Guidelines for C5 Mentees

C5 works with the National Security Agency to manage the Application Assistance Program. Our goal is to realize significant growth of Center for Academic Excellence (CAE) institutions and to assist colleges and universities in the preparation of high-quality CAE applications. We welcome your participation in this exciting effort.


Application Assistance Program

The Application Assistance Program offers opportunities for mentee institutions to work with a qualified mentor who will assist the mentee institution in improving and completing the CAE application. This helps to ensure that the applications submitted are of high quality and meet National Security Agency (NSA) standards.

All potential mentees need to fill out the correct Applicant Checklist, available through the CAE Community website. Select either "CAE-2Y Program Checklist" for community colleges or technical colleges, or "CAE-CDE Program Checklist" for universities. Colleges will be assessed based on the nature of their IT/Cybersecurity program already in place and the amount of mentorship required. Colleges deemed to be ready to apply within a year will be referred to C5 and assigned a mentor.

Mentees will be paired with appropriate mentors by the C5 leadership team. Both mentor and mentee may earn funding in support of their efforts towards this activity, if all requirements are met (see milestone activity section below for details).

The project lead for the C5 Mentee Program is C5 Co-PI Corrinne Sande, who is also the director of CyberWatch West and the chair of the Technology Department at Whatcom Community College.


How Remuneration Works

The mentee should be the main point of contact (PoC) who is spearheading the CAE effort at the institution. In the interest of ensuring that the mentee has ample resources, information, and support for his/her efforts, C5 is able to provide the following, administered through Whatcom Community College (WCC):

  • A stipend for up to $5,000, provided required milestones and documentation deliverables are met on time. These funds are paid directly to the mentee point of contact (not the institution) through a contract with WCC.
  • Travel stipends of up to $2,000 to attend a KU/CAE application workshop (as required by the milestones) and other related conferences with pre-approval by Ms. Sande.
  • Travel stipends of up to $1,500 each for two people from the college to attend the CAE designation ceremony at which the college is awarded the designation.

When a new mentee joins the Application Assistance Program, a letter is sent to the college administrator (i.e., the administrative point of contact). In order for a contract to be issued to the point of contact, the college administration first must sign a letter agreeing that the mentee point of contact is authorized to participate in the Application Assistance Program and to sign a contract for personal services with WCC. C5 can consider other options (such as receiving travel stipends only) if this approach will not work for you or your college.

In order for the mentee to receive a travel stipend, a W9 form and evidence of participation must be submitted (for the traveling party).


Mentee "Fast Track" Colleges

Fast Track colleges have already started the process of applying for their CAE designation and need limited support. C5 will provide these colleges with a pre-submission review. Financial support for these colleges is limited to a travel stipend for a faculty member to attend their CAE designation ceremony at the annual meeting in Huntsville (Annual Southeastern Cyber Security Summit each June), or the annual National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Conference each November.


Mentor/Mentee Milestones 1–12 and Mentee College Support

Mentees are responsible for providing evidence for each of the following deliverables to their Mentor. Mentors will then provide milestone reports to WCC in order for mentee to be eligible for stipends.

Activity Deliverable Support to Mentee PoC
1 Mentor assesses college curriculum. Assessment report from mentor  $0
2 Mentor assesses other required criteria for meeting CAE standards. Assessment report from mentor $0
3  Mentee and mentor develop milestone timeline. Timeline report from mentor $0
4 Mentee maps all courses that are to be submitted as part of application in the NIETP application web tool. Mentor provides assessment and requests KU pre-submission review (PSR) be assigned. Mentor assessment of mapping report to project coordinator. WCC director verifies and approves. Pre-submission reviewer assigned.  $0
5  Complete CAE application #0: Letter of Intent from mentee college. Mentor determines letter meets CAE criteria and is uploaded to NIETP application tool. Mentor submits copy of letter to WCC project coordinator. WCC director verifies letter meets criteria.  $0
6 Mentee receives initial pre-submission review of KU mapping. Pre-submission reviewer provides detailed review of mapped courses. Project coordinator receives copy of PSR report. WCC director reviews report. Report is forwarded to mentee and mentor.  $0
7  Mentee continues working to complete CAE application. Mentor continually assesses application and recommends revisions and suggestions. During this process, mentor provides monthly status reports to project coordinator. Monthly reports submitted to project coordinator. WCC director verifies and approves reports by cross-checking application progress.  $0
8  Mentor assesses revised application against CAE criteria and determines it is complete and ready for pre-submission review. Mentor provides final status report and notifies WCC director that application is ready for review. WCC director assigns application to pre-submission reviewer.  $0
9  Pre-submission reviewer reviews entire application, assigns point values to each criteria, and provides suggestions to strengthen and maximize point values for any weak criteria.  Pre-submission reviewer provides detailed report to project coordinator and WCC director. $0
10  Mentee addresses any issues noted by pre-submission reviewer. Mentee notifies WCC project coordinator and director that they have revised the application.  WCC director recommends mentee submit or further revision.  
11  Mentee submits application to NIETP or waits for next cycle.  Mentor forwards copy of submission email.   
12  Mentee receives notification.  Mentor forwards copy of notification email.  


Contact Information

Questions, evidence of milestone completion, and travel funding requests should be submitted to the C5 Program Coordinator:

  • Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Phone: 360.383.3179
  • Mailing address: C5 Project Coordinator, Whatcom Community College, 237 West Kellogg Road, Bellingham, WA 98226