15 Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Software Engineering Programs

If you have an interest in coding web and software applications, building communications networks, or securing computers from hackers, a software engineering degree might be right for you. Software engineering is the application of engineering principles to the design and maintenance of computer programs and operating systems. Software engineers are currently in high demand, which can be attributed to several factors. For one, the push for improved consumer technology means more software engineers are needed to program desktop and mobile applications. Additionally, the recent spate of cyber security threats has increased the demand for software security specialists across many industries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in the field of software development is projected to grow by 17% between 2014 and 2024. These facts make it an opportune time to enter the field of software engineering.

Online Bachelor’s in Software Engineering at a Glance

Fast Facts

Time to Complete Students can typically complete a program in four years of full-time study.
Credit Hours 30 credit hours per year (120 total).
Core Courses
  • Introduction to Software Development
  • Object-Oriented Software Development
  • Data Structures
  • Fundamentals of Digital Systems
  • Principles of Programming
Accreditation ABET is a nonprofit agency that accredits college and university programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology. They also establish the licensure standards for professional engineers.
Additional Info Some online software engineering degree programs require the completion of a capstone project prior to graduation.

15 Affordable Online Bachelor's in Software Engineering Programs
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Brigham Young University-Idaho

Value Score 6.28
Average Tuition $3,830
Students Receiving Financial Aid 68%
Net Price $6,407
Graduation Rate 50%
Student to Faculty Ratio 25:1
Retention Rate 47%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 77%
Number of Online Programs 10

Best known as the country’s preeminent Mormon university, Brigham Young University operates sister schools in Hawaii and Idaho. The Idaho campus houses an extensive distance learning department, including a top-notch, affordable bachelor’s in software engineering online degree. The program requires a total of 120 credits. This includes 54 credits of major courses, including studies in web engineering, software design and development, and a relevant internship in software engineering. Program completion times vary; some students choose to accelerate their coursework, and others choose to take one course at a time or take summers off.

BYU’s program makes use of synchronous and asynchronous learning. Students and professors meet frequently online to discuss course materials but complete self-paced assignments as well. All applicants must successfully complete PathwayConnect—an introductory online course — with a minimum GPA of 3.0 to be considered for admission. Students may begin their coursework in the fall, winter, or spring semesters or the summer block.

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Arizona State University-Tempe

Value Score 6.23
Average Tuition $9,484
Students Receiving Financial Aid 86%
Net Price $7,046
Graduation Rate 66%
Student to Faculty Ratio 23:1
Retention Rate 39%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 44%
Number of Online Programs 1

Many of the best online software engineering degree programs are housed at smaller, less nationally known schools. Arizona State University—one of the largest universities in the nation by undergraduate enrollment—is one of the exceptions to that rule. ASU’s online bachelor of science in software engineering consists of 41 courses (120 credits). Each course lasts seven and a half weeks. Notable classes include studies in software enterprise and web application programming.

ASU’s program is exceptionally transfer-friendly; students only need to complete a minimum of 30 hours of coursework through ASU. All applicants to the program must meet one of four criteria: a 3.0 high school GPA, placement in the top 25% of high school class, a 24 on the ACT, or a 1210 on the SAT. Graduates of the program can find jobs as software programmers, web developers, and professors.

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Western Governors University

Value Score 6.21
Average Tuition $5,780
Students Receiving Financial Aid 75%
Net Price $8,572
Graduation Rate 14%
Student to Faculty Ratio 41:1
Retention Rate 37%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 100%
Number of Online Programs 26

Salt Lake City’s Western Governors University specializes in teacher education, business, and information technology. The school’s online bachelor of science in software development degree teaches students skills in data management, technical communication, and web development. Since WGU designed the program primarily for professionals in the field, some experience or coursework in software engineering is preferred. Upon graduating, WGU’s students are able to create mobile and data centric software apps, making them highly employable in today’s job market.

As opposed to traditional credit hours, WGU runs on Competency Units (CU). Students can earn CU through tests or by completing coursework. As such, the program is asynchronous and completely self-paced. Students can accelerate progress toward their degree by testing out of material they already know. Students in WGU’s program must earn 122 CU. Coursework includes studies in IT fundamentals, web development, and network security.

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Bellevue University

Value Score 6.11
Average Tuition $6,600
Students Receiving Financial Aid 63%
Net Price $8,204
Graduation Rate 18%
Student to Faculty Ratio 31:1
Retention Rate 37%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 87%
Number of Online Programs 37

Bellevue University extends its presence well beyond the midwest through its array of online bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D programs. Bellevue offers a bachelor’s in software development online degree which requires the completion of 127 credits. Coursework includes 36 credits in the software engineering major and 55 elective credits. Courses include web scripting, Java programming, and database design.

