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College eSports Scholarships

By Jason Lee in Sports
| June 28, 2017 12:00 am PDT
eSports Scholarships

I think saying that eSports is exploding in popularity is a massive understatement. Recently, we’ve seen in the news that eSports may be making its way into the Olympics and we’ve seen some massive companies and massive players in the industry making massive moves to grow the sport. Massive looks like the best word to describe the growth of the industry.

The latest installment of this massive expansion is that you can now not only take eSports classes in school but you can get eSports scholarships if you’re good enough at certain games. Let me restate that in simpler terms. Colleges will PAY for your schooling to come play eSports for their school.

Let’s take a look at some of the programs currently available. As new colleges are joining the revolution all the time, this list will probably be dated the moment we release it. If you know of any other colleges or schools offering something like this, please comment below and I’ll make sure to get it included in the list.

Columbia College

Columbia College now offers a scholarship program for gamers that came out of one of the coolest stories we’ve heard. Apparently, the college president is a big time gamer and offered to pay for any student’s textbooks if they could beat him at Madden. Shortly after this challenge was posted, the scholarship program was created.

University of Utah

This school is offering partial scholarships for members of their League of Legends team. The scholarships are not full scholarships, but are still a move in the right direction!

Maryville University

If you follow collegiate eSports then you’ve definitely heard of Maryville University. The college team is back to back champs of League of Legends and as such has a scholarship program to entice top players to come to the school.

Robert Morris University

One of the most robust scholarships on the list, the program at Robert Morris offers up to 50% of tuition, room, and board for those on the scholarship program. If your mom told you that video games were a waste of time and money, you may have the last laugh now if you’re good.

University of Pikeville

The school offers multiple eSports scholarships specifically for Hearthstone and League of Legends. According to one of the articles I read on the school, the administration feels that strong gamers have the same qualities of a strong student.

University of California, Irvine

Not only does this top school offer eSports scholarships, they also offer a dedicated eSports arena fully decked out with high end gaming equipment and webcasting equipment. It’s a clear showing that not only are the gamers important to the industry, but the technology and those operating the technology will have a strong place in the industry and the school hopes to cultivate that.

What Does This Mean and What Should We Expect

For any eSports fanatic or aspiring professional player, this is huge. First, this is proof of the growth of the sport. The more mainstream outlets that get behind the sport, the faster and bigger it will grow. Secondly, this is great for players that still want to get a college education while pursuing their gaming dream. In the past, gamers would have to try and squeak by in life and didn’t have full support to pursue their dreams.

Now, gamers can go for their dreams knowing full well that they will be also earning a degree that they can fall back on if they don’t quite make the elite cut. This is the way it is for other sports like football and basketball where most of the collegiate players won’t make it in the pros. This allows them to explore that opportunity without the fear that they will be out on the streets if they’re just not up to the elite level.

What I would guess we should expect is continued growth in these scholarship programs. Right now they’re only for a few games and only partial scholarships. In the coming years, though, I expect these to turn into full ride scholarships and expand to some of the larger schools in the country.

The scholarship growth will probably be on pace with the growth of the industry as a whole. If eSports actually gets accepted into the Olympics, you can bet that a lot more schools are going to be getting behind it.

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