What is ASPIRE / SFS?
ASPIRE is a scholarship to assist in training the next generation of cybersecurity experts within the family of NYU schools, including NYU Tandon, NYU Wagner, NYU Stern, NYU Steinhardt, NYU Courant, and the NYU School of Law. It is funded by the Federal Scholarship for Service, a partnership between the National Science Foundation and the Department of Homeland Security to strengthen America’s information safety.

As an ASPIRE student, what courses will I take?
You will take courses corresponding to the degree program you enter into. However, your elective courses that are part of your degree requirements will be tailored to include cybersecurity courses with the guidance of an ASPIRE mentor.


Do I need to have a technical background?
If you are applying for an engineering degree program at Tandon, a strong technical background of computing is needed. However, if you are applying to other NYU schools, like NYU Wagner, NYU Stern, or NYU Steinhardt, some amount of technical knowledge is desirable.

Do I need to be a student at one of the NYU schools?
Yes, you must be a matriculated student by the time you are admitted into the ASPIRE program. To apply for an ASPIRE scholarship, you must have applied to, have been admitted to, or are already a student at NYU Tandon, NYU Courant, NYU Wagner, NYU Stern, NYU Steinhardt, or the NYU School of Law.

I am a freshman who would like to enroll in ASPIRE. Can I?
No, but you can apply in two years! ASPIRE is only for students who are two years from graduation: juniors in college, first-year master’s students, and PhD students with two years remaining before graduation.
Do I need to be a U.S. citizen to qualify for ASPIRE?

I was just admitted to an MS program at NYU starting Fall 2020. Can I apply? 


I am already an MS student at NYU. Can I apply?

Yes provided you are at least one and a half years away from graduation. In a few exceptional cases students 1 year away from graduation may also be admitted.

Is the ASPIRE scholarship for full time or part time students?

The ASPIRE scholarship is only available to students who enroll for a full-time on campus degree at NYU.

Are Permanent Residents (Green Card Holders) eligible for the ASPIRE scholarship?
No. You must be a U.S. citizen to receive ASPIRE scholarship.

I’m interested in information security, but my background is in law, business, policy, or another non-technical discipline. Should I apply for the scholarship?
Yes. The program can help you obtain the needed knowledge in information security.

I’m interested in law, business, policy, or another non-technical discipline, but my background is technical. Should I apply for the scholarship?

Yes. You are exactly the type of professional the federal government is looking for. However, you must take a few technical courses to complete the ASPIRE program. These courses will be designed with your background in mind.

After graduation am I placed into a position or would I seek the partner organization and position of my choosing?

You will have to seek placement in federal organizations yourself. However, you will be greatly supported by the SFS faculty to help you with the same.

If I were to receive funding for only 1 year will I still need to dedicate 2 years?

 You will receive funding based on the number of years you have remaining towards your degree completion. So, such a situation is unlikely to arise until and unless someone is unable to maintain their eligibility for the scholarship.

Which degrees within Tandon and NYU in general fall under the applicable graduate degrees of study?

Any MS degree in Tandon as a full-time on-campus student makes you eligible to apply to the ASPIRE scholarship. Traditionally most students funded have been MS CS or MS cybersecurity.  But we also have funded students from other programs at NYU provided they have sufficient background and are willing to specialize in cybersecurity as it applies to their own discipline.

When is the application period for ASPIRE? I see that Tandon applications for full-time MS are closed for Fall 2021, so I am looking at future semesters.

There is a rolling deadline for ASPIRE. To receive the scholarship you should have been admitted to the MS program separately. Domestic students do get deadline extensions for application to MS programs. 

I’m interested in information security and my background is technical—but I’m not interested in other non-technical discipline. Should I apply for the scholarship?
Yes. Many students in our program fit this description and it is not a problem to pursue a purely technical program of study.

I see that three letters of recommendation are required. Is there anyone specific those letters should come from (I.E., professors, employers, etc.)?
Letters from professors are best, but letters from employers are also welcome.

How should the letters be submitted?
Letters can be emailed to us directly at

If I submit a hard copy of the application, what should I produce for the statement of application to NYU?
Write and sign a document stating that you have applied to NYU and include that with your application packet.

When can I expect to hear back about my ASPIRE application?
Within two to four weeks of application submission.


Are there requirements I must meet while enrolled as an ASPIRE scholar?
BS students must maintain a GPA of 3.0, and MS students, a 3.5.

The SFS FAQ mentions a mandatory internship. Does ASPIRE require that I serve this internship?
Yes. All SFS (ASPIRE) students must participate in an internship during the first summer of their two years enrolled in the program. For more details on the ASPIRE internship please see the SFS FAQ.

Is there a post-graduate employment commitment for ASPIRE?
Yes. You are obligated to work for two years at a federal agency after graduation. This means you must be able to meet the criteria for federal employment, including security clearances. (For more details on the federal employment commitment, please see the SFS FAQ.)


What sort of jobs will ASPIRE prepare me for?
ASPIRE will prepare you for jobs at various levels in the federal government. See a list of organizations where our alumni have been placed.
Will ASPIRE graduates receive assistance with job placement?
Yes. The ASPIRE team, as well as the SFS team, will assist you in job placement. ASPIRE receives recruitment visits from federal agencies. There is also an annual job fair organized by DHS and NSF to help place SFS students (ASPIRE is the SFS program hosted at NYU).
What are the terms of the ASPIRE award?
Recipients of the ASPIRE scholarship will receive full tuition and 9 month stipend of $25, 000 per year for undergraduate students, $34,000 for master’s degree students, $34,000 per year for doctoral students, and many other benefits (SFS funding may vary from program to program).


Do you charge an application fee for ASPIRE?
No, there is no application fee.
What is the tax status of my ASPIRE scholarship?
Please refer to the IRS publication regarding the taxability of scholarships.