Cheering at the collegiate level can be a dream come true for men and women who grew up in the gym and on the mats. At some Florida universities, cheerleading can also have financial benefits. Some Florida schools offer scholarships for members of their cheerleading squads, which can help offset the cost of tuition. Although the scholarship amounts vary, Florida university cheerleaders can do what they love while earning money to put toward their education.
University of Florida
The University of Florida (UF) Gator cheerleaders can earn scholarships through several programs run by the school's fundraising arm, the University of Florida Foundation, and the University Athletic Association. The Mr. 2-Bits Cheerleader Scholarship supports the cheerleading program, and monies raised from the annual Mr. 2-Bits Golf Tournament help fund this scholarship. All UF cheerleaders are eligible for scholarships, which the university awards based on academic merit, financial need and years in the cheerleading program.
University of Central Florida
The 32-member cheerleading squad at the University of Central Florida (UCF) also provides partial scholarships to some of its members. Sixteen of the 32 cheerleaders earn $1,000 to $2,000 scholarships annually. In addition, the school offers out-of-state tuition waivers for cheerleaders who are attending UCF from another state. These waivers can significantly cut down on tuition for out-of-state students, who will pay much lower in-state tuition and fees.
Florida Atlantic University
Located in Boca Raton, the Florida Atlantic University (FAU) boasts its Spirit Program, which helps cheerleaders pay for their education with a number of scholarships. Cheerleaders who are full-time students with at least a 2.0 grade point average are eligible for the scholarships, which the school awards at the end of every school year. FAU considers the cheerleader's skill level when awarding scholarships.
Florida Gulf Coast University
Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), located in Fort Myers Beach, offers its cheerleaders scholarships as well. During the 2010 to 2011 school year, the cheerleading program first awarded scholarship money to some of its members. Though the school has not finalized the amounts of the scholarships pending fundraising efforts, cheerleaders can earn end-of-the-year scholarships based on seniority on the squad and dedication to FGCU cheerleading.
Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.