Applying for Scholarships

Receiving scholarships is no easy task. Neither is applying for them. Yet, we, as students, do because the chance we could receive one is enough to motivate us to apply. I remember when I first toured Riddle, back in the days of 2018, and met a girl who applied to numerous scholarships and received so many that she didn’t have any student debt when she graduated. I aspired to be that girl, to have that perseverance. 

Proud logo of the College of Security and Intelligence (CSI).

Of course, the ERAU Financial Aid Office offers many good options, but they are only the starting source. I’d say, about 80% of applying to scholarships is dependent on your self-determination. Some students receive competitive scholarships through their ROTC programs, if that is what you like to do. I am not one of those students. Initially, I looked for programs through the clubs I was active in. Sometimes, clubs and national organizations may be funding scholarships for their members. I found that there were quite a few in aviation clubs, although despite going to an aeronautical university, I knew little about. In Cyber Defense Club, a group closely related to my interests, I learned about a few opportunities supported by WiCYS and applied to those. Sadly, no luck.

Entrance to the CSI Building

Then, I moved online. Gauging my status as a college student from my metadata, advertisements were popping up with sources of scholarship search engines, like FastWeb and Having had applied to many scholarships prior, I was tired of asking my professors for glowing recommendation letters, answering essay questions, and writing slightly tweaked cover letters for each scholarship. The minimal requirements for the generic scholarships online were greatly appealing, so I applied to many. Yet again, I had no luck.

This is the famous Cyber Lab, located in Room 127 of CSI Building.

At this point, I had an Excel spreadsheet of over 50 scholarships I had applied to. Fatigued but still determined to not have student debt, I traversed on. This was around year two of college, so I had already started accumulating debt. I decided that I needed to look outside my previous methods. I turned within my College of Security and Intelligence and Department of Cyber Intelligence and Security specifically. Perfect timing! Dr. Sampigethaya, the Department Chair of Cyber Security, was just promoting applications to the Department of Defense Cyber Scholarship Program. In 2019, our Cyber Lab was designated a National Center of Academic Excellence for Cyber Defense Education, Cyber Defense Research, and Cyber Operations by the DHS and NSA, making ERAU students applicable for this program. Recognizing the magnitude of this opportunity, I jumped right into the application process. Five months later, I received a phone call, a scholarship, and a post-graduation job! In retrospect, the process of scholarship applying doesn’t seem that rigorous; however, when I was in it, it was horrible. The longer it takes to receive scholarships, the more debt you accumulate. If you have many disappointments like I did, don’t give up! Working hard now can only benefit your future self, and honestly your bank account.

The scholarship application process is challenging; if you need assistance on any step, a smart move would be contacting the Office of Prestigious Awards and Fellowships. This ERAU Office can support you in just about all aspects of the application process, from formatting your resume to requesting recommendation letters from professors. To contact them, please email

Disclaimer: Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Security Agency.

Financial Aid: What a Blessing!

Although I have found Embry-Riddle to be quite expensive, I have been blessed with scholarships and Financial Aid. I realized working hard and searching diligently for opportunities, has really paid off (literally). I was even fortunate enough to attend a luncheon last week with Brian Hoefig, the “focal” representative between Boeing and Embry-Riddle, because I was a recipient of a Boeing scholarship.

We got to learn about some of the new projects Boeing is working on and we also got to share our own dreams and aspirations. Mr. Hoefig also talked about internship opportunities and told me that I could talk to him during the career fair and possibly get a position there. It was a great opportunity to thank him for the scholarship and to get my foot in the door with a big company. Although business and flying are not my fortes anymore, he mentioned that there are international positions as well.

I have come to realize that nothing is impossible once you set your mind to getting enough tuition money. I have seen many prospective students give up their dreams to come to Embry-Riddle, when all you really need to do is work hard. You do not have to be the smartest and the best, (although it may be favored) you really just need to show determination and preservation. DO NOT GIVE UP! If Embry-Riddle is where you want to go, then all you need to do is put your heart into it. There are many scholarship and grant opportunities out there, you just need to search for them. There are military options, there are local scholarships, scholastic scholarships, and federal grants/scholarships and even loans if necessary. I, myself, do have to take out a few loans, but in all honesty, I feel that it is worth it. I love this school and the education I am getting. I know this is where I belong, and I will be able to pay back those loans soon after I graduate. If, for whatever reason, you cannot get enough aid, always consider different loan options, it may be worth it in the long run.

I was blessed with scholastic scholarships and local scholarships. I also got a lot of aid from FAFSA and only a little bit of loans. I worked really hard to get here, and it truly was worth every effort. I suggest putting a few hours of research aside every month to find scholarships, and sometimes you may be lucky enough to get a renewable scholarship, which makes everything much easier. Also, keep in mind once you finish a year of college, more scholarships are open to you because businesses are more willing to aid students who are truly serious about their education. There is also an Embry-Riddle application you can fill out once you start attending the school, this helps out a lot!

My advice is to never give up on your dreams and aspirations. Keep fighting and looking for the funds. It will all be worth it in the end, I promise! 🙂