Competition for rowing scholarships varies greatly by school, as some colleges are
known for their programs and consider it an elite sport, while others place more
emphasis on higher-visibility sports like basketball and football. As the traditionally
male-dominated sport grows in popularity among women, so will competition for female
athletes looking to nab some of that NCAA scholarship money. Since rowing teams
are usually made up of about 20 athletes, the chances of scoring a full scholarship
are low, but it does mean if you’re a decent team player, you could have a shot
at landing a nice-sized partial scholarship.
If you’re going for college-based scholarship funding, you’ll have to play by the
NCAA’s rules. You’ll need a minimum GPA to be eligible, and maintain that GPA while
you’re on a team to keep your funding. While rowing has become known for being a
sport where walk-on scholarships are easier to land than in the more high-profile
sports, that phenomenon has been more common for female athletes as more schools
have begun adding women’s rowing programs. Most of the rowing scholarships you’ll
find will be college-based, but if you’ve been on your high school crew team, it
wouldn’t hurt to contact local groups and rowing associations to see whether they
do any sponsoring of athletes or offer scholarships. If you’re not sure whether
you’ll be trying out for your college team, don’t forget about academic scholarships
to help fund your education, since you would need a high GPA to participate on a
Check out some examples of where to find rowing scholarships below. For additional
information about awards based on different criteria, try conducting a free college
scholarship search at Scholarships.com.
About $1 billion in full and partial athletic scholarships are awarded each year
by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to more than 126,000 undergraduate
student-athletes at Division I and Division II schools. Although these scholarships
are awarded and administered directly by each academic institution, not the NCAA,
you’ll be required to meet the requirements of the NCAA to receive any funding.
Those requirements include a minimum GPA for both the college-bound and those already
on campuses, and qualifying standardized test scores. Contact your intended school’s
athletic department for more information if you have the academics and the skill
to play on a college team.
Rowing Scholarships for Women
If you’re an athletic high school student but don’t have a particular sport in mind
for what you’ll busy your time with in college, consider rowing. The number of female-only
rowing, or crew, teams has exploded over the last decade, and now women have a better
shot at landing scholarship money from a college than men do. Schools like Ohio
State University, the University of Michigan, and San Diego State University all
have generous funding available for female rowers, including some full rides, both
to satisfy Title IX requirements and bring more attention to the non-traditional
sport. So take advantage of the growth in the sport and the money available, as
you could be looking at a fully-funded college education and find a new sport you
enjoy, as well.
If you plan on rowing in college, your intended school could have funds and endowments
set up to help cover college athletes’ tuitions. The University of Texas Rowing
Scholarship at the University of Texas at Austin is for future rowers at the college,
including freshman walk-ons. The rowing team is divided into novice and varsity
squads, and no previous experience is necessary to compete for the award. With a
non-traditional sport like rowing, chances are you may have a better chance to land
some scholarship money than if you were participating in the more high-profile sports.
If you’ve been a part of a community or local rowing club, talk to the club’s leaders
about whether there are scholarships available to members of the club or the community.
The Hampton Roads Rowing Club, for example, in Norfolk, Va., provides an annual
$1,000 scholarship to one male and one female rower who plan to continue the sport
in college. Eligible applicants do not need to be members of the club, but should
be graduating high school seniors from the Tidewater area. Don’t rule out local
funding sources in your hunt for scholarships.
Amateur Rowing Associations
Are you active with your local amateur rowing association? That organization could
have a scholarship fund set up for its younger members, especially if you’re a high
school senior. The Merrimac River Rowing Association, for example, in Lowell, Mass.,
offers scholarships to high school seniors who have supported or participated in
rowing programs at the Bellegarde Boathouse. While the scholarships are only for
$200, winners also get their fees waived for the upcoming season. The Norwalk River
Rowing Association has a Matthew Zucker Memorial Scholarship Fund for low-income
students in the Norwalk area. If you’re already involved in an amateur rowing association
or want to get involved in one, consider contacting that group about annual scholarship
opportunities that could pad your financial aid package.
Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship Program
January 27, Annually
In 1988, the National Collegiate Athletic Association established the Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship Program as a means of recognizing the contributions of the former executive director through encouraging excellence in academic performance by student-athletes. Under this program, one male and one female student-athlete annually will be awarded a postgraduate scholarship in recognition of [...] More
Davis Law Group Scholar Athlete Program™
Scholar Athlete Program recognizes exceptional student athletes that are performing well in the classroom and on the field. To register for the scholarship, students need to apply online or be nominated by a coach, teacher, parent or friend. Students must be a senior in high school, currently attend a Washington State High School, have a 3.0 GPA or higher and participate in a sport. Students can [...] More
Furman University Athletic Scholarships
The Furman University Athletic Scholarships are partial to full scholarships awarded in 17 men's and women's intercollegiate sports. For more information, contact the director of athletics or the head coach in the sport in which you are [...] More
Kyle R. Magoto Scholarship Fund
March 22, Annually
To be eligible for an award from the Kyle R. Magoto Scholarship Fund, applicant must be a Russia High School (Shelby Co., Ohio) graduating senior who is pursuing an associate's or a bachelor's degree as a full-time student at an acredited educational institution, have a high school GPA not less than 3.0 on a 4.0 grading scale and must have participated in no less than five (5) athletic seasons [...] More
World Sport Chicago Scholarship
December 12, Annually
World Sport Chicago is the living legacy of Chicago’s 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Bid, dedicated to supporting the athletic and academic dreams of Chicago’s youth. The WSC Scholars Program was created to help student-athletes prepare for and succeed in college.
High school juniors who live and study in Chicago and have participated in an eligible Olympic/Paralympic sport for two seasons in the [...] More