Using Federal Education Benefits at SANS.edu

Empower your future. If you're a Federal employee, learn how you can use Federal education benefits to achieve your cybersecurity education goals. SANS.edu is proud to be an NSA Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense.
What is the Paller Scholarship

Finance your education, build new skills and advance your career — using your Federal education benefits

If you want to get the best education in cybersecurity while you work for the Federal government, let your agency help you take your next step. SANS.edu cybersecurity degree and certificate programs are designed for working professionals, and your Federal education benefits may help cover the cost of pursing your goals.

Getting Started: Using Employer-Sponsored Education Benefits

Getting Started: Using Federal Education Benefits

Education benefits for Federal employees vary by agency, so it's important to know the details of your agency's program before enrolling at SANS.edu. Talk to your supervisor to learn about your eligibility and options.

PRO TIP: Getting approvals through a government chain of command can take time. The sooner you can start the better.

Download our Federal Education Benefits Worksheet to help you record answers to important questions.

Paller - Who Is It For

Case Study: Using the FBI’s UEP Benefits at SANS.edu

All SANS.edu programs are eligible for the FBI's University Education Program (UEP), which offers payment of tuition for full time employees who seek degrees or certificates in areas that are applicable to current and principal job duties and are related to the top mission priorities of the FBI.

Sample 2024-25 FBI Continuing Education Timeline

  • February-March 2024: Get the dates of the once-a-year window to apply for UEP funds by searching for "UEP" on the FBI website.
    • The FBI usually opens the application window in late February or early March and makes final decisions by May.
  • Spring 2024: Apply for UEP funds in spring 2024 during the once-a-year application window.
  • Fall 2024: If approved for UEP funds, apply for your SANS.edu program of interest in fall 2024.
  • January 2025: If admitted, begin taking your first course as soon as January 2025.

Course Waivers for FBI Employees

In general, SANS.edu policy limits course waivers to one-quarter (25%) of the total number of credit hours required by each program. However, SANS.edu grants exceptions to this waiver limit for FBI employees who have taken SANS courses and corresponding GIAC exams through their FBI employment. Learn more about course waivers.

  • This exception is for degree programs only and does not apply to certificate programs.
  • All GIAC certifications must be active and current to be eligible for credit.
  • Only SANS courses and GIAC certifications that are part of your academic program can be waived in.

Steps for Using UEP at SANS.edu

  • Talk to your supervisor to learn about your eligibility and options.
    • The FBI has a once-a-year application window for the UEP; usually it's a spring window for funding the following year. Search for "UEP" in the FBI website for more information.
    • Check with your supervisor if you have funding options beyond the UEP, including the FBI Cyber Division SANS Voucher Code.
  • Apply through the FBI to have your SANS.edu degree or certificate program approved.
  • On your SANS.edu application financial form (located in the SANS.edu application portal), indicate that you are using UEP funding,
  • NOTE: Because the FBI approves entire programs, admitted students from the FBI are not required to get approval for each course in their program.

FBI Policy on Fees

The FBI will not pay for any fees associated with attending an academic institution. All SANS.edu applicants pay a non-refundable application fee (ranging from $35 to $100 depending on program). In the event of an exam failure, a student may be required to pay an exam retake fee. There are no other fees.

Student

Get the Credit You Deserve.

Learn about course waivers for Federal employees.

In general, SANS.edu policy limits course waivers to one-quarter (25%) of the total number of credit hours required by each program. However, SANS.edu grants exceptions to this waiver limit for Federal employees — from agencies including DoD, DoJ, DHS, DoE, and NSA— who have taken SANS courses and corresponding GIAC exams through their Federal employment. Learn more about course waivers.

  • This exception is for degree programs only and does not apply to certificate programs.
  • All GIAC certifications must be active and current to be eligible for credit.
  • Only SANS courses and GIAC certifications that are part of your academic program can be waived in.
Have Employer-sponsored Education Benefits? Take the next steps.

Have Federal Education Benefits? Take the next steps.

If your agency confirms that you qualify to use Federal education benefits at SANS.edu, here's what to do next.

  1. When you apply to the program that interests you, indicate that you plan to use Federal tuition assistance (TA) on the financial form located in the application portal.

    If you are employed by the FBI or NSA, view the FBI case study above or the NSA case study further down this page.

  2. If you have questions about filling in any funding gaps, set up an appointment with an Admissions Specialist using our Admissions scheduling portal: https://go.oncehub.com/AdmissionsMeeting. We don't want you to have any surprises regarding annual tuition needed.

  3. Once you're admitted, you'll complete our virtual New Student Orientation (NSO) where you'll meet one-on-one with your student advisor. They will go over your class schedule, course timelines, and registration process. They can answer most questions about invoices, payments, and documents required for reimbursement. PRO TIP: Come to the meeting with the answers to the questions on the Federal Education Benefits Worksheet to prevent delays in registration.

Note: Do not attempt to register for courses before meeting with your student advisor.

"SANS is the Oxford of security studies, so expectations are naturally quite high. Living up to those is not a trivial accomplishment!" - Shawna Turner, Principal Engineer, Nike

“Nothing pays dividends like practical experience. Many programs attempt it, but the SANS Technology Institute helps students use the latest cyber techniques to pursue objectives commonly encountered on the operations floor." - Matthew Toussain, Founder, Open Security

Paller What Does it Cover

Case Study: Using the NSA’s Education Benefits at SANS.edu

SANS.edu is recognized by the NSA as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense -- and all of our degree and certificate programs, as well as single courses, are eligible for tuition assistance provided by the NSA to its employees.

