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Marksmanship/Rifle Scholarships

Marksmanship is one of the rare disciplines where the best scholarship opportunities may be found outside of your college. People who are marksman, or sharpshooters, are skilled in precision shooting, typically using projectile weapons such as a rifle. As rifling grows in popularity, state-wide and local groups are looking to promote the sport more. While some of organizations can get political on the issue of gun laws, others are more focused on keeping competitive rifling alive. It may be a plus to be a member of one of these organizations, as some may require a membership in order to receive scholarships. One that doesn't require membership is The Civilian Marksmanship Program, which awards a $1,000 scholarship to students who can demonstrate rifle or pistol marksmanship competition or experience. It also requires that you compete in competitions, and you can make yourself stand out.

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Many outside organizations also award scholarships based on criteria outside of your marksmanship abilities. If you're good at the sport but don’t necessarily want to compete in the sport on the college level, look at scholarships from rifle groups that reward you for other criteria, such as academic achievement or community service. Some groups also consider your financial need. Those interested in pursuing marksmanship on the college level, however, should be aware that college-based awards will require a minimum GPA for you to get on a team and receive an award. There are over 300 colleges and universities in the United States that offer shooting programs. At the collegiate level, there are high-level competitions for skilled shooters, such as the Pistol and Rifle Club Sectionals, as well as the NRA Intercollegiate Championships.The NCAA, while usually more competitive than awards doled by outside groups and organizations, also rewards athletes on the postgraduate level.

Check out some examples of where to find marksmanship scholarships below. For additional information about scholarships and awards based on different criteria, try conducting a free college scholarship search at Scholarships.com.

NCAA Scholarships

About $2.7 billion in full and partial athletic scholarships are awarded each year by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to more than 180,000 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.

College-Based Scholarships

If you plan on rifling in college, your prospective institution could have funds and endowments set up by alumni who participated in the sport before you ever set foot on that campus or in honor of relatives and important figures to your school. Some of the top schools for college rifle include West Virginia, Murray State, Kentucky, and TCU. Since they are top-tier programs and some of the best in the nation, the greater your skill, the more scholarship money you may earn. Like other sports, the amount of each annual award may vary based on performance. 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.

Scholarships by State

State and local rifle and pistol organizations can be good sources of scholarship money. The Dave Ward Memorial Scholarship, for example, is available through the Monumental Rifle and Pistol Club in Maryland. High school juniors and seniors are eligible to apply for the $1,000 award, and you don't need to be a part of the association to win. Make sure you're looking locally when applying for scholarship funding to fund your college education and interest in the sport, especially if you already belong to a rifle or pistol club in your community.

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Last Reviewed: January 2021