The most generous – and competitive – skiing and snowboarding scholarships will naturally be at colleges situated in locations where snow sports are ways of life. The University of Denver, for example, offers not only a recognized college ski team, but an opportunity to train on some of the best slopes in the country if you’re serious about honing your craft. Most skiing and snowboarding scholarships will be college-based, and under the rules of the NCAA. You’ll need a minimum GPA to qualify not only for scholarships but to land a position on a team. You’ll also need to keep your grades up to stay on the team, as all those awarded NCAA sports scholarships must maintain a strong academic record to participate in their college sports programs. Depending on the program though, you could get up to a full scholarship if you’re a good enough skier or boarder, although many schools will use available scholarship funding to build the best team possible and allocate a certain percentage to each athlete.
If you’re a high school skier or boarder with an impressive athletic and academic record, go after those college-based scholarships yourself rather than waiting for them to come to you. Contact colleges with ski and snowboard programs that you’re interested in, and conduct a college search to narrow down your choices. Competition for the winter sport is high at the top programs, so don’t rule out smaller schools that have athletic programmed just as rewarding as those at the biggest schools.
Check out some examples of skiing and snowboarding scholarships below. For additional information about skiing and snowboarding scholarships and 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 ski on a college team.
If you plan on skiing in college, your intended college could have funds and endowments for the sport, often set up by alumni who were skiing on the school team before you ever set foot on that campus. Sierra Nevada College, for example, has a Ski/Snowboard Athletic Scholarship dedicated to members of the school’s ski and snowboard teams. 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.
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association has a tuition assistance program for student-athletes who are U.S. Snowboarding team members with minimum 2.0 GPAs. If you’re Olympic caliber and qualify for the A, B, or C teams, you’re automatically eligible for an award. Alumni are also eligible for two years of financial assistance after they officially retire. Applicants’ annual incomes should not be greater than $50,000, and skiers must be enrolled in an accredited college or university. The association also has a partnership going with the University of Utah. Utah skiers attending school in-state are eligible for in-state student rates following an immediate move to Utah, rather than waiting a year or more before eligibility kicks in for in-state scholarship awards.
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