Steps for Using NSA's Education Benefits at SANS.edu

  • Talk to your supervisor to learn about your eligibility and options.
  • If you are eligible, apply to the SANS.edu program that interests you.
  • SF-182 forms (also known as the Request, Authorization, Agreement and Certification for Training Form) are generally used by students who work for the NSA.
  • Because the SF-182 must contain accurate details regarding the course(s) to be taken, course start and end date(s), and tuition amount(s), we advise you not to submit your SF-182 form for approval until after you have been admitted and completed New Student Orientation (NSO) to ensure accurate details can be input into the SF-182.
  • The SF-182 typically requires several approvals, so we recommend completing this as soon as possible after meeting with your Student Advisor (which is a part of New Student Orientation) to allow enough time for approvals and registration.
  • NSA employees need to get approval for each course in their program. After your first course, we encourage you to work with your advisor and get approval for future courses and submit your SF-182 form at least 1 month before your next course start date.

Course Waivers for NSA Employees

In general, SANS.edu policy limits course waivers to one-quarter (25%) of the total number of credit hours required by each program. However, SANS.edu grants exceptions to this waiver limit for NSA employees who have taken SANS courses and corresponding GIAC exams through their NSA employment. Learn more about course waivers.

  • This exception is for degree programs only and does not apply to certificate programs.
  • All GIAC certifications must be active and current to be eligible for credit.
  • Only SANS courses and GIAC certifications that are part of your academic program can be waived in.

Join us for a free online info session to learn more.

Ask the Right Questions

If you work for a Federal agency, here are some questions to ask your manager or supervisor regarding your agency's program - and important information about the cybersecurity programs at the SANS Technology Institute.

Am I eligible and what programs are eligible?

Let your department know that all SANS.edu programs are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and have a 100% online option. The SANS Technology Institute is recognized by the NSA as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense.

Does my degree or certificate program need to be job-related?

All SANS.edu programs are hands-on cybersecurity programs. Details about our curriculum are regularly updated in our undergraduate course catalog and graduate course catalog.

Who needs to approve my request to use Federal education benefits?

You will likely need to get written approval from your supervisor before you can be approved for funding. When you enroll at SANS.edu, your student advisor can provide a course description letter covering the details of each course in the program after New Student Orientation, but general course descriptions are available on our website under each program and in our undergraduate course catalog and graduate course catalog.

What paperwork is required?

Your agency may have some type of tuition reimbursement or tuition assistance approval form you need to fill out and have signed by your supervisor before the program starts (for example, the NSA and some other agencies use the SF-182 form). Since SANS.edu does not operate on standard semester terms, each course is paid for individually. Find out from your department what paperwork is required to process payment for each course.

Most Federal education benefit plans operate on an annual cycle so be sure you understand the timeline, and if they use payment date or course completed dates to determine funding allocation for that year.

What are the necessary deadlines?

Communicate clearly with your supervisor about what paperwork you need to complete - and get signed, if necessary - and when it must be done. Be aware of admissions timeframes if you need to use your funding by a certain date. At SANS.edu, you'll get an admissions decision 30-45 days after applying, and you can usually pay for your first course 30 days after you are admitted.

Give yourself 60 to 90 days from when you apply to when you can pay for your first SANS.edu course. For example, if your agency wants payment or course to be completed by December 31, plan to apply by August 1 for the master's degree program and August 15 for all other programs.

How does payment work?

Find out how your agency will handle funding for your program. Keep in mind that invoiced courses must be paid by the end of the course term, and no grade report will be issued until payment has been processed.

Do I need to maintain certain grades?

Some agencies will require you to get a certain grade before they will reimburse you. Also, keep in mind that while SANS.edu students can retake failed exams to replace the grade with a passing score, retake exams are usually paid for out of pocket.

SANS.edu students take courses one at a time and after each course you'll receive a grade report with your grade, course term information, and payment details that you can share with your supervisor.

Do I need to commit to additional time with my agency if I complete a degree or certificate program using my agency's education benefits?

Find out if there is an additional service obligation for using Federal education benefits.

Am I required to complete all the necessary coursework outside of working hours?

All SANS.edu programs can be completed while working full time. This includes the bachelor's program internship. While our programs are designed for working professionals, each course requires at least 8-10 hours of focus each week. It's important to develop a strategy to balance work, school, and family responsibilities.

What documentation do I need to show after I finish a course?

After you finish a course, you may need to provide some form of documentation from us showing that you completed the course and the grade you earned. Your student advisor will provide a grade report at the end of each course, and you can request a transcript through our partner, Parchment.

Paller - How to Apply

SANS.edu Welcomes All Eligible Federal Employees

If your agency or department isn't represented in our case studies, that doesn't mean we don't accept your agency's funding. We are proud to have students from the DoD (including all branches of the Military), DoE, DoJ, DHS and other Federal agencies. Ask your supervisor about your eligibility to use Federal education benefits at the SANS Technology Institute.

Questions?

We're happy to help. Email info@sans.edu or call 301.241.7665.