The National Security Agency (NSA) on Thursday announced that 10 new colleges have been designated National Centers of Academic Excellence in information assurance.

The 10 schools will join 83 others across 37 states and Washington, D.C. that are part of the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education Program. Members must be recertified every five years.

The new designations are California State University, San Bernardino; Georgetown University; Southern Polytechnic State University; University of Tennessee, Chattanooga; University of Arkansas, Little Rock; University of Denver; University of Missouri, Columbia; University of Nevada, Las Vegas; West Chester University and West Virginia University, according to the NSA, which was joined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the announcement.

To achieve designation, schools must prove they adhere to 10 criteria, which includes having implemented academic programs encouraging research in information assurance, and employed full-time faculty, the NSA said. Once they are designated, universities are eligible to apply for federal scholarships and grants to fund their course offerings.

The purpose of the program is to promote higher education in academia so graduates can help reduce the number of vulnerabilities in the nation's critical infrastructure, according to the NSA.