Fast-track your cybersecurity career for free, with scholarships to support your studies

Test your security skills in a two-day Capture-the-Flag competition, with the chance to win a $1,000 cash scholarship and up to $21k of certified cybersecurity training.

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If you’re interested in our next competition please leave your details below.


The fastest and most cost-effective route to gaining the cybersecurity certifications employers value most highly.

Getting the cybersecurity skills and certificates employers want can be challenging and expensive and the barriers to entry are high. Cyber FastTrack breaks down those barriers.

The scholarship opportunities and associated training programs are designed to accelerate and support students with an interest in and aptitude for cybersecurity.

To qualify for these opportunities, college students from across the United States are invited to take part in a two-day Capture-the-Flag competition.

This program sparked a hidden interest of mine in cyber security and I'm sure it has for other students across the nation.

Previous Cyber FastTrack student

Prove yourself by landing among the top scorers and you could win:

  • A $1,000 scholarship to use for undergraduate study at your choice of accredited US college in Fall 2021.
  • A free place at the Cyber Foundations Academy, worth over $3,000.
  • A full or partial scholarship to professional cybersecurity immersion courses and certifications worth up to $18k.

Is Cyber FastTrack for me?

Any college student in the U.S. is invited to test their skills in our competition! More information on who is eligible for each of the Cyber FastTrack prizes can be found here.

Why Cyber FastTrack is the best cybersecurity training option for college students


Compete in our free scholarship competition and begin your cybersecurity courses in the summer of 2021. There isn’t a faster path to industry.


Cyber FastTrack is the only program that will accelerate your entry into the cybersecurity profession without costing you a dime. Prove your skills and we will provide the rest.


Compete online in your free time alongside your current degree or other commitments. The entire Cyber FastTrack program can be completed while you continue your existing studies.

Take on the challenge

Test your security skills in an intense two-day CTF event created by experts at SANS.

Evaluate your skills across various security disciplines

During the competition, your knowledge will be tested across many security topics. Are you a binary exploitation expert? Maybe forensics is your forte? Whatever your background knowledge and experience, there will be fun challenges exploring topics ranging from offensive tactics to reverse engineering software and crypto!

Race to the top of the leaderboard

The competition is run in a jeopardy style format with challenges organized into categories of difficulty. Target the advanced challenges for higher points or solve our easy challenges to put points on the board. Whatever your technique, you’ll be able to keep an eye on your position on our live leaderboard.

Play on our unique Capture-the-Flag platform

Immerse yourself in our Tomahawque platform where for 48 hours you will be addicted to the leaderboard, engrossed by our unique challenge briefings, and poised to earn progress badges!

Number of players from the
Spring 2020 intake

CFT players

Top scoring players from Spring 2020

CFT podium

For a deeper look, visit the

Hall of Fame

Cyber FastTrack has been my first opportunity to practice some of the technical concepts hands on.

Alex Baker, Cyber FastTrack student

Kick-start your career with a scholarship

The following prizes will be awarded in our Spring competition.

Win one of 400 $1,000 scholarships

The National Cyber Scholarship Foundation will award 400 $1,000 scholarships to the top-performing students in the competition, which will be available to use for undergraduate study at the accredited U.S college of your choice in Fall 2021.

Gain access to the Cyber Foundations Academy

Scholarship winners and the next 600 highest-ranked eligible competitors will get access to the Cyber Foundations Academy. This multi-week online program is centered around the nationally recognized SANS Cyber Foundations online training course (valued at over $3,000) along with a program of supporting enrichment activities, including talks by America’s top cybersecurity experts with tech updates, and industry employers on cyber careers.

CyberStart laptop

Prepare to launch a cybersecurity career with the SANS ACS certificate - three SANS professional cybersecurity courses and GIAC Certifications - for free!

Up to 200 eligible students who complete the SANS Foundations course and exam during the Cyber Foundations Academy will be invited to apply for a scholarship to cover one, two or three SANS courses and GIAC certifications in the Applied Cyber Security program.

It allowed me to learn and try different tools and techniques that can be applicable to real world problems. Also a way to test and learn new skills that a normal class would not be able to teach.

