CAE Program Applicant Checklist

About The Programs

NSA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) jointly sponsor the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CD) Education (CAE-CDE), Two-Year Education (CAE-2Y) and Research (CAE-R) programs. The goal of these programs is to reduce vulnerability in our national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in CD and producing a growing number of professionals with CD expertise in various disciplines. Students attending CAE-CDE and CAE-R schools are eligible to apply for scholarships and grants through the Department of Defense Information Assurance Scholarship Program and the Federal Cyber Service Scholarship for Service Program. Designation as a Center does not carry a commitment for funding from NSA or DHS.

CAE-CD institutions receive formal recognition from the U.S. Government as well as opportunities for prestige and publicity for their role in securing our Nation’s information systems.

Program Development & Application Assistance

  • Program Development -  Applicants who are assessed to require more than one year to be ready for designation will be assigned to Program Development.  In this phase, the applicant will have access to workshops, seminars and an advisor to help in their preparation for designation.  Schools in this phase will also be invited to programs and events hosted by the CAE Community ( and have access to other resources offered by the Program Office only for the CAE audience.
  • Application Assistance -  Applicants who are assessed to be within one year of readiness for designation will be assigned to Application Assistance.  In this phase, the applicant will work directly with a mentor to complete the application.
  • Applicants that choose to opt out of Application Assistance must acknowledge that they do not wish to receive support via the New Applicant Checklist.


Webform Applications cannot be saved or stored if incomplete. Should you navigate away from the Webform Application, all progress will be lost. A downloadable PDF application checklist is also available below, this will allow you to collect all needed information for the Webform Application before you start.

CAE-2Y Program Eligibility and Summary

The CAE-2Y Program is open to current regionally accredited:

  • Two-year Community Colleges
  • Technical Schools
  • State or Federally Endorsed Cybersecurity Training Centers
  • U.S. Government Cybersecurity Training Centers
Start Applicant Checklist
Download CAE-2Y Checklist

CAE-CDE Program Eligibility and Summary

The CAE-CDE Program is open to current regionally accredited:

  • Four-year Colleges
  • Graduate-level Universities


Start Applicant Checklist
Download CAE-CDE Checklist