The National Cyber Scholarship Competition for college students

Practice, qualify and compete in the high school competition and win up to $21,000 of coveted cybersecurity certification opportunities.

Coming Soon

Trial some example challenges in the Practice Arena. Launching September 10, 2021.

01 | Train

CyberStart interface graphic

Build your skills, help yourself advance and prepare for the competition with Cyber FastTrack.

Claim your free access to train with the world-renowned CyberStart platform via Cyber FastTrack. Explore over 200 unique security challenges and learn with an extensive field manual featuring video demos! Whether you are a beginner or already know your stuff, you'll build your skillset by playing fun challenges designed and built by an expert team of security professionals.

Practice arena interface graphic

Trial last year's challenges and get a taste for the competition in the Practice Arena.

Anyone can now gain access to the 2021 competition challenges, to play through at their own pace and prepare for future competitions!

The Practice Arena will be launching September 10, 2021.

"It was a great experience. I loved the level of challenge, since it shows me how much I still have to learn."

Photo of Owen

Owen, New Hampshire

02 | Qualify

Register by March 31, 2022 if you meet one of the following qualifying pathways!

CFT icon

Score 15,000 points in CyberStart via Cyber FastTrack.

PicoCTF icon

Score 1,000 points or rank within the top 40% of teams on the U.S. College Competition Scoreboard in picoCTF.

All college players must be at least 18 years old and be a student at a US college. For full eligibility criteria visit our knowledge base.

03 | Compete

You're qualified and ready to compete. Here’s what you need to know!

Key dates

October 5, 2021: Registration opens for Cyber FastTrack where you can train and qualify for the competition!

March 31, 2022: The cutoff date to qualify and register for the National Cyber Scholarship Competition through one of the qualifying pathways.

April 21 – 23, 2022: National Cyber Scholarship Competition 2022.


The competition will be conducted fully online, so you can participate from home, school, or anywhere where you have access to a reliable internet connection and the necessary equipment.

You'll need:

A computer with VMware or Virtual Box.

A reliable Internet connection.

Chrome or Firefox browser.

Unrestricted access to browser developer tools/settings (e.g. View Source or Inspect Element or scripting abilities).

04 | Win

There are three tiers of awards available to college students. Each tier will be awarded with a digital badge to recognize your achievements!

National Cyber Scholar badge

National Cyber Scholar

Up to 400 college scholarships of $1,000 will be awarded to the top-performing eligible students. These are available for undergraduate study only, and can be used to pursue cybersecurity training at any U.S. college of higher education.

Additional scholarships may be available through sponsorship from colleges, corporate partners, or philanthropic organizations.

"It's an honor to win a prize that will help me jumpstart my career."

Photo of Arafat

Arafat, New York

National Cyber Scholarship Finalist badge

National Cyber Scholarship Finalist

Finalist status will be awarded to those who achieve high scores in the National Cyber Scholarship Competition, but do not qualify for a scholarship.

Finalists will gain free access to the Cyber Foundations Academy taking place in Summer 2022. This multi-week online program is centered around the nationally recognized SANS Cyber Foundations online training course (with one certification attempt), worth over $3,000, plus a program of supporting enrichment activities including talks by America’s top cybersecurity experts with tech updates, and employers on cyber careers.

"The scholarship prize is definitely a nice bonus in addition to all the knowledge I have gained."

Photo of Devashree

Devashree, Delaware

National Cyber Scholarship Semifinalist badge

National Cyber Scholarship Semifinalist

Anyone who meets one of the qualifying criteria will have their impressive achievement recognized with a Semifinalist digital badge.

This verified credential can be added to an online portfolio, résumé or college application, displayed on LinkedIn, or shared on social media to celebrate the achievement.

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Further scholarship opportunities

Selected students who complete the training and certification for the SANS Foundations course during the Cyber Foundations Academy will then be invited to apply for a scholarship to the SANS Undergraduate Certificate in Applied Cybersecurity (ACS), based on their performance across the NCS Competition and the Cyber Foundations Academy.

Applications will be reviewed holistically by the SANS Technology Institute admissions team, looking not only at scores from the CTF and Foundations course, but also academic history, responses to application questions, and the potential impact the scholarship could have on a student's career.

Further eligibility criteria apply for these opportunities. For more information visit our knowledge base.


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