If you’re unsure whether a prospective school provides homeland security-specific scholarships, contact the financial aid office, get in touch with the program director, or check the general scholarship and/or departmental website for details.

The universities and scholarships highlighted below provide a glimpse of school-based funding available for homeland security students.

1

State University of New York at Albany

Attending Albany’s College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security, and Cybersecurity makes you eligible for three different departmental scholarships. The Jan A. Maas Scholarship in Cybersecurity, NYS Cyber Security Conference Scholarship, and H.W. Wilson Scholarship all support learners within the department, including homeland security students. Amounts for awards vary, and an admissions counselor can tell you how much to expect from each.


NYS Cyber Security Conference Scholarship

Amount

Varies

Deadline

With enrollment application

Eligibility

Undergraduate and graduate students within the department can apply if they can demonstrate proven academic excellence. Learners are not currently required to show financial need.

How to Apply

Consideration for this award comes when applying to the school. You must demonstrate an interest in cybersecurity, so emphasize this in your school application.

2

Goodwin University

The Public Safety & Security Department at Goodwin University in Connecticut rewards new students and dedicated public service employees alike by providing a 25% tuition scholarship. You can use this award towards associate degrees in homeland security and criminal justice or for a bachelor’s degree in public safety and security. Applicants for this award must currently work in a public service position. Funding is only applicable toward tuition.


25% Tuition Scholarship

Amount

25% off tuition

Deadline

With enrollment application

Eligibility

Undergraduate students currently working in law enforcement, corrections, fire service, emergency management, homeland security, and/or private security can apply.

How to Apply

When turning in your general application to the school, you must supply current proof of employment in an approved public service field.

Private Scholarships for Homeland Security Students

Many different nonprofits, professional associations, foundations, and colleges offer scholarships for homeland security students. Amounts can vary substantially, and most tend to be competitive but less so than general awards. Some of the top homeland security scholarships are detailed below.

Amount

$1,000

Deadline

7/1/21 (annual)

Eligibility

Must be a graduate student working towards a degree in intelligence, international relations, or a related subject.

How to Apply

Submit a cover letter, resume, academic transcript, one letter of recommendation, and information about your current college by email or regular mail.

Amount

$10,000

Deadline

2/31/21 (Annual)

Eligibility

Provided by the Lint Center for National Security Studies, this award is available to undergraduates enrolled full time at an accredited school and studying homeland security, counterintelligence, or a related topic.

How to Apply

In addition to a completed application, students must write an essay outlining a critical national security issue.

Amount

Up to $25,000 per year

Deadline

10/15/21 (annual)

Eligibility

Graduate students who can work at the Washington, DC agency for at least 60-90 days before graduation can apply if they possess a 3.0 or higher GPA, are enrolled full-time, and show financial need.

How to Apply

Required materials include official transcripts, an essay, letters of recommendation, and evidence of a commitment to working in national security.

Amount

$1,200

Deadline

7/1/21 (annual)

Eligibility

Apply for this award if you’re working towards an undergraduate degree and plan on finding a job inside the U.S. Intelligence Community.

How to Apply

Application materials include academic transcripts, an updated resume, a letter of recommendation, and a statement on your plans to protect national security after graduating.

Amount

Up to $34,000 per year

Deadline

Varies (annual)

Eligibility

Undergraduate and graduate students planning to work in cybersecurity can apply provided they study full-time and attend a participating university. They must also complete a Washington DC-based internship.

How to Apply

Applicants must provide evidence of U.S. citizenship, obtain a security clearance, and meet federal employment requirements.

Amount

Up to $25,000

Deadline

2/3/21 (annual)

Eligibility

Must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program integral to U.S. National Security. This includes homeland security. Must also agree to work for the Departments of Defense or Homeland Security after graduation.

How to Apply

Show evidence of planning an overseas program in an approved country and include official transcripts, employment history, and a list of relevant activities.

Amount

$1,000

Deadline

7/15/21 (annual)

Eligibility

Students working toward an associate or bachelor’s degree in homeland security, emergency management, disaster preparedness, or a similar degree can apply.

How to Apply

Application materials include official sealed transcripts, proof of enrollment, responses to two essay questions on career aspirations, and three letters of reference.

