ESA Foundation Opens the 2020-21 Scholarship Application Process with its First-Ever College Esports Program for American Women & Minorities

  • 01.17.2020
  • Press Releases

The esports scholarship is one of three the Foundation now offers college students seeking a career in the video game industry; Applications due March 2

WASHINGTONJan. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Recognizing the need to help women and minority college students access quality education as well as pathways to working in the video game industry, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) Foundation today opened its 2020-21 scholarship process. The Foundation also announced that, for the first time, it’s offering an esports scholarship. The Foundation now offers three scholarships: its Computer and Video Game Arts Scholarship; another scholarship co-awarded by Gay Gaming Professionals for service to LGBTQ+ communities; and a scholarship for college students competing on esports teams at accredited four-year institutions in the United States. The application deadline for all three scholarships is March 2, 2020.

The video game industry is one of the nation’s fastest-growing economic sectors, employing more than 220,000 Americans across all 50 states — with increasing job opportunities. As a highly technical, skilled occupation, video game design and development has made its way into higher education, with upwards of 500 colleges and universities now offering programs or degrees related to video games. Just five years ago, that number was less than 200.

“The ESA Foundation is devoted to empowering the next generation of video game creators and fostering an industry in which those creators reflect the players they’re making games for,” said Anastasia Staten, the ESA Foundation’s executive director. “We’re excited to expand our scholarship offering this year to include underrepresented students passionate about esports, which has quickly become one of the most popular forms of entertainment. But it’s also important that aspiring game creators get to tell their unique stories in ever-more-creative ways.”

Since its inception 20 years ago, the ESA Foundation has awarded close to 400 scholarships to women and minority students pursuing degrees leading to careers in the industry. Aside from receiving funding, awardees are invited to network with game developers, attend educational sessions and meet industry leaders at big events, including E3, the industry’s premier annual trade show in Los Angeles.

Past ESA Foundation Computer and Video Game Arts scholars include Geneva Heyward, a New York University student majoring in game design. Geneva won numerous awards for creating games that promote diversity, inclusion and social good. Another recipient, who was also an inaugural winner of the Gay Gaming Professionals scholarship, is Steven Harmon, a game modeling-and-design major at the University of Southern California. His PC video game “Awkward Dimensions Redux” has been played more than 300,000 times and earned an honorable mention at the Independent Games Festival in 2017.

Key ESA Foundation 2020-21 Scholarship Details

  • Computer and Video Game Arts Scholarship: Established in 2007, the ESA Foundation’s Computer and Video Game Arts Scholarship program has awarded nearly 400 scholarships to women and minority students around the country, enabling them to follow their dream of earning video game-related degrees. Eligible applicants for ESA Foundation’s Computer and Video Game Arts Scholarship can also opt in for an additional scholarship provided by a partnership with Gay Gaming Professionals. Debuted last year, the scholarship recognizes students who show a commitment to service work in LGBTQ+ communities. A link to the Computer and Video Game Arts Scholarship application can be found here.
  • ESA Foundation esports scholarship: While the National Association of Collegiate Esports estimates that over $16 million in esports college scholarships have been awarded since 2016, both women and minority students account for a low percentage of recipients. The ESA Foundation is hoping to change that. This year, as part of its 2020-21 scholarship program, the ESA Foundation introduced its first-ever esports scholarship, offering academic support for women and minorities competitively gaming through their U.S. colleges and universities. A link to the ESA Foundation esports scholarship application can be found here.

Applications for all scholarships close March 2, 2020 at 11:59 PM PSTApplicants will be notified of selection results by mid-June 2020 and funds will be disbursed by August 2020.

For contact information and FAQs, click here.

About The ESA Foundation
The ESA Foundation provides scholarships to the next generation of industry innovators and supports charitable organizations and schools that leverage entertainment software and technology to create meaningful opportunities for America’s youth. We seek to harness the collective power of the interactive entertainment industry to create positive social impact in our communities. We support geographically diverse projects and programs that benefit grantees of all ages, races and religions. To date, ESA Foundation has raised more than $23 million for a wide variety of worthy causes primarily through our signature event, Nite to Unite.


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