CALEDONIA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The federal government is looking for students just like Davenport University freshman Damian Cole.

“I’m helping businesses and protecting people from unwanted hackers,” said Cole. “I would like to be a security analyst or even after a while, become a contactor and do pen testing (penetration testing) for businesses.”

The National Science Foundation awarded Davenport a five-year, $4 million grant for undergraduate and graduate students looking to work in cybersecurity. The money will go toward 28 scholarships that’ll cover tuition, living expenses and professional development trips. It’ll also guarantee the students a job when they graduate.

Cole said he’s a prime candidate for the CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service program.

“Having everything paid for will allow me to take the time I need to study and become better at the field I want to be in,” he said.

Educators said the recipients will have to work in cybersecurity at the local, state or federal level for the number of years they receive the scholarship. If they fail to do so, they’ll have to repay the full cost of the scholarship — approximately $25,000 per year for undergraduate students and $34,000 per year for graduate students, according to professors.

“The competition is pretty strong,” said Brian Kowalczk, associate dean for the College of Technology at Davenport University.

Only Davenport students in a cybersecurity program or Grand Rapids Community College students in their second year of an approved AAS program are eligible for the scholarships. Aside from GPA and other academic requirements, students must pass a background check.

Kowalczk said the most fulfilling part of the opportunity is the mentorship program.

“Not only do the students get mentored from leaders in the field, but they will in turn mentor younger generations,” Kowalczk emphasized.

“This is definitely the right fit for me,” said Cole.

Anyone interested in applying for this scholarship can do so on Davenport’s website. Educators have already started accepting applications.