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16 top sports scholarships for non-athletes

Athletic health professionals, educators and journalists can find money to help pay for school.

You don't need to be an athlete to get a sports scholarship. Private organizations and even some schools offer funding for sports-related work in a wide range of fields — from medicine to management. While they likely won't cover your degree, they sometimes come with perks that can help your career like an internship or a chance to attend a conference.

Our methodology: How we picked these scholarships

We picked these top scholarships based scholarship amounts and requirements and the number of scholars each year. We also favored scholarships specifically for students in a non-athletic sports fields — like health professionals or journalists — rather than scholarships available to larger fields.

What type of scholarship are you looking for?

Sports medicineSports journalism
Physical education
Sports management

5 sports medicine scholarships

Going into sports medicine? You can supplement your financial aid with scholarships specific to your field. There are only a few options and most only offer a few thousand dollars, if anything. But competition is thin, giving you a better chance of getting the scholarship.

EATA scholarships

  • Amount: $3,000
  • Eligibility requirements: Nomination by an instructor who is a member of the EATA, enrolled in an entry-level accredited athletic training program.
  • Deadline: N/A

The Eastern Athletic Trainers' Association (EATA) offers 10 scholarships to undergraduate students and one for doctoral candidates. While there are no hard requirements, the EATA committee bases its selection on your recommendation and transcripts. It offers some of the highest awards, though only two students per academic program can win this scholarship annually.

Freddie Fu Sports Medicine Scholarship Program

  • Amount: $2,000
  • Eligibility requirements: Western Pennsylvania resident, entering senior year of high school in September 2020, strong interest in sports medicine.
  • Deadline: April 20

Each year, one high school senior from Western Pennsylvania is awarded $2,000 to cover the cost of an undergraduate degree. In exchange, you'll land a six-week summer internship at the UPMC, letting you get hands-on care with patients — helping you jumpstart your career. But it's only available for your freshman year.

NEACSM sports scholarships

  • Amount: $500, $750 and $1,000
  • Eligibility requirements: Member of the NEACSM in good standing, enrolled in a college or university in New England, studying clinical or basic exercise science or sports medicine — or a field related to sports medicine. Other requirements vary by scholarship.
  • Deadline: November 7

The New England Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine (NEACSM) offers three scholarships to medical students, minority and service-based scholarships to its members. Generally you need to maintain a GPA of 3.3 or higher — though it can vary. Applicants are typically selected based on academic merit and professional experience in the field.

West Chester University Athletic Training Awards and Scholarships

  • Amount: $500, $750, $1,000 and $2,000
  • Eligibility requirements: Outstanding academic performance
  • Deadline: N/A

West Chester University's (WCU) Department of Sports Medicine offers four scholarships to students each year, based on academic merit. Awards are available to freshman, juniors and seniors, as well as minority students or students with financial need. WCU's financial aid department handles applications, so reach out for application instructions and deadlines.

ACSM Foundation Research grants

  • Amount: $1,500 to $10,000
  • Eligibility requirements: Doctoral research student, other requirements vary by grant.
  • Deadline: January 17

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) offers five research grants to doctoral candidates each year, which run anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000. You can't use the funds for coursework or personal expenses, but it can cover costs associated with a research project. Larger grants typically go to a specific field of research like epidemiology or musculoskeletal physiology.

5 sports journalism scholarships

You'll have the best luck finding a sports journalism scholarship if you look locally — most are only available to residents of a specific area. If you can't qualify for any scholarships on this list, reach out to your school's journalism department. Chances are they offer merit-based funding, even if it's not specifically for sports reporting.

Bohdan Kolinsky Memorial Sports Journalism Scholarship

  • Amount: $3,000
  • Eligibility requirements: High school senior, Connecticut resident, admitted to a four-year school, intending to study sports journalism, good academic standing.
  • Deadline: February 21

First-year students can apply for this scholarship through the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance, named for the former sports editor at the Hartford Courant. It's one of the larger scholarships out there for sports journalists, though only one student receives it annually. You can apply through the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance website.

AWSM scholarship

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Eligibility requirements: Female college student, interest in working in sports media.
  • Deadline: N/A

The Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM) offers eight scholarships every year to undergraduate women who plan on working in sports media. The $1,000 award isn't much, but it's only one of the benefits of this program — scholars also get placed in a summer internship, get to attend the AWSM annual conference and a year of AWSM membership for free. Past internships were at organizations like CNN, ESPN, and USA Today Sports.

Lou and Carole Prato Sports Reporting Scholarship

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Eligibility requirements: Sophomore, junior or senior working in radio, TV or digital journalism
  • Deadline: January 31

Thinking of becoming a newscaster or digital news writer? This scholarship could be for you.

In addition to the $1,000 award, the winner is also invited to attend the Excellence in Journalism conference, which can help you land an internship or even future job. You'll have to include between three and five work samples, which should be either broadcast or online news pieces.