All applicants to Bellevue must submit proof of high school graduation or a GED. Students who have an associate degree or 60 completed credits may apply for admission to an accelerated cohort. Cohorts consist of students on the same degree path (in this case, software engineering) that take most of their classes together. Students in an accelerated cohort progress quickly, earning 49 credits in 72 weeks.

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Middle Georgia State University

Value Score 6.00
Average Tuition $2,608
Students Receiving Financial Aid 68%
Net Price $8,101
Graduation Rate 24%
Student to Faculty Ratio 20:1
Retention Rate 77%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 37%
Number of Online Programs 1

One of the most flexible online software engineering degree programs, Middle Georgia State University’s BS in information technology includes six optional concentrations: cyber security, cyber forensics, network technology and administration, software engineering, integrated digital media and gaming design, and web applications development. Students may choose to complete up to two of those concentrations. The school’s software engineering concentration consists of 30 credits, including coursework in Java programming, robot programming, and data communications.

Students may apply prior learning—either work experience or previous coursework—towards their IT degree. The entire curriculum requires a total of 120 credits. Full time students who take summer classes usually complete the program in three years. MGSU’s Virtual Classroom uses asynchronous learning so students can complete coursework on their own schedule. All online students are able to pay in-state tuition.

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The College of Saint Scholastica

Value Score 5.92
Average Tuition $33,784
Students Receiving Financial Aid 84%
Net Price $16,988
Graduation Rate 70%
Student to Faculty Ratio 15:1
Retention Rate 19%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 40%
Number of Online Programs 4

The College of St. Scholastica is a Roman Catholic Benedictine school that has operated in Minnesota since 1912. The college now offers a thoroughly modern online software engineering degree. The school’s BA/BS in computer information systems combines general liberal arts coursework with technological studies. This interdisciplinary approach gives students a foundation in critical thinking and helps them generate ideas for new software. Requiring a total of 128 credits, the program usually takes students 2-3 years to complete. Students in the program can opt for concentrations in business analysis, health informatics, mathematics, and software development.

St. Scholastica’s software development concentration requires students to complete six courses, including studies in mobile device programming, client-side web development, and game design. All students in the online software engineering program must also complete a capstone project in which they design a complete computer information system. Upon graduation, students are prepared to work as web developers, systems analysts, and software engineers.

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Pennsylvania State University

Value Score 5.59
Average Tuition $16,572
Students Receiving Financial Aid 93%
Net Price $20,670
Graduation Rate 86%
Student to Faculty Ratio 16:1
Retention Rate 27%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 30%
Number of Online Programs 18

One of the most famous universities in the nation, Pennsylvania State University is perhaps best known for its Nittany Lions football team. Penn State is also a force in the distance education field. Opened in 1998, Penn State’s World Campus was one of the original presences in distance education. The school’s online bachelor of science in software engineering combines classroom lectures with hands-on design projects and experience in the field. The entire program requires 126 credits and usually takes students four years to complete.

Penn State has one of the most design-heavy online software engineering degree programs. Each student’s senior year is dedicated to a series of capstone courses in which students collaborate in designing, creating, and managing software systems. As such, much of the coursework in Penn State’s program utilizes synchronous learning. After these hands on experiences, students are well prepared to pursue careers as software developers, computer systems analysts, and game designers.

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Park University

Value Score 5.51
Average Tuition $11,070
Students Receiving Financial Aid 59%
Net Price $14,473
Graduation Rate 29%
Student to Faculty Ratio 17:1
Retention Rate 28%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 71%
Number of Online Programs 20

Located just outside of Kansas City, Park University is a military-affiliated school that has focused on affordable education since 1875. The school’s 120 credit information and computer science bachelor’s degree offers optional concentrations in computer science, software development, networking and security, data management, and information technology. Students in the software development concentration must complete classes in data structures, web programming, and information security. The program does not include a thesis or capstone experience. Students generally earn their online software engineering degree in four years, provided that they take five courses each semester.

The program’s faculty work closely with Park’s Career Development Center to place students in relevant software development internships. Students in the program also have the opportunity to attend the Cisco Certified Network Associate Training Program to earn additional professional training.

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Washington State University

Value Score 5.41
Average Tuition $10,356
Students Receiving Financial Aid 78%
Net Price $11,324
Graduation Rate 64%
Student to Faculty Ratio 15:1
Retention Rate 30%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 17%
Number of Online Programs 8

Designed for students who already have an associate degree or have already completed their general education requirements, Washington State University’s online bachelor of science in software engineering consists solely of a software engineering core. The program takes two years and all students are full-time. Coursework in the program utilizes blended learning, mixing live streamed lecture courses with asynchronous online coursework.

