Scholarships for esports, while still a relatively recent phenomenon, have quickly become widely popular. They present an exclusive opportunity for students who might not have had the chance to secure a conventional athletic scholarship.
Through these esports scholarships, students are not only empowered to follow their passion for video gaming but also gain financial support for this, get educational support, and become actual esports athletes who are respected and famous. Just like beginner poker enthusiasts playing poker online at 1 dollar deposit casinos for Canadians to later become famous poker stars, esports athletes can gain fame for themselves and the countries and universities they represent in the global arena.
Colleges typically have their own selection of games eligible for esports scholarships, and each college and university has its own requirements and eligibility criteria. So those genuinely interested in esports achievements should learn more about their options.
Benefits for Universities Offering eSports Scholarships
Esports scholarships are not only beneficial for gamers. Colleges offering esports scholarships can also experience financial benefits. As the popularity of esports continues to grow, universities are recognizing that investing in this field can lead to increased student enrollment and revenue.
Additionally, institutions can now allocate resources toward esports programs and hire dedicated staff to support esports initiatives. Given this rising interest in esports, colleges can anticipate receiving greater funding allocations in the long term perspective.
Moreover, leading game providers and other stakeholders in the industry can offer exclusive collaborations, partnerships, and funding to such institutions.
Esports scholarships can bridge the divide between athletic and academic scholarships, creating more opportunities for students who may not have met the criteria for other forms of financial support or who are not fitting into the classic expectations for university athletes.
The Best Scholarships in the US and Canada
Universities in the United States and Canada have assembled teams and are offering esports scholarships and grants for participation to gamers involved in major esports titles such as League of Legends and others. By collaborating with sponsors and achieving victories in tournaments, these programs collect resources to fund more substantial scholarships and modern state-of-the-art gaming facilities.
To meet the rising demand for skilled professionals in this thriving industry, several U.S. universities and colleges have proactively established their own eSports departments. They now offer specialized degree programs and certifications within the field of esports.
In the US, the following esports scholarships are currently available:
- Boise State University is a public university located in Idaho. Boise State’s esports program offers scholarships to prospective LoL, Overwatch, and Rocket League players. Potential recipients must be a full-time student (12 or more credits) and currently have and possess a 3.0 GPA
- East Coast Polytechnic Institute (ECPI) University is a private school located in Virginia. ECPI offers one of the larger scholarship amounts for their esports program, but they are still in their accreditation period. They offer scholarships to LoL, Overwatch, Hearthstone, and CS: GO players. The scholarship amount is $5,000 per year.
- Ohio Northern University is a private school located in Ohio. The Ohio Northern esports program offers scholarships to Apex Legends, CS:GO, Fortnite, Hearthstone, LoL, Overwatch, PUBG, Rainbow Six Siege, Rocket League, Teamflight Tactics, and Valorant players. The scholarship amount is $2,000 per year.
In Canada, it seems that the Ontario province is the most proactive in terms of esports scholarships; other provinces are still dragging behind. The Ontario government has allocated $1 million in funding over a span of two years to establish a scholarship initiative aimed at postsecondary students in esports and associated activities.
The Ontario Esports Scholarship program is designed to provide financial support to students who are pursuing education in areas connected to game design, development, marketing, and innovation, with the potential to pave the way for careers in similar industries. Ontario offers the following esports scholarships as of today:
- University of Waterloo offers Several scholarships valued at $2,500 – $5,000, each will be awarded in 2023/24 for a total of $25,000. Upon determination of financial need, applications will be assessed by academic achievement and demonstrated interest in the video gaming and/or esports industry.
- St.Clair College opened an esports scholarship in 2023. This scholarship will offer financial assistance to high-achieving students with financial needs enrolled in programs related to the video-gaming industry or esports field. The amount of the award depends on the number of eligible applicants.
- The University of Ottawa has secured $50,000 over the next 2 years from the Ontario Esports Scholarship Program. High-achieving students looking to pursue a career in esports and video gaming can apply for a $2,500 annual scholarship.
Who Is Eligible for eSports Scholarships?
Esports scholarships are created to support and nurture students’ proficiency in video gaming. As a result, scholarships may not be available for those who do not demonstrate excellence, both in skill and in knowledge, in this regard.
To pursue an esports scholarship, students should first find out from their prospective schools about the availability of esports programs. If such programs exist, they can initiate the application process directly through the program itself, which might lead to showcasing their gaming skills, maintaining academic performance, etc., in addition to participating in an interview.
As the esports industry continues to constantly grow and the competition is high, gamers can find their place in this industry by applying for scholarships and eventually securing well-paid jobs. For those who don’t know where to start, consider the following actions:
- Live streaming of gaming: Coaches and recruiters are interested in observing the players’ gameplay rather than just seeing the ranking. Players should livestream or record their gaming sessions to showcase their achievements.
- Creating a recruitment profile: It’s advisable to construct an online recruitment profile that connects gamers with various coaches and recruiters to demonstrate their gaming skills. Profiles can be set on gaming platforms or even on LinkedIn.
- Initiating contact: Coaches may not always discover new gamers on their own, so taking the initiative to reach out and draw attention as a prospective recruit could be essential. Gamers have several options to connect with coaches, including email, phone calls, and social media. Of course, just reaching out does not guarantee anything, but this is better than just waiting and hoping to be noticed.
- Excelling academically: While strong academic performance isn’t the single determining factor for esports scholarship, certain coaches may also seek individuals who excel in both athletics and academics.
Video games are no longer a weird hobby, and people playing are no longer just hobbyists. Video gaming is taken to a new level, and those trying their skill out in this huge industry can have some totally different perspectives these days.