On April 1, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) made its announcement, and it’s no April Fool’s joke. Now through mid-August, the Agency is accepting applications for its Undergraduate Scholarship Program. If your professional dreams take you somewhere near Langley, Virginia, it’s time to make your pitch.
cia scholarship BENEFITS
The CIA Undergraduate Scholarship is a generous program for the right candidates. For the CIA, it’s a needs-based tuition assistance investment in the Agency’s future. For undergraduate students interested in a career in public service, national security, and intelligence, it’s an opportunity to introduce yourself to the CIA, get an inside look at what it means to be CIA, and begin to build networks that will last a career. In exchange for a little commitment, the CIA scholarship provides undergrads up to $18,000 for your tuition at an accredited college or university, annual salary, health and life insurance, and more.
how to pay back the cia
The CIA Undergraduate Scholarship isn’t a loan, but it isn’t exactly free, either. But if you believe a future with the CIA is right for you, there’s no better way to find out. Payback is sweet. “You are required to work at the CIA after college graduation,” explains the announcement, “for a period equal to 1.5 times the length of the college sponsorship you received from the CIA.” In other words, they pay a chunk of your tuition and then promise you a job.
That’s a pretty good deal. Sure, you have to move to Washington, D.C. for the summer—not a bad place to hang out, rub elbows, live some history, watch a few concerts—but the Agency foots the bill for travel to and from your school to D.C. And they pay you while you’re here. You see, the CIA is looking for a long-term relationship: besides agreeing “to work at least two 90-day summer tours prior to graduation,” they want candidates with a “willingness to work at CIA full time after graduation.”
Do you qualify? Well, let’s begin with the needs-based aspect. For the CIA scholarship, the Agency defines financial need as a “the gross annual household income ceiling up to $70,000 for a family of four or less, and $80,000 for a family of five or more.” If you’re on your own and no longer a dependent on your family’s taxes, “the gross annual household income ceiling is $35,000 or less.” That criteria may open a lot of doors.
If you meet the needs-based requirement, here are a few other requirements. You have to be 18 by the time you apply. You have to have performed fairly well on the SAT or ACT. You should have a college acceptance in hand or be taking 9 or more credits each semester, and a 3.0 GPA in high school or so far in your undergraduate work.
An impressive aspect of the CIA Undergrad Scholarship is the breadth of experience you’ll get in Langley: “recipients work in all Directorates and Offices of CIA.” That means opportunities to see inside the Directorate of Operations, Science & Technology, Support, Digital Innovation, Mission Centers, and even the office of the Director itself. In short, you’ll meet a lot of professionals interested in seeing you succeed in the Agency.
Getting started is pretty easy. You can get all the details at CIA’s Careers & Internships site.