|Boise State University||Boise||Idaho|
|Hawaii Pacific University||Honolulu||Hawaii|
|Kent State University||Kent||Ohio|
|Robert Morris University||Chicago||Illinois|
|University of Akron||Akron||Ohio|
|University of Pikeville||Pikeville||Kentucky|
|University of Utah||Salt Lake City||Utah|
|University of California-Berkeley||Berkeley||California|
|University of California-Irvine||Irvine||California|
|Western Kentucky University||Bowling Green||Kentucky|
|West Virginia Wesleyan College||Buckhannon||West Virginia|
Now that eSports has moved well beyond being the next big thing in intercollegiate varsity sports, the availability of scholarships has skyrocketed. In fact, eSports scholarships grew an astonishing 480% last year, and the trend is expected to continue.
Although eSports scholarships have experienced explosive growth in the last year, varsity scholarships for eSports have actually been around since 2014 when Robert Morris University (RMU) in Chicago, Illinois became the first university in the nation to offer substantial scholarships for members of the schools inaugural Varsity eSports League of Legends team. Qualified gamers earn scholarships of up to 50% tuition and 50% room and board. Scholarships.com reports that this totals up to $19,000 a year (or up to $76,000 over four years).
Since then, nearly 100 schools across the U.S. and Canada have begun offering official eSports programs. The number of schools offering the program is expected to reach (or possibly exceed) 120 by the end of this year, and we’re willing to bet that many of these schools will be eager to attract talent, meaning scholarship awards will likely be part of the package.
For now, Scholarships.com reports that more than 30 U.S. colleges and universities offer considerable scholarships for gamers. Leading the way are schools such as the University of Utah—one of the largest schools to offer scholarships for gamers, University of California-Irvine—the first public college to build a gaming arena, and Stephens College—the first women's college to sponsor a varsity team and offer video game scholarships for women.
These and other schools hope that playing on eSports teams will encourage students to engage in all areas of the gaming world from art, design, and development to marketing and management, graphic design, production, and more.
Schools that Offer eSports Scholarships
- Ashland University, Ashland, Ohio
- Bellevue University, Bellevue, Nebraska
- Benedictine University at Mesa, Mesa, Arizona
- Brescia University, Owensboro, Kentucky
- Boise State University, Boise, Idaho
- Coker College, Hartsville, South Carolina
- Columbia College, Columbia, Missouri
- Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia
- Hawaii Pacific University, Honolulu, Hawaii
- Indiana Tech, Fort Wayne, Indiana
- Kansas Wesleyan University, Salina, Kansas
- Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
- King University, Bristol, Tennessee
- Lees McRae College, Banner Elk, North Carolina
- Lourdes University, Sylvania, Ohio
- Maryville University, St. Louis, Missouri
- Miami (Ohio) University, Oxford, Ohio
- Midland University, Fremont, Nebraska
- Missouri Valley College, Marshall, Missouri
- Robert Morris University, Chicago, Illinois
- Schreiner University, Kerrville, Texas
- Southwest Baptist University, Bolivar, Missouri
- Southwestern College, Winfield, Kansas
- Stephens College, Columbia, Missouri
- Tiffin University, Tiffin, Ohio
- Trine University, Angola, Indiana
- University of Akron, Akron, Ohio
- University of Jamestown, Jamestown, North Dakota
- University of Pikeville, Pikeville, Kentucky
- University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
- University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, California
- University of California-Irvine, Irvine, California
- University of Providence, Great Falls, Montana
- Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky
- West Virginia Wesleyan College, Buckhannon, West Virginia
What Schools Look For
ESports scholarships typically follow the same rules as other scholarships, so academics and merit are major considerations. Like other athletic scholarships, eSports scholarships also consider athletic ability (player skill), the ability to communicate, open positions on the team, etc.
Scholarship Amounts and Deadlines
Scholarship amounts and deadlines vary by school. For example, Ashland University is offering up to $4,000 per year in eSports scholarships beginning fall 2018 and, as mentioned, RMU offers one of America’s most substantial eSports scholarships, totaling up to $76,000 over four years. Schools such as Schreiner University offer scholarship opportunities totaling up to $40,000 over four years, and scholarships at other schools such as Missouri Valley College total $60,000 over four years.
As a way to stay competitive with other universities, Miami University began offering partial scholarships for the first time this fall for varsity eSports. It joins the list of several dozen other schools that currently offer partial scholarships. As their programs grow, many of these schools say they will begin offering full scholarships.
For current scholarship award amounts and deadlines, during your search for a program (see our list below), check with the school’s admissions or financial aid office.