All applicants to the program should have completed a set of pre-engineering courses, including calculus, linear algebra, and engineering physics. All applicants must also have earned a minimum GPA of 2.5 at their previous school. Upon graduating, students are prepared to work as software engineers, quality assurance engineers, and project managers.

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Rogers State University

Value Score 5.18
Average Tuition $3,645
Students Receiving Financial Aid 65%
Net Price $11,816
Graduation Rate 22%
Student to Faculty Ratio 19:1
Retention Rate 85%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 48%
Number of Online Programs 4

Oklahoma’s Rogers State University has undergone a great deal of transformation since the turn of the millennium. The school began offering bachelor’s degrees in 2000; since then, RSU has been the fastest growing public university in the Sooner State. RSU’s distance education programs draw students from across the country. The online bachelor of science in business information technology teaches students how to use technology to improve business communications. Students can choose a concentration in computer network administration or software development and multimedia.

Students must take 32 credits in computing and programming, including a practicum and capstone experience. The development and multimedia concentration includes studies in object-oriented technology, software engineering, and data structures. Since the program is career-focused, students must also complete business courses in areas such as economics, marketing, and management.

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Hodges University

Value Score 5.09
Average Tuition $12,720
Students Receiving Financial Aid 51%
Net Price $17,074
Graduation Rate 23%
Student to Faculty Ratio 15:1
Retention Rate 91%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 72%
Number of Online Programs 12

A relatively new school, Hodges University creates programs that allow working professionals to balance their education with family and job responsibilities. The school’s online bachelor of science in software development is flexible; courses are asynchronous so students can create their own schedules. The UPOWER program gives students unlimited course access, allowing them to work through a high volume of credits in a short amount of time. UPOWER also grants students credit for previous education and work experience.

Typically, students take three courses each term, which allows them to earn their online software engineering degree within four years. The 120 credit curriculum includes studies in game program design, software application development, and mobile application development. Upon graduating, Hodges’ students are prepared to work as software developers in finance, insurance, and computer systems design.

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Champlain College

Value Score 5.06
Average Tuition $37,436
Students Receiving Financial Aid 79%
Net Price $25,791
Graduation Rate 58%
Student to Faculty Ratio 14:1
Retention Rate 15%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 44%
Number of Online Programs 22

Champlain College offers over 80 online programs, ranging from certificates to master’s degrees. The online bachelor’s of science in software development is designed for busy, working professionals. The program allows students to earn their online software engineering degree quickly through accelerated seven-week courses. The program utilizes asynchronous learning, allowing students to progress through material at their own pace. Each student is assigned an academic advisor to help them choose the best courses for their desired career path.

Over the course of the program, students have the option to complete any of four industry-standard certificates: C++ Programming, Java Programming, Software Development, and Visual C#. The 120 credit program includes studies in cloud computing security, networking fundamentals, and multiple programming languages. Champlain accepts up to 90 transfer credits.

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Independence University

Value Score 5.03
Average Tuition $16,968
Students Receiving Financial Aid 84%
Net Price $27,071
Graduation Rate 41%
Student to Faculty Ratio 32:1
Retention Rate 37%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 100%
Number of Online Programs 7

Independence University is an online school focusing on flexible, career-focused education. Independence’s bachelor of science in software and mobile applications development prepares graduates for careers as app developers and software engineers. Coursework is completely asynchronous, allowing students to progress through topics as quickly as they like. The typical Independence software development student takes 36 months to complete his or her degree.

This 180 credit program blends software development coursework with a liberal arts and general education core. Independence prides itself on eschewing elective courses that do not meet students’ immediate professional goals. Students take anywhere from two to four elective courses in software and development. Notable courses include database programming and NET programming.

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DePaul University

Value Score 4.92
Average Tuition $35,680
Students Receiving Financial Aid 84%
Net Price $24,636
Graduation Rate 73%
Student to Faculty Ratio 16:1
Retention Rate 17%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 24%
Number of Online Programs 2

DePaul University’s online bachelor’s in computer science with a software development concentration requires students to complete 192 credits. Students take courses in database systems, object-oriented software development, and data structures. The program is highly structured; it is strongly recommended that students take classes in the suggested order. Students typically complete the online software engineering bachelor’s degree in four years.

The curriculum includes two capstones, one of which takes place at the end of the second year and one of which occurs at the conclusion of the fourth year. The first capstone introduces students to advanced topics in applied computing, while the second is a collaborative software project in which students demonstrate knowledge from the entire program of study.

