What partial esports scholarships exist for student gamers?
|Ashland University||Up to $4000||Fortnite, League of Legends, Overwatch, Hearthstone, CS:Go, Starcraft 2 and Rocket League.|
|Hawaii Pacific University||Up to $6000||League of Legends|
|Juniata College||Up to $2500||League of Legends|
|Maryville University||$2000 participation award||League of Legends|
|University of California Irvine||$6,000 to varsity teams & $1,000 to junior varsity teams||League of Legends and Overwatch|
In 1972, Stanford University students hosted the very first known collegiate videogame tournament for the combat game Spacewar! The first prize? A years’ subscription to Rolling Stone. A lot has changed since then, with prize pools reaching into the millions.
In response to explosive growth and the millions of dollars being invested in esports, parents around the world are taking their kids’ desire to play videogames a bit more seriously these days, especially if their interests lean toward the collegiate level.
Nearly 200 U.S. colleges now offer around $15 million per year in scholarships, up from around $3 million for the 2015-2016 academic year.
With the average esports scholarship hovering around $4,800 for tuition, the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) reports that some students can even receive up to half off tuition. And according to another report by Next College Student Athlete (NCSA), “several schools are beginning to offer full-tuition, and even full-ride scholarships.” In 2018, Harrisburg University became the first college esports program to award full-ride scholarships to its entire 16-player roster. The team went on to win ESPN’s inaugural Collegiate Esports Championship in May 2019.
For now, the majority of esports scholarships are partial, with most schools planning to offer full videogame scholarships in the near future. Partial scholarships cover a percentage of tuition, but not the costs for room, board, and other expenses. While a partial scholarship can still cover a good portion of tuition (depending on the school and the students residency status) students can supplement by combining partial esports scholarships with merit and academic scholarships. Students can also cut college costs considerably by winning tournaments.
According to Wired, “in 2013, videogame developer Blizzard Entertainment partnered with Tespa, an official collegiate league for titles including Overwatch, Hearthstone, and StarCraft. Tespa has since grown to around 850 schools (nearly 20,000 players) and has awarded students more than $3 million in tournament winnings.”
While most schools offer at least partial scholarships, there are a few standouts. For example, not only is Stephen’s College the first women’s college to sponsor a varsity team and offer video game scholarships for women, the school provides partial scholarships to all twelve female gamers. You just have to make the team. And then there’s Southwest Baptist University, which offers merit-based scholarships to gamers from $500 up to an impressive $10,000. Students need at least a 2.5 GPA to apply.
Other standouts offer scholarships based on performance, academics or a combination of both. For example, Lees McRae College awards scholarships to gamers who excel in League of Legends and/or Hearthstone. Students at the college can win a scholarship for up to $5,000 and the award is renewable. Scholarships for gamers at Becker College are based on academics and performance in League of Legends, Overwatch, SMITE or Paladins. Student gamers here can win up to $5,000 per year to help cover tuition costs. Performance and game history can also win up to 12 student gamers at Texas Wesleyan a $2,000 scholarship. Students here compete on a varsity team for Overwatch, Hearthstone or League of Legends.
While there are plenty of other schools with partial esports scholarships, we can’t list them all here. What we can do is provide a few more standouts to help you get started in your search for a program that fits your goals. Here you go.
Annual esports scholarships up to $4,000. Players compete in the following games: Fortnite, League of Legends, Overwatch, Hearthstone, CS:Go, Starcraft 2 and Rocket League.
Hawaii Pacific University
First college to offer competitive scholarships for esport athletes in the state of Hawaii. Students can win a scholarship of up to $6,000 per year. The school competes in League of Legends.
Juniata College Esports Scholarship
Program engagement and academic esports scholarships for up to $2,500. Players compete in League of Legends.
Maryville University Esports Participation Award
$2,000 participation award. Players compete in League of Legends.
University of California Irvine Scholarship Program
Yearly scholarship of $6,000 to varsity teams and $1,000 to junior varsity teams. Players compete in League of Legends and Overwatch.
For more information about esports scholarships, read our article: “Which Schools Offer Esports Scholarships?”
“E-Sports Scholarships.” Scholarship Owl. ScholarshipOwl, 19 Feb. 2019. Web. 16 Jun. 2019.
Heilweil, Rebecca. “Infoporn: College Esports Players are Cashing In Big.” Wired. Conde Nast, 21 Jan. 2019. Web. 16 Jun. 2019.
National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), Nacesports.org. The National Association of Collegiate Esports. 2019. Web. 16 Jun. 2019.
Next College Student Athlete (NCSA). Next College Student Athlete, 2002-2019. Web. 16 Jun. 2019.
Nordmark, Sam and Jerome Heath. “The top 10 highest prize pools in esports. We’re in the money.” DOT Esports. Dot Esports, 16 May 2019. Web. 16 Jun. 2019.