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OMB # 3206-0246
Expires: 9/19/2021

Agency Official: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • The SFS program is important to Government agencies because it helps them obtain the talent they need to protect their information systems. Upon graduation, participants must serve at a Federal, State, Local or Tribal Government, an interstate agency, or State, Local, or Tribal government-affiliated non-profit that is considered to be critical infrastructure for a period equivalent to the length of the scholarship or one year, whichever is longer. This service must be in a position concerned with information assurance/cybersecurity. During their period of service, participants join the agency's cadre of professionals that protect its critical information systems infrastructure.

  • The SFS program is modeled after other successful programs and borrows some of their best features. For example, much like the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program, top-level students are nominated by their institutions. The internship offers the student-agency bonding opportunity of the co-op work experiences. The scholarships and stipends serve a similar purpose as that of the recruiting bonuses and retention allowances government agencies may use to attract top talent.

  • A student must serve for a period equivalent to the length of the scholarship or one year, whichever is longer. An academic year (i.e., the fall and spring semesters) is equivalent to a calendar year of employment. If the student is funded for two academic years, he or she must serve at a Government agency in a covered position for two calendar years. If the student is funded for one academic year or less (e.g., only one semester), he or she must serve for one calendar year.

  • The National Science Foundation awards the grants for the scholarships to the selected colleges and universities. The Government agencies that choose to participate by hiring program participants bear none of the cost for the scholarships.

  • Agency Officials from Government agencies can register on this website and conduct student and resume searches. Agencies can contact directly those students they are interested in for the purpose of recruitment and/or interviewing.

  • In December, 2014, POTUS signed into law the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-274). Section 302 addresses SFS specifically and states that agencies appoint CyberCorps®:SFS participants into the excepted service and then once they complete their obligation they can be noncompetitively converted to career conditional. Because this is law and it does not state that OPM will regulate this, there will be no additional guidance/policy set by OPM so the agency can determine how to apply this. When making appointments (for both internships and post-graduation employment) agencies should cite the statute as the legal authority, and use the general Nature of Action (NOA) code for excepted appointments based on a law (these are described in the guide to processing personnel actions, GPPA). When converting them, agencies would again cite the statute as the legal authority and consult the GPPA for the appropriate NOA for conversions. It would be left to the agency to track the appointments to know when you can convert them. It would also be left to agencies to set any internal policy on making appointments under this law. For additional information please email the OPM SFS Program Office, SFS.

  • In general, students with a bachelor’s degree and superior academic achievement may be appointed at the GS-7 level. Master’s degree recipients may be appointed at the GS-9 level and recipients of a doctorate degree may be appointed at the GS-11 level. However, agencies can hire students at whatever grade level they find them qualified for based on the position and agency guidelines.

  • No. The student may serve the internship at another government agency.

  • There is no legal or regulatory basis to prevent an agency from making an offer of employment to a student who served the internship at another government agency even if the student is currently on the latter's rolls.

  • The student must repay a prorated amount equivalent to the length of the period not served. For example, if the student received SFS scholarship funds for two years and serves for one-and-a-half years, he or she must repay 25% of the funds received. Government agencies must notify the SFS Program Office immediately when this occurs. Please send an email to SFS .The OPM SFS Program Office is responsible for initiating the repayment process.

  • Yes! Government agencies must pay the students' salary (and benefits, if applicable) during the internship and other periods of employment. Additionally, it is expected that in virtually all cases, a security clearance may be required. The government agency will bear the cost of the background investigation (if needed), case adjudication, and other expenses associated with obtaining the required level of security clearance.