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Upper Iowa University

Value Score 4.88
Average Tuition $27,323
Students Receiving Financial Aid 42%
Net Price $21,682
Graduation Rate 41%
Student to Faculty Ratio 17:1
Retention Rate 22%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 76%
Number of Online Programs 11

Upper Iowa University opened its first distance education program in 1973; as a result, the school’s faculty members are veterans at online learning and are able to give students individualized attention and advising. UIU operates an extensive distance education program, including centers in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Malaysia. The online software engineering degree provides a broad foundation in computer architecture, project operating systems, and programming. Students who complete the bachelor’s in software engineering online can work in development, network security, and database settings.

Courses are available asynchronously so that students may work a full time job while pursuing their education. Students complete five eight-week courses and one six-week summer session throughout the year, which lets them complete their software development degree in a shorter timeframe.

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What Can I Do With a Bachelor’s in Software Engineering Degree?

With an online software engineering degree, you can apply for many exciting, lucrative careers. Focus, creativity, technical prowess, and problem-solving abilities are all useful traits in this field. As a software developer or information security analyst, you can help build systems from the ground up that are essential to the operations of businesses and organizations. You can also code the mobile and web applications we all use on a daily basis, including apps for games, streamable content, and cloud computing.

Career Paths

Software Developer

$102,280 Avg Annual Salary
Bachelor’s degree Degree Required

A software developer designs the systems that run computer systems, programs, and networks. They might also code the applications that allow users to execute specific tasks on their devices. For some software developer positions, an employer may prefer that candidates possess a master’s degree.

Projected Growth Rate 17%

Computer Programmer

$79,840 Avg Annual Salary
Bachelor’s degree Degree Required

Computer programmers are responsible for the programs that run on operating systems. They code instructions for the computer to run various applications and routinely troubleshoot and update these applications as needed. A bachelor’s degree is typically the minimum requirement to become a computer programmer.

Projected Growth Rate -8%

Information Security Analyst

$92,600 Avg Annual Salary
Bachelor’s degree Degree Required

Information and security analysts are responsible for implementing and monitoring a company’s security systems and responding to potential breaches of security. They must protect sensitive information and analyze systems for vulnerabilities. Applicants with a master of business administration (MBA) in information systems may have a competitive advantage in this field.

Projected Growth Rate 18%

Web Developer

$66,130 Avg Annual Salary
Associate degree Degree Required

Web developers create and maintain websites. They are responsible for writing the code that determines the appearance and function of the site and must troubleshoot technical issues. An associate degree is the minimum education necessary for many web developer jobs, but a bachelor’s degree may enable a web developer to work in more technical positions or as a project manager.

Projected Growth Rate 27%

Computer Network Architect

$101,210 Avg Annual Salary
Bachelor’s degree Degree Required

Computer network architects design and build communication networks for businesses. This can include local area networks, wide area networks, intranets, and cloud infrastructure systems. Computer network architects must have extensive knowledge of both hardware and software technologies, and may need to possess an MBA in information systems.

Projected Growth Rate 9%

Educational Paths for Graduates of Online Software Engineering Programs

Many students who earn their bachelor’s in software engineering online move straight into the job market. However, an advanced degree in software engineering can help you command a higher salary. According to PayScale, software engineers with a master’s degree can earn up to 35% more than their counterparts with bachelor’s degrees. After earning your undergraduate degree, you may want to consider pursuing a degree at the master’s level to maximize your earning potential.

What Will I Learn in My Online Bachelor’s in Software Engineering Program?

  1. Principles of Programming: In this course, students learn the basics of programming languages and apply problem-solving skills to object-oriented structures and algorithms. Students may design rudimentary computer and web applications to illustrate class concepts.
  2. Introduction to Software Development: This course introduces students to the fundamentals of software development, teaching them programming languages like C++ to establish the foundation for coding applications and operating systems.
  3. Object-Oriented Software Development: In this course, students learn how to design and develop software, formulate algorithms, and code programs using an object-oriented paradigm.
  4. Data Structures: Students in this course are introduced to the basic concepts of data structures and related algorithms. They learn about specification, implementation, application, testing, sorting and searching, and complexity analysis.
  5. Fundamentals of Digital Systems: This course explores the fundamentals of digital systems including the following concepts: Boolean algebra, number systems, Karnaugh maps, combinational logic circuits, sequential logic circuits, truth tables, and state machine design and analysis.

Employment Outlook for Bachelor’s in Software Engineering Graduates

Bachelor’s in Software Engineering Salary

Level of experience, location, and education all impact the annual earnings of professionals in the software engineering field. Certain types of developers, such as computer network architects, can earn more than their colleagues at both the early and later stages of their careers. The table below features data from PayScale for the median salaries of software developers who are entry-level, mid-career, and late-career employees.

