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Symantec to fund security scholarship

Responding to a shortage of qualified pros in its field, the security technology company will fund a $50,000 graduate fellowship at Purdue University's computer-security center.

Responding to a shortage of qualified professionals in its field, security technology company Symantec will fund a two-year, $50,000 graduate fellowship at Purdue University for a student at the school's computer-security center.

The scholarship, announced Monday, will pay $25,000 a year toward tuition and other expenses for a single student at Purdue's Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security. Symantec doesn't plan to make the fellowship a permanent fixture at Purdue, but the company will offer it to a second student in 2004.

"We have seen a huge shortfall in security professionals throughout the country," said Steve Trilling, senior director for research at Symantec. "It is to the benefit of everyone to have more security professionals."

The move comes as U.S. officials focus more attention on the alarming lack of well-trained security workers. Funding education of future network administrators first became a priority under the Clinton administration, and just last week, President Bush signed the Cyber Security Research and Development Act, which will fund research and education in network security to the tune of hundreds of million of dollars over the next five years.

The Bush Administration's National Strategy for Securing Cyberspace urged Congress to increase funding of the U.S. Office of Personal Management's Cyber Corps Scholarship For Service program, which--like the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) scholarships--funds college education in exchange for later government service.

While Symantec's scholarship

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is a relatively minor contribution to such initiatives, Trilling hoped that other companies would follow suit.

"We are seeing more and more of the public-private cooperation in the security space," he said.

The application deadline for the scholarship is March 1, 2003.