U.S. Schools with eSports Programs
- Ashland University, Ashland, Ohio, Division II
- Averett University, Danville, Virginia, Division III
- Becker College, Worcester and Leicester, Massachusetts, Division III
- Bellevue University, Bellevue, Nebraska, NAIA
- Benedictine University at Mesa, Mesa, Arizona, NAIA
- Boise State University, Boise, Idaho, Division I
- Brescia University, Owensboro, Kentucky, NAIA
- Campbellsville University, Campbellsville, Kentucky, NAIC
- Central Methodist University, Fayette, Missouri, NAIA
- Centralia College, Centralia, Washington, NWAC
- Coker College, Hartsville, South Carolina, Division II
- College of St. Joseph, Rutland, Vermont, Division II/NAIA
- Columbia College, Columbia, Missouri, NAIA
- Culver-Stockton College, Canton, Missouri, NAIA
- Defiance College, Defiance, Ohio, Division III
- Dickinson State University, Dickinson, North Dakota, NAIA
- DigiPen Institute of Technology, Redmond, Washington, N/A
- ECPI University, Virginia Beach, Virginia, N/A
- Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida, NAIA
- Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Florida, Division II
- Fontbonne University, St. Louis, Missouri, Division III
- Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia, Division I
- Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, Division I
- Grand View University, Des Moines, Iowa, NAIA
- Harrisburg University, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, N/A
- Hawaii Pacific University, Honolulu, Hawaii, Division II
- Hawkeye Community College, Waterloo, Iowa, NJCAA
- Illinois College, Jacksonville, Illinois, Division III
- Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois, Division III
- Indiana Institute of Technology (Indiana Tech), Fort Wayne, Indiana, NAIA
- Iowa Central Community College, Dodge, Iowa, NJCAA
- Jarvis Christian College, Hawkins, Texas, NAIA
- Kansas Wesleyan University, Salina, Kansas NAIA
- Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, Division I
- Keuka College, Keuka Park, New York, Division III
- King University, Bristol, Tennessee, Division II
- Lackawanna College, Scranton, Pennsylvania, NJCAA
- Lebanon Valley College, Annville, Pennsylvania, Division III
- Lees-McRae College, Banner Elk, North Carolina, Division II
- Lourdes University, Sylvania, Ohio, NAIA
- Maryville University, St. Louis, Missouri, Division II
- McPherson College, McPherson, Kansas, NAIA
- Menlo College, Atherton, California, NAIA
- Miami (Ohio) University, Oxford, Ohio, Division I
- Midland University, Fremont, Nebraska, NAIA
- Missouri Baptist University, St. Louis, Missouri, NAIA
- Missouri Valley College, Marshall, Missouri, NAIA
- Morningside College, Sioux City, Iowa, NAIA
- Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale, Virginia, NJCAA
- Northwest Christian University, Eugene, Oregon, NAIA
- Ohio Northern University, Ada, Ohio, Division III
- Oregon Institute of Technology, Oregon, NAIA
- Park University, Parkville, Missouri, NAIA
- Pratt Community College, Pratt, Kansas, NJCAA
- Principia College, Elsah, Illinois, Division III
- Robert Morris University, Chicago, Illinois, NAIA
- Schreiner University, Kerrville, Texas, Division III
- Shawnee State University, Portsmouth, Ohio, NAIA
- Shenandoah University, Winchester, Virginia, Division III
- Siena Heights University, Adrian, Michigan, NAIA
- Southwest Baptist University, Bolivar, Missouri, Division II
- Southwestern College, Winfield, Kansas, NAIA
- Southwestern Oregon Community College, Coos Bay, Oregon, NJCAA
- St. Ambrose University, Davenport, Iowa, NAIA
- Stephens College, Columbia, Missouri, NAIA
- Stevenson University, Owings Mills, Maryland, Division III
- St. Louis College of Pharmacy, St. Louis, Missouri, NAIA
- St. Thomas Aquinas College, Sparkill, New York, Division II
- St. Thomas University, Miami Gardens, Florida, NAIA
- SUNY Canton, Canton, New York, Division III
- Talladega College, Talladega, Alabama, NAIA
- Texas Wesleyan, Fort Worth, Texas, Division II
- Tiffin University, Tiffin, Ohio, Division II
- Trine University, Angola, Indiana, Division III
- Union Community College, Cranford, New Jersey, NJCAA
- University of Akron, Akron, Ohio, Division I
- University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, California, Division I
- University of California-Irvine, Irvine, California, Division I
- University of Jamestown, Jamestown, North Dakota, NAIA
- University of Mount Union, Alliance, Ohio, Division III
- University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, Division I
- University of Pikeville, Pikeville, Kentucky, NAIA
- University of Providence, Great Falls, Montana, NAIA
- University of Saint Mary, Leavenworth, Kansas, NAIA
- University of South Carolina-Sumter, Sumter, South Carolina, NJCAA
- University of South Carolina-Union, Union, South Carolina, NJCAA
- University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, Division I
- West Virginia Wesleyan College, Buckhannon, West Virginia, Division II
- Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky, Division I
NCAA Division I: Highest level of intercollegiate athletics sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the United States.
NCAA Division II: Intermediate-level division of competition in the NCAA.
NCAA Division III: NCAA's largest division with around 450 member institutions.
NAIA: National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
NJCAA: National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
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