Median Salary by Occupation
Job Title Overall Median Salary Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees Median Salary for Late-Career Employees
Software Developer $69,175 $64,940 $78,593 $96,984
Computer Programmer $61,193 $54,222 $68,513 $84,336
Information Security Analyst $70,254 $63,884 $80,164 $91,214
Web Developer $58,156 $54,024 $64,736 $72,609
Computer Network Architect $115,742 $77,670 $101,960 $127,503

Software Engineering Licensure and Certification

Certification and licensure are not necessary for entry into the field of software engineering. However, acquiring a professional license or certificate may give an engineer a leg up when it comes to job applications, promotions, and salary increases. These credentials indicate that a software engineer has a degree from an accredited program, industry experience, and the skills necessary to pass an exam. Below are several examples of certifications that may help advance your career.

  • Professional Software Developer Certification: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) awards this certificate to software developers who demonstrate proficiency in the areas of software design, software construction, and software testing. Applicants must pass two exams to receive the certification.
  • Professional Software Engineering Master Certification: In order to earn this certification, the IEEE looks for proficiency in the same areas as the professional software developer certification, except with additional testing requirements in the areas of software engineering management and software quality.
  • Software Engineering Professional License: Software engineers in certain states can acquire licensure by a state board. In order to qualify, applicants must have a four-year degree from an ABET-accredited institution, pass a licensing exam, and have the requisite industry experience as determined by individual states.

Accreditation for Online Bachelor’s in Software Engineering Degrees

Accreditation means that a school’s program has been evaluated for academic quality by an independent accrediting agency. National accrediting bodies evaluate trade and vocational schools and may not apply standards as rigorous as those imposed by regional accreditation bodies. When considering where to go to school, keep in mind that universities, scholarship organizations, professional certification agencies, and potential employers may only consider degrees from a regionally accredited institution. Going to one of these schools can avoid any obstacles when it comes to transferring credits or applying for jobs.

According to U.S. News & World Report, accreditation standards are generally as demanding for online schools as they are for traditional institutions. Students who wish to attend an online program should verify that the school has been accredited by an agency approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Alongside the U.S. Department of Education, CHEA oversees the accreditation process in the United States and provides a database of accredited schools and programs. On top of regional or national accreditation, engineering students should check that their school is accredited by ABET, which evaluates programs in science and technology fields at the associate, bachelor’s, and master’s levels.

Financing Your Online Bachelor’s in Software Engineering Program

Although there are many affordable online software engineering degree programs, most students still need help paying for their degree. Students have many financial aid options at their disposal such as scholarships, grants, work-study awards, and loans. As a first step, be sure to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which determines your eligibility for state and federal financial aid. There are also many scholarships available from nonprofit organizations and corporations, several of which are listed below.

Scholarships for Online Software Engineering Bachelor’s Programs

Software Engineering Scholarships

Women Techmakers Scholar Program Scholarship $10,000

This scholarship is available to a female students who are pursuing their degrees in computer science, computer engineering, or a related field.

Scholarship Deadline: Fall

Eligibility Requirements: Student must be enrolled in or accepted on a full-time basis to an accredited university.

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Microsoft Tuition Scholarship Partial Tuition

The Microsoft Tuition Scholarship is open to students who are enrolled full-time at a four-year college or university and pursuing a degree in computer science, computer engineering, or related STEM field.

Scholarship Deadline: January 26

Eligibility Requirements: Student must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.

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Banatao Family Filipino American Education Fund Scholarship $5,000

This scholarship is available to incoming freshmen enrolled at a four-year accredited institution who are majoring in engineering, mathematics, computer science, environmental science, or physical science.

Scholarship Deadline: Varies

Eligibility Requirements: Student must be at least 50% Filipino, with a minimum 3.0 GPA, and living in one of several California counties.

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Northrop Grumman Corporation Scholarship $5,000

This scholarship offered by the Society of Women Engineers is open to female students enrolled in an accredited undergraduate degree program in software engineering or a related field.

Scholarship Deadline: February 15 for sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students; May 1 for freshmen.

Eligibility Requirements: Student must attend one of many eligible schools located across the United States and maintain a GPA of 3.5 or above.

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(ISC)² Undergraduate Cybersecurity Scholarship $5,000

This scholarship is open to students who are pursuing or plan to pursue a degree with a focus on cyber security or information assurance.

Scholarship Deadline: March 15

Eligibility Requirements: Student must be a high school senior or undergraduate student with a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or above.

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