New York Institute of Technology has received permission from the federal government to work on cybersecurity projects involving classified information, the college announced.

NYIT, with a campus in Old Westbury, has been named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency. The designation, which runs through the 2021 academic year, allows faculty and students to use classified materials in research, with proper clearance.

The designation also boosts Nassau County’s plan for a cyber defense research facility in Bethpage, where research would be conducted and startup businesses housed, according to Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano.

NYIT would run the facility under an agreement with the county’s Industrial Development Agency.

Nada Marie Anid, dean of NYIT’s engineering school, said the new status “will help NYIT faculty vie for an even greater number of research grants and help NYIT students to secure government and private-sector scholarships and careers in cyber defense.”

She also said Monday the designation would help qualified students and faculty work with companies on projects.

Anid said cybersecurity is part of the university’s bid for a Start-Up NY tax-free zone on the Old Westbury campus. Records show a state approval board still must OK the zone application, which targets startups in cybersecurity and other industries.

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NYIT also plans to apply for a tax-free zone at the county’s cyber defense center in Bethpage, Anid said.

The center is to be located in 10,000 square feet of space at 15 Grumman Rd. West, a former Northrop Grumman Corp. building now owned by local developer Steel Equities. The developer is donating the space in return for IDA tax breaks granted in 2011 to refurbish the former Pall Corp. headquarters in East Hills.

NYIT began offering cybersecurity degree programs 10 years ago. It’s the first local university to receive the federal designation, officials said.