Gymnastics is a sport where your skill level definitely matters. Of the formal athletic organizations out there, only the NCAA awards gymnastics scholarships to male and female athletes, making the funding pool even more competitive. Gymnasts are then competing for not only a limited number of spots on the team but a limited number of scholarships, as the NCAA only allows a certain number of awards per school, per team, and per gender.
Many coaches scout for good gymnasts at gyms that have become known for churning out impressive gymnasts. But, the best strategy is not to wait to be contacted. Have your coach send in footage of your best tumbling passes or bar work, as many gymnasts are “specialists” at a certain discipline rather than excelling in every aspect of gymnastics. Gymnasts who aren’t at the skill level to be accepted into a top gymnastics program but are still interested in keeping up with the sport on a club or intramural level should look into scholarships run by local teams and organizations. To be eligible for NCAA scholarships, gymnasts must also have minimum GPAs and maintain good grades throughout their time at their intended schools, so don’t rule out academic scholarships to supplement your financial aid package.
Check out some examples of where to find gymnastics 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.
If you have the talent to try out for a college gymnastics team, don’t assume that the scholarship funding you’re eligible for will be offered to you by your intended college. Most schools have funds and endowments set up by alumni who played the sport before you ever set foot on that campus or in honor of relatives and important figures to your school. Kent State University, for example, awards the Michael D. Aquino Gymnastics Scholarship to gymnasts attending the college. Make sure you do your research, and talk to your financial aid office and athletic departments about local and college-based awards you could be eligible for.
If you’re thinking about pursuing gymnastics on the college level, you’re probably spending hours at the gym of a local gymnastics club, especially if your high school doesn’t have a dedicated gymnastics team. Many of the larger gyms will offer funding for their gymnasts to help them pay for college, so be sure to talk to your coach about any available scholarships. Your coach could also point you to other local and state resources where the competition may be less fierce than awards through national organizations or colleges, so do your research. The Michael Sims Scholarship, for example, is open only to Texas gymnasts who plan on continuing the sport in college. Even if you land some scholarship money through your college, chances are it won’t be a full ride, so explore all of your options locally and state-wide.
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