As eSports have become more and more mainstream, we see colleges beginning to offer scholarships based on gaming ability in much the same way one might see traditional sports scholarships. My own college even has an eSports team, and EPSN now features eSports competitions. It’s no surprise that schools are now starting to offer Fortnite scholarships as the battle royale game continues to dominate the industry. That’s right: you can get a scholarship for your aptitude at Fortnite. Ashland University in Ohio has become the first school in the US to offer a scholarship to students for this particular game.
They plan to accommodate a four-player team alongside coaching and squads for Counter-Strike, League of Legends, Overwatch, and Rocket League when the program debuts in the competitive collegiate eSports scene next fall. Beginning with the fall 2018 semester, the Ashland Eagles eSports team will be holding open tryouts for current and prospective students. Scholarships of up to $4,000 will be offered based on both player skill and academic history. While Fortnite isn’t exactly a powerful force in the eSports world compared to more mainstream eSports games like Overwatch, League of Legends, CSGO or any variety of fighting games, if it means students can go to school and enjoy their favorite games, I’m happy to see scholarships like this continue. Fortnite is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, and iOS.
It has recently had a v3.5 content update and continues to dominate sales in the industry.
Esports Scholarship Programs that Aim to Better the Entire Community
Seeking a career path can be difficult for young college students, especially if they’re wasting all their time to play video games. Universities throughout the United States have been offering esports scholarships for talented players to come and play video games for their varsity teams. These forms of financial aid not only seek to help those gifted individuals achieve their own success but also, inadvertently, to benefit the entire competitive gaming community as a whole. Stephens College is one school that is seeking to directly benefit the diversification of the competitive gaming scene. The gaming world certainly has its accounts of sexual harassment, and the eSports part of that world is unfortunately no different.
Luckily, the NACE reduces instances of harassment with their program, which largely benefits women in the gaming realm. Those circuits belong to the fighting game community. Evo, short for Evolution, is a fighting game tournament held in Las Vegas every summer. The monetary aid gives students the chance for a full-ride degree in game design, specifically fighting game design. Kao’s knowledge of the psychology behind the fighting game genre will undoubtedly help him in his career as a game designer.
Competitive gaming is at an all-time high, and it keeps expanding. Through calculated and determined efforts from the likes of NYU and Stephens college, it’s easy to understand that video game enthusiasts are not alone in their desire to create a better community for everyone.
College scholarships for playing video games? ESports hits money
With college tuition bills coming due, scholarships for students are kicking in, too. This fall, the University of California at Irvine plans to offer $5,600 scholarships for 10 top student gamers. It claims to be the first public university to offer scholarships for eSports team members who will represent the school in competitions with teams from other colleges. Rather than relying on tax dollars, the program aims to get all its funding from corporate sponsors and charges to students who use a new campus gaming room. I mentioned the idea to a college student I know who just completed a stint as a camp counselor.
ESports pulls in millions of regular online viewers and fills arenas with people watching other people play video games. ESports also generates stunningly big pots of money for its stars. Complications come when serious eSports veer onto university campuses. ESports may roll over traditional restrictions on pay-for-play in college athletics. At the moment, eSports supporters are focused on more modest goals: Getting funding for travel to competitions, hiring part-time coaches, enjoying early registration for classes in order to work around daily team practices.
Albert Lee, president of Georgia Tech’s eSports, told me the top goal for the student organization’s very best players is to get automatic excused absences from exams when they travel to competitions. Lee said he’s heard from international students who told him they first learned about Tech through its eSports success.