On Monday, Aug. 13 Rep. Pete Aguilar’s bill to connect students of color with the Department of Defense (DoD) Cyber Scholarship Program, the OPPORTUNITY Act, was signed into law by President Trump as part of H.R. 5515, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019. The new law will help students who attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs) access the Cyber Scholarship Program.
“We know that cyber threats to our national security are ongoing, and we need to make sure that we have the most highly qualified cyber defense force anywhere in the world. I’m proud that my bill was signed into law because it will make sure that communities where these types of opportunities haven’t traditionally been available will not be overlooked as the Department of Defense builds the next generation of our nation’s cyber defense experts,” said Rep. Aguilar.
The Department of Defense Cyber Scholarship Program was restarted last year when Rep. Aguilar secured $5 million for the program through the Department of Defense Appropriations bill. As a result of that funding, 40 students across the country, including two at California State University, San Bernardino, received full tuition, a $30,000 annual stipend, a paid summer internship with a federal defense agency, and civilian employment with the Department of Defense upon graduation from the program. This year, Rep. Aguilar secured an additional $2 million in funding for the program, raising the total funding level to $7 million.