Obtaining a full ride to college for cheerleading is a difficult task. With the number of cheerleaders on a large university squad, it may be difficult to offer full rides for students, so most colleges offer partial scholarships. There are some schools that offer full-ride scholarships for cheerleaders. For others, there are smaller scholarships that, when combined with school scholarships, may add up to a full scholarship.
About Cheerleading Scholarships
Cheerleading scholarships take multiple forms. Many colleges and universities provide scholarships worth between $500 and $1,000 a year to compensate cheerleaders for their participation on the team. Other schools offer scholarships in the form of book stipends, free dorm rooms and meal plans or out-of-state tuition waivers so that out-of-state students pay in-state fees. Most scholarship money comes from the NCAA and is awarded to the top cheerleaders on a team. Other scholarships are reserved for students who demonstrate excellence in academics in addition to cheerleading skills. Most squads also provide free uniforms, workout gear and shoes, in addition to covering travel expenses, including meals and hotels, for competitions and away games.
Community College Scholarships
Community colleges are often overlooked when it comes to cheerleading, but many schools have their own competitive cheerleading squads. These squads are smaller than those found at four-year colleges and universities. In most cases, tuition is less expensive at a community college than a four-year school, which allows community colleges to offer full-ride scholarships for student athletes. Since most community colleges do not offer student housing, a full-ride scholarship to a community college covers tuition and books. The schools also pay for travel expenses, including lodging and meals, related to cheerleading competitions and supply uniforms and any other necessary shoes and clothing.
Full-ride scholarships for colleges and universities are difficult to find because most cheerleading and spirit squads are too large to offer full-ride scholarships to all students. Some universities offer full-ride scholarships for students paying in-state tuition, which is often significantly less that out-of-state tuition and provide scholarships in an equal amount to help offset the cost of tuition for out-of-state students. Other schools score cheerleaders during tryouts and award full-ride scholarships to the top two or three scorers. Male cheerleaders are more likely to earn a full-ride scholarship because most colleges and universities dedicate at least one scholarship solely to male cheerleaders and there are not usually many applicants.
High school cheerleading competitions are a good way to earn scholarships for college. Christian Cheerleaders of America offers over $1,000,000 in scholarships at its annual cheerleading competition. Individual cheerleaders are able to participate in solo cheerleading and pair cheerleading events. The national Cheerleaders of America (COA) Cheer competition provides cheerleaders with the opportunity to win a $1,000 scholarship through the Shirley A. Wedge National Cheer and Dance Scholarship Fund. Scholarships are awarded to the first place winners in each division.
Stacy Zeiger began writing in 2000 for "Suburban News Publication" in Ohio and has expanded to teaching writing as an eighth grade English teacher. Zeiger completed creative writing course work at Miami University and holds a B.A. in English and a M.Ed. in secondary education from Ohio State.