Previous Cyber FastTrack student

Spring competition dates

If you’re interested in our next competition please sign up for updates and announcements!

Spring 2021

Register: Until March 31

CTF: April 5 - April 7

Cyber Foundations Academy invitations sent: April 30

Scholarships announced: May 18

Cyber Foundations Academy:

- June 1 - September 30 (self-paced program) - June 14 - June 25 (live, interactive program) program begins: November 1

Cyber FastTrack is the most immersive and challenging CTF I’ve found! Most are focused on either hacking, forensics, or programming but Cyber FastTrack covers all three.

Joshua Levine, Cyber FastTrack student

Your questions answered

What are the criteria to be eligible for a scholarship?

While all students can participate in the online challenge event for fun, to be eligible for the $1,000 scholarship and access to the Cyber Foundations Academy, you must be:

  • 18 or older on the CTF start date.
  • A U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • An undergraduate student, not yet employed in cybersecurity

To be eligible for the full scholarship for the SANS courses offered through the SANS Technology Institute ACS program, you must:

  • Have completed the training and certification for the SANS Security Foundations course during the Cyber Foundations Academy.
  • Have completed completed a direct application to the SANS Technology Institute by October 1 2021.
  • Be a student who has completed at least 48 college credits from a regionally accredited college or university, or has obtained the equivalent international education.
  • Be a student not yet employed in cybersecurity. Those already employed in cybersecurity for less than 12 months may be eligible for partial scholarships.

Note: Students who are previous recipients of a Cyber FastTrack or other SANS Institute scholarships may participate in the CTF event but are not eligible to receive a 2021 scholarship.

What equipment will I need?

To take part in the CTF event, you'll need access to a laptop or desktop with a Virtual Machine (VM) installed. To prepare yourself, we recommend that you download a VM on to your machine and check it works before the CTF opens so you're prepared.

How do you determine who gets a scholarship?

After the CTF competition, we will ask the 1,000 top-performing eligible participants to complete a scholarship application to confirm their eligibility, and announce the winners of the $1,000 and Cyber Foundations Academy places on May 18.

For the SANS ACS full and partial scholarships, applications will be reviewed holistically, looking not only at scores from the CTF and Foundations course, but also academic history, responses to application questions, and the potential impact the scholarship could have on a student’s career. If you aren’t selected in this intake, don’t give up! Come back and try again in the next round.

When does the online challenge event start?

You will have 48 hours to complete the challenges in the CTF. Dates are listed here.

How can I prepare for the online challenge event?

In addition to CyberStart Game, there are many free resources available on the Internet to improve your cybersecurity skills. We will be recommending our preferred resources via email in the run up to the next competition. Make sure you are registered for the next intake to receive these exclusive hints and tips!

About us

Cyber FastTrack is a free, online scholarship competition sponsored by the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation, the Center for Internet Security and WiCyS. The CTF was created by experts at the SANS Institute. The program aims to provide thousands of students with an assured pathway to enter the cybersecurity industry.

Our mission

To rapidly eliminate the cybersecurity skills gap in the United States by providing scholarships for students with an innate talent for cybersecurity to pursue high-level training as an onramp to a career in the industry.

Our impact to date

  • Over 15,000 students have taken part in Cyber FastTrack.
  • 200 students have each received $500 in scholarships.
  • 100 students have each received a scholarship to take three SANS professional cybersecurity courses.

During 2021

  • 400 students will receive a $1,000 scholarship to be used for undergraduate study at any accredited U.S. college of their choice.
  • 1000 students will be invited to the Cyber Foundations Academy, worth over $3,000.
  • Up to 100 students will receive a full scholarship for three SANS professional cybersecurity courses and GIAC certifications, worth $17,875.
CFT rocket taking of on its mission

About the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation

The National Cyber Scholarship Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) charitable foundation created to help the United States close its critical cybersecurity skills gap. The only known defense against sophisticated cyber attacks is cybersecurity professionals with elite talent and advanced training that enables them to defend systems in real time against determined adversaries.

Other nations have a huge headstart in developing people with those skills. The National Cyber Scholarship program is designed to enable the United States to catch up quickly.

If you need any additional information or further assistance please email us at: and we'll be happy to help.