Schools eligible for $1B cybersecurity grant program

IT security has always been a concern, but so far in 2021, the rapid and ongoing escalation in the range of threats has become almost overwhelming.

As K-12 school districts are increasingly targeted by ransomware and other cyberattacks, district leaders and educational organizations say they need more funding to bolster their network defenses. A $1 billion federal grant program could help.

The State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program, established by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, could help K-12 school systems protect against ransomware and otherwise improve their cybersecurity defenses.

The program will award $1 billion in grants to states over four years. States are responsible for distributing this money to local government agencies, including school districts.

Districts wouldn’t apply directly to the federal government for funding themselves; instead, they’re considered to be sub-applicants under their state’s grant. Ultimately, it’s up to each state to determine where and how to distribute the funding.

The K12 Security Information Exchange (K12 SIX), a national nonprofit organization that helps K-12 school systems with cybersecurity, has posted a fact sheet about the grant program on its website.

“School district representatives should proactively reach out to the office of their state’s CISO/CIO to learn more about their state’s plans to apply for and implement the [program], including how school districts can benefit,” K12 SIX recommends.

According to the organization, the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program requires every state to include a representative of public education on its statewide planning committee.

Grant funds may be used for any purpose that addresses cybersecurity risks or threats on information systems owned or operated by a school district or other eligible entity. Funds may not be used to purchase cybersecurity insurance or for payments of extortion demands arising from ransomware incidents.

The grants could help school districts implement defenses to protect against ransomware and other cyberthreats. ContentKeeper’s full-featured web filtering and security solution is one such defense. You can learn how ContentKeeper protects school networks from ransomware attacks here.


About the Author: Paul Hafen is an 20-year veteran in the Cybersecurity field.  He’s co-founder of a security firm and has worked with hundreds of organizations on security projects. A blogger with an emphasis on malware and data loss topics, he researches and reports on the latest vulnerabilities and attacks for ContentKeeper.