National Science Foundation Director France Cordova addresses a news conference. The NSF is proposing a regulation that would allow it to take over management of student loans for the Cyber-Scholarship-for-Service program. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)The National Science Foundation is proposing a new regulation that would allow the agency to take over management of student loans for the Cyber-Scholarship-for-Service program, something they say would allow for more favorable repayment terms for students who fail to meet the program’s requirements.
The program is designed to build a direct pipeline between college students at top cybersecurity programs around the country and government service. The awards are doled out to help colleges and universities fund their own cyber scholarship programs, with the stipulation that students promise to finish their degree within five years and commit to working for a federal, state, local or tribal government for at least as long as their scholarship.
It also gives federal agencies special authorities to noncompetitively hire selected scholars to full-time positions the government, or shorter-term positions that can later be converted to full time without opening up the job to other candidates.
However, in the event that a student does not complete their degree within five years, exceeds borrowing limits spelled out in federal law or is non-responsive to the school, it prevents the school from converting that debt into a direct unsubsidized loan (or Stafford Loan) and “results with participants being required to submit a one-time payment to NSF or being sent to Treasury for collection action.”
In a proposed regulation scheduled to be posted in tomorrow’s Federal Register, the agency proposed that the NSF take over as direct managers of the loans and move decisions about converting them to Stafford loans from individual schools to the agency and Department of Education.
“After discussions with the Department of Education, NSF is proposing that the conversion of the scholarship to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan will be done by NSF in collaboration with the Department of Education rather than by an academic institution,” the agency wrote.