Gene Seymour Memorial Sports Journalism Scholarship

  • Amount: Varies
  • Eligibility requirements: Sophomore, junior or senior, full-time journalism major at Eastern Illinois University, worked with the sports journalism section of The Daily Eastern News for at least four semesters, good academic standing, at least one semester left before graduation.
  • Deadline: March 15

This niche scholarship is for journalism students at Eastern Illinois University. Qualify if you've worked with the sports section of the school's newspaper for at least four semesters.

Unlike many other sports journalism scholarships, you can renew this one at least once, provided that you continue to meet the eligibility criteria. Contact the journalism department to learn more about how to apply.

AQHF Journalism or Communications Scholarship

  • Amount: N/A
  • Eligibility requirements: Junior or senior in high school or first-year student in college, member of AQHYA or AQHA for at least one year, 2.5 GPA or higher.
  • Deadline: N/A

Journalism students interested in equestrian sports might want to consider the American Quarter Horse Foundation (AQHF)'s journalism scholarship. Selection is based on your academic record, financial need and involvement in AQFH. Log in to your AQFH account for more details about the application and how to apply.

The Fred Russell-Grantland Rice Scholarship

  • Amount: $25,000
  • Eligibility requirements: Vanderbilt student, strong academics.
  • Deadline: December 1

Vanderbilt University offers this merit-based scholarship to students interested in pursuing sports journalism. It's one of the largest sports journalism scholarships out there and it's available to incoming first-year students. You can apply for it when you submit your Vanderbilt application.

4 physical education scholarships

Like the other types of scholarships we've included, you'll need to look locally to find the most options — though there are programs available on the national level. Check with any state or regional organizations that promote physical education or health, as well.

Bill Kane Undergraduate Scholarship

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Eligibility requirements: Undergraduate majoring in health education, enrolled at least full-time for the fall and spring semester, 3.25 GPA or higher, sophomore, junior or senior, not a previous Bill Kane scholar.
  • Deadline: October 15

The Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America) offers this scholarship to one high-achieving undergraduate student annually studying health education. In addition to the $1,000 award to spend however you choose, scholars receive a one-year membership to SHAPE America. Apply online through the SHAPE America website.

Althea Gibson Endowed Scholarship

  • Amount: $1,500 each year
  • Eligibility requirements: Florida high school or community college student, 3.5 GPA or higher, intend to study Physical Education at FAMU
  • Deadline: June 1

Apply for this scholarship if you're a high-achieving high school or community college student in Florida and plan on getting a physical education degree at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). You can renew it each year.

Jean Lee/Jeff Marvin Collegiate Scholarship

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Eligibility requirements: Undergraduate student enrolled full-time at an Indiana college or University, majoring in physical education, health, kinesiology, recreation, dance or exercise science
  • Deadline: January 15

The Indiana Society for Health and Physical Educators (INSHAPE) offers six undergraduate students this award annually to help cover tuition and books. Students are judged based on factors like academic performance, financial need and professional experience. In addition to the scholarship, students are recognized at the INSHAPE State Conference.

2 sports management scholarships

Many management schools offer merit- and need-based funding to students, which can sometimes cover more than private organizations. But you may want to look into trade organizations specific to the type of management that interests you. That way you're competing with fewer applicants.

Isenberg School of Management scholarships

  • Amount: Varies
  • Eligibility requirements: Must be enrolled in the Isenberg School of Management and demonstrate financial need and academic merit.
  • Deadline: Mid-October

The Isenberg School of Management at University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst offers several scholarships to its students, including those studying sports management. Award amounts vary depending on the scholarship, and you can apply by filling out a general scholarship application through the Academic Works website on the UMass Amherst website.

SMA Scholarship

  • Amount: $3,000
  • Eligibility requirements: Completed at least two years of study or classified as a junior, registered full time for the scholarship year, community service or stadium-related work experience.
  • Deadline: April 10

Each year the Stadium Managers Association (SMA) gives three undergraduates this scholarship to help jumpstart a career in stadium management. In addition to the award, you'll also receive complementary membership in the SMA — and you don't have to be a current member to apply. It's a merit-based scholarship, though financial need, community service and work experience also factor into your application.

How else can I pay for school?

Chances are, these scholarships won't make much of a dent in your cost of tuition. You might want to supplement them with one or more of the following types of aid.

  • General scholarships. Many schools and states offer merit-based scholarships for general academic achievement — often at larger amounts than these awards. Also check with your department for more generalized funding.
  • Grants. Grants are typically based on financial need, and don't take your major into account. You can apply through your school and private organizations.
  • Federal student aid. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to be considered for federal grants, work-study and student loans — which are generally cheaper than private funding.
  • Private student loans. Exhausted your other options? A private student loan can help cover any remaining costs — including personal expenses like housing and transportation — though it's more expensive than the federal option.

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Bottom line

A non-athletic sports scholarship can help you cover a small part of your degree. But they might be more valuable as a way to advance your career, since many offer internships or membership to trade organizations. You can learn more about your free aid options by visiting our guide to scholarships.

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