Chess scholarships offer multiple pathways for chess scholars to pursue their education goals while enhancing their chess skills. Qualifications are often tied to academic performance. As a result, only the leading chess-playing colleges offer chess scholarships. Some use the awards as a talent attraction strategy, recruiting the winners in their teams for future tournaments. Like in baseball, colleges scout the best chess players from high schools to strengthen their teams and boost their winning chances.
What Colleges Offer Chess Scholarships in the US?
- The University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC): $22,000
UMBC are the Yankees of college chess. The university is among the top chess tournaments winners in the country, with one of the most diverse and versatile teams. As a result, the institution has the most attractive scholarship program for high school and college students. The Chess Player Scholar Award is only accessible to highly-rated freshman chess players with stellar academic credentials. You can win up to $15,000 in scholarship if you are a Baltimore resident and $22,000 for out-of-state learners. This is perhaps the most attractive scholarship for international students if you are looking to study abroad.
- The University of Texas and Dallas: Tuition and fees
For every Yankee, there is a Sox. UT Dallas is famous for offering lucrative chess scholarships to master-level players and tournament winners since 1997. Its scholarship program is designed to produce an all-around scholar chess player, covering full tuition, fees, and stipend to successful applicants. Winners also get to join an elite chess team, with a trophy-laden cabinet. By recruiting only the best chess scholars, UT Dallas competes at the very top with leaders UMBC for the National Collegiate Chess League and Pan American Intercollegiate.
- Texas Tech University (TTU): Tuition and fees
Texas Tech University is one of the leading chess-playing colleges in the United States. Its Knight Raiders Chess program is one of the elite teams in the country, competing in almost all levels of related competitions. The institution offers scholarships to qualified individuals, allowing chess elite players a chance at graduate and undergraduate programs. Besides, it’s one of the most lucrative chess scholarships for college, covering both tuition and fees. The scholarship is also available to nonstate and international students.
- University of Connecticut (UConn): $14,000
The University of Connecticut is one of the leading institutions in the United States, especially in Engineering and related courses. Commonly known as UConn, the university has a reputation for retaining students through campus life. Over 90% of its enrollees graduate despite having a rigorous college education and relatively high fees. Best-performing chess players from various high schools get a chance to enjoy cheaper fees with renewable scholarships. UConn’s School of Engineering offers a total of $14k in scholarships for chess players and tournament winners.
- Webster University: $16,500
Webster’s Chess Excellence Scholarship program allows college students to apply for funding from within the institution. This scholarship is only open to learners already enrolled in Webster’s programs. The award is based on the student’s willingness to participate in various competitions at national, regional, and state levels. Participants in tournaments can win as high as $5,000 in prizes from the larger pot of $16,500 available. Additional special prizes are available to participants and winners for categories such as women, brilliancy, and age. This structural organization of the scholarship awards and tournament winnings make Webster’s program one of the most attractive chess college scholarships.
Winning Chess College Scholarships
College chess scholarships are perhaps the most straightforward awards you can go for, especially if you are an elite chess player. However, you may need more than just good ratings in chess. Like any other scholarship application, applicants need to complete scholarship essays to showcase their scholarly skills. But writing an essay is the easy part of the application since most students can access help from a paper writer you can easily hire online. Challenges emerge at the tournament stage and when demonstrating your academic credentials. You need at least a GPA of 3.0 or more to apply. Some institutions also require applications to compete and win at a real-life tournament. In that case, you may need to sharpen more than your writing skills, if you want to land a lucrative chess scholarship.
Other Chess Scholarships for College
US Chess Federation: Assorted prizes
The chess federation rewards the brightest chess players and ambassadors of the game in leadership and education with scholarships. The awards are available to chess scholars, another term for highly rated players with stellar academic credentials. You can also win a scholarship if you are rated below 2000. You only need to show how such an award will help you further in the scholarship application essay. Whether you study at Cambridge, Harvard, or the University of Houston, you are free to apply. These scholarships are not limited to any academic institutions.
Saint Louis Chess Club: $30,000
Saint Louis Chess Club partners with other organizations and academic institutions to provide scholarship opportunities for young chess players. Mostly, the awards are available to tournament winners and participants. However, the club also organizes training and teaches young American chess scholars. The legends and rising stars of American chess alone provide access to $10,000 of scholarships for American and International students. With three different categories, the tournament has a total of $30,000 in reward money every year.
The Herbert B Jacklyn Program: $7,500
The US Chess Federation manages the Herbert B. Jacklyn program for the furtherance of chess talent for students aged 18-21. In honor of Herbert Jacklyn, the federation awards scholarships to talented individuals in this age group capped at $1000 per person. The assorted awards amount to a total of $7,500 annually. Interested individuals must apply before 15th August every year by writing an essay.
Puddletown Chess: $3,600
The Puddletown Chess Girl Training Scholarship is open to applicants for the 2024 period. This program provides access to chess training for underrepresented groups. In this case, the tournament is dedicated to girls in level 2. With a total of $3,600 for the spring period, you stand a chance to win free level 2 training if you qualify. The organization offers an additional $3,000 for rural chess training at any level. This grant is accessible to schools and chess coaches in rural Oregon only.
Susan Polgar Foundation: $100,000
The Susan Polgar Foundation in partnership with Webster University offers up to $100,000 in scholarships to female learners and chess players. According to the US Chess Federation, the organization also facilitates multiple awards for winners and participants in various competitions. Currently, the foundation is the main sponsor for SPFNO championship for both boys and girls with over $100,000 in scholarships available to the winners.
The University of Cambridge in the UK offers a totally different CHESS scholarship. This term is an acronym for Cambridge Home and EU Scholarship Scheme (CHESS), a lucrative award for PhD students. The program offers up to £13,226 per person per year and a maintenance bursary for learners in the UK and Europe. However, there are no chess ratings or tournament requirements for this one.