Subject to the availability of appropriations, the Secretary may establish an education debt reduction program under which the Secretary shall make education debt reduction payments under this section to qualified individuals eligible under subsection (b) for the purpose of reimbursing such individuals for payments by such individuals of principal and interest on loans described in paragraph (3) of that subsection.
(b) Eligibility.—An individual is eligible to participate in the program under this section if the individual—
has completed a doctoral degree in computer science or electrical or computer engineering at an accredited institution of higher education during the five-year period preceding the date on which the individual is hired;
is an employee of the Department who serves in a position related to information security (as determined by the Secretary); and
(c) Amount of Assistance.—
Subject to paragraph (2), the amount of education debt reduction payments made to an individual under this section may not exceed $82,500 over a total of five years, of which not more than $16,500 of such payments may be made in each year.
The Secretary shall make education debt reduction payments under this section on an annual basis.
(2) The Secretary shall make such a payment—
on the last day of the one-year period beginning on the date on which the individual is accepted into the program established under subsection (a); or
(e) Performance Requirement.—
The Secretary may make education debt reduction payments to an individual under this section for a year only if the Secretary determines that the individual maintained an acceptable level of performance in the position or positions served by the individual during the year.
(f) Notification of Terms of Provision of Payments.—
The Secretary shall provide to an individual who receives a payment under this section notice in writing of the terms and conditions that apply to such a payment.
(g) Covered Costs.—For purposes of subsection (b)(3), costs relating to a course of education or training include—