U.S. College and University Equestrian Scholarships

by Michelle Drum August 24, 2020 4 min read

College age rider on horse

Equestrian pursuits have always been popular in our country, and they’re rising in prevalence. In fact, equestrian is now considered an emerging sport by the National College Athletic Association (NCAA). This additional attention means more college and university scholarships are available for skilled and passionate young equestrians to pursue higher education while participating in equestrian programs. 

In this post, we’re sharing a list of equestrian scholarships offered by associations, schools, and private foundations and grants. Though this list includes a lot of great options, it’s by no means exhaustive. If there’s a school you’re interested in that has an equestrian program, make sure to reach out directly to see what financial assistance options they may have.

NCAA Varsity Equestrian Scholarships

The NCAA offers scholarships to Division 1 and 2 schools that offer programs following their guidelines. The eligibility for these scholarships varies across different universities and colleges. They offer only 15 per school, but each equestrian program can divide the scholarships to provide more students with smaller awards. 

Division 1 NCAA Programs

The following Division 1 colleges and universities offer NCAA equestrian team scholarships:

Division 2 NCAA Programs

There are currently four Division 2 equestrian programs offering NCAA scholarships and they are Stonehill College in Massachusetts, University of MinnesotaPace University in New York, and West Texas A&M.

Division 3 NCAA Programs

Division 3 schools are not eligible for NCAA scholarships. Some well-known and respected schools do have Division 3 NCAA Programs, like the University of Lynchburg in Virginia, SUNY New Paltz in New York, and scholarship awards are generally still available at these schools. However, they offer scholarships to support recruiting top talent based on academic performance and financial need.

Colleges and Universities with Equestrian Scholarships

Not all colleges compete in the NCAA, but they still offer strong equestrian programs. These colleges provide equestrian scholarships. 

  • Black Hawk College (Illinois) — This two-year college provides equine scholarships for its high-caliber programs and show teams.
  • Knox School (New York) — Offers scholarships of $1,500 for students participating in their first-year equestrian competition. All grade levels are available. Eligibility is evaluated based on academic achievement, community involvement, extra-curricular activities, and a short story submission.

If you’re interested in equestrian colleges or a university equestrian program and don’t see it listed, inquire directly to see what they might offer. Don’t forget to also check other colleges and universities with strong equestrian programs that don’t compete. Not all of the top schools with equestrian programs do.

Foundations and Privately-Funded Scholarships

Equine program scholarships are also offered through organizations and privately-funded sources. Here is a list of some of the top scholarship awards available through these programs.

  • Race for Education Scholarship Program — Scholarships are available for horsemen and women that pursue an education in animal stewardship. Eligibility for the awards is based on horsemanship background and financial need. 
  • USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award— The U.S. Equestrian Youth Sportsman’s Award offers scholarships to members in good standing under the age of 17. The award program’s aim is to distinguish youth for their achievements and to identify future leaders in the equine industry. Awards are given to those who demonstrate experience in competition and equestrian activities and demonstrate an ongoing commitment and their dedication to the sport.
  • USEF Higher Education Scholarship — U.S. Equestrian offers scholarships to high school seniors pursuing an equestrian education in college. The scholarship may go towards a degree program in equine or equine-specific agricultural studies or a college equestrian team or club. 
  • Michael Nyuis Scholarship — These scholarships are designed for passionate young riders who don’t have the financial means to compete. They are offered from ages 14 to 25 and may be used for an educational program or competition. Applicants must demonstrate their dedication to the sport.
  • The Emerson Burr Horsemanship Grant — This scholarship is intended to promote good horsemanship of young riders. Grants may be used for educational or equestrian-related expenses.

Higher education can be an expensive proposition, especially so for young equestrians who may compete. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of the financial resources available. And remember — just because the school of your choice isn’t listed in this article, doesn’t mean they don’t have scholarships available. Opportunities change with financial cycles, so be sure to reach out to inquire if you’re interested in a particular school or program. 

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