Jul 192011


Rowing Scholarships

College rowing scholarships have slowly been becoming more common place in North America since the late 1990s, especially in places which have never before hosted rowing teams. Despite the rising popularity of the sport, scholarships for rowing are still relatively rare when compared to other athletic scholarships. Most college rowing scholarships are available either through specific colleges or through rowing clubs, also known in some areas as boathouses. Students who are interested in rowing scholarships will want to look very carefully through available programs, as there are many funding options available but not necessarily for college.

Quite a few rowing scholarships exist specifically to help people get into the sport through local boathouses and are not available for college funding. Students interested in collegiate rowing scholarships will find their best sources are either through National Collegiate Athletic Association funding programs. Colleges which host effective rowing scholarship programs are few and far between while also generally focused on women rowers. Those looking for rowing scholarships would also be advised to check sources very carefully – with the rise in the popularity of rowing, many different programs have popped up only to disappear within couple of years. Colleges and the NCAA provide the most stable rowing scholarship opportunities, and students would be smart to check in with these sources first and foremost. The Rowers Almanac, now very much out of date, still provides some useful links for students to make use of, so checking there as a secondary source is never a bad idea.

Regional organizations have been known to provide limited athletic scholarships for rowing to members or outstanding athletes. The Merrimac River Rowing Association is one such group giving out two different rowing scholarships of $250 every year. This athletic scholarship is non-renewable and all applicants will need to be members of the MRRA. Eligibility for the program requires that applicants be accepted to college and be nominated by a coach or MRRA officer. Application materials must be turned in no later than March 15 in order to be considered. This rowing scholarship is one example of the very few regional associations which provide athletic scholarships. Students interested in regional awards should consult with organizations in which they have membership to find out whether or not their association has a program of their own.

Much more common than regional program many boathouses or rowing clubs provide college rowing scholarships. The Occoquan Boat Club is a good example of an organization which provides rowing scholarships more locally. OBC provides the Julia Shaw Memorial Rowing Scholarship to students who are members of the club and row on the Occoquan Reservoir. In order to be eligible for the program students will need to be current students at a high school in Sandy Run, Bull Run or Oxford House and be active in their school’s rowing program. The awards given out are between $250 and $500. Varying numbers of students are given awards each year and in 2011 sixteen different students received financial aid. Application materials must be turned in no later than December 3, 2011.

Another great example of an organization which gives out a rowing scholarship comes from the Toledo Community Foundation which gives out the Toledo Rowing/Anderton L. Bentley, Jr. Memorial Scholarship. This program awards a varying amount every year to an unspecified number of students which can be used to help pay for tuition, books, rooming or other college related fees. Students interested in this program will need to be members of the Toledo Rowing Club, be United States citizens, be active rowing participants for at least on year, have a 3.5 grade point average and have strong scores on the ACT or SAT. All application materials are due no later than May 27.

College rowing scholarships can sometimes be difficult to come by and students should always consult with their coaches or local boathouses for information regarding financial assistance. Particularly strong rowing athletes should always pick up a recruiting service and make an attempt for an NCAA rowing scholarship which typically provides at least half of a school’s tuition costs, but often makes available full rides to a very limited number of students.

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