Amount

$1,500

Deadline

7/31/21 (annual)

Eligibility

Students working towards careers in counterintelligence, international affairs, and/or national security can apply. Children of professionals employed in these fields can also apply.

How to Apply

Demonstrate a commitment to leadership development, academic excellence, innovation, and creative solutions in homeland security.

Amount

$1,000

Deadline

7/31/20 (Annual)

Eligibility

Be accepted to or currently enrolled in a program focused on homeland security, counterintelligence, or a related field of national security.

How to Apply

Applications include an 800-word essay discussing the use of diplomacy in addressing international conflicts.

Amount

$3,000

Deadline

4/30/21 (annual)

Eligibility

Women and minority students working towards graduate degrees in homeland security or a related topic can apply if they are in at least their second semester.

How to Apply

Provide a brief statement on relevant work experience, current transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and an undergraduate transcript.

Amount

$1,000

Deadline

(annual)

Eligibility

The Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society provides this award to students pursuing an associate degree in homeland security, criminal justice, public administration, or a related field. They must possess a 3.5 or higher GPA.

How to Apply

Demonstrate completion of at least six credits per semester, be a member of PTK, and demonstrate completion of at least 50% of required coursework.

Amount

$2,000

Deadline

7/1/21 (annual)

Eligibility

Children of law enforcement officers killed or permanently disabled while performing their duties can apply with preference given to those studying criminology or related subjects. Must either be from New York or enrolled in an accredited program in the state.

How to Apply

Required materials include official academic transcripts, proof of full-time enrollment, evidence of achievements, a personal essay, and three letters of recommendation.

Amount

$1,500

Deadline

5/1/21 (annual)

Eligibility

Women working towards a bachelor’s degree in homeland security, law enforcement, public safety, or criminal justice can apply if they are at least in their sophomore year.

How to Apply

Application materials include transcripts demonstrating a minimum 3.0 GPA, 500-word essay on community commitment, statement of support, and proof of U.S. citizenship.

Amount

$5,000

Deadline

6/1/21 (annual)

Eligibility

Must possess a four-year degree from an accredited school and plan to participate in a polygraph examiner training program approved by the American Polygraph Association.

How to Apply

Show evidence of a degree and acceptance to a polygraph program and supply a 1,000-word essay and at least two letters of recommendation.

Amount

Up to $16,000

Deadline

7/15/21 (annual)

Eligibility

Women working towards an undergraduate or graduate degree in homeland security, cybersecurity, international relations, or a related topic can apply if they are at least juniors and can show financial need.

How to Apply

Show a minimum GPA of 3.25, at least 60 credits completed, financial need, and a demonstrated interest in working in defense and/or national security.

Tips for Winning a Homeland Security Scholarship

Receiving free money for college involves impressing the awarding committee. This requires careful planning, showing how you differ from other candidates, avoiding costly mistakes, and highlighting your skills and abilities. The tips below can help make you stand out.

  • Tip #1: Be Specific
    Demonstrate, don’t just express, your interest in homeland security by discussing what led you to pursue a career in the field. Detail specific areas of interest, such as counterintelligence or cybersecurity.
  • Tip #2: Make Yourself a Resource
    Discuss how you plan to use the funds, what you want to accomplish after graduating, and how you plan impact the homeland security field. This shows awarding committees you will represent them well in the future.
  • Tip #3: Proofread
    Avoid careless mistakes. Review your application materials carefully and, if possible, ask a trusted advisor to proofread them as well.
  • Tip #4: Start Early
    Expect increased competition as more learners pursue homeland security and related degrees. Identify awards for which you qualify and apply as soon as possible.
  • Tip #5: Talk About Any Applicable Military Experience
    Highlight any military experience in all your applications. This experience likely provided you with insight and knowledge about national security other applicants won’t possess.

Other Ways to Get Help Paying for College as a Homeland Security Student

Scholarships provide an excellent option for covering school since they don’t require repayment, but many other options exist for additional help. Some additional programs available to homeland security students include:

  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness: If you find employment with a government agency or nonprofit organization, you may be able to have some of your loans paid off after making 120 qualifying payments.
  • Federal Opportunities: Agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense offer opportunities to earn funding or have loans repaid if you commit to working for an agency for a set amount of time.

Other general options to consider include student loans, tuition reimbursement from employers, fellowships, and work-study funding.