Sport Management Degree Scholarships

As the world of sports grows more and more every year, professionals in the sports management industry are becoming needed in many different positions. Most of these positions require a bachelor’s degree in sports management, so you’ll need to attend a four-year school before you’re qualified for a job as a coach, trainer, marketer, athletic director, event coordinator, agent, or other sports industry staff member. Unfortunately, college can be expensive, and many students can’t afford a degree without financial aid. For students who are committed to the field of sport management, but just can’t afford school, there are still options! The U.S. government gives millions of dollars of loans, grants, and tax breaks each year to help students get the degrees they desire.

Financial Aid for Sport Management Degrees

Since sports management students are enrolling in school in increasing numbers every year, organizations, colleges, and other groups have been offering more and more sports management scholarships. Another reason for this is the fact that some of the highest ranking graduate programs in sports management also happen to be the most expensive.

Below is a list of scholarships offered exclusively to students studying sport management or athletic administration:

  • Dorothy Harris Endowed Scholarship: Available from the Women’s Sports Foundation, this scholarship is available for female students studying sports management, physical education, sport psychology, or sport sociology who have the intention to go to grad school. You can read more from the Women’s Sports Foundation.
  • Institute of Sports Management Scholarships: This organization offers two different scholarship programs, but you have to be a member to apply. The first is called the “Additional Study Scholarship,” and is designed to support students who already have a degree, but want to pursue an additional advanced degree in a field such as athletic administration. The second program is called the “Salary Subsidy Scholarship,” and this program is for students who are looking for a job and sign up with one of the institute’s “host employers.” For more information, check out the ISM website.
  • Black Coaches Association Scholarship: Every year, the BCA gives out multiple scholarships for post-grad minority students who have been accepted into a sports administration-related field. Applications are due annually by May 1. You can find out more about this scholarship program at the BCA website.
  • Jim McKay Scholarship Program: The NCAA’s Jim McKay scholarship is awarded annually to one male and one female student pursuing a degree in the sports communication field. Applications are due in January annually. Read more from the NCAA website.

General Scholarships for Sports Management Degree-Seekers

After looking into dedicated sport management scholarships, it is a good idea to check out general student aid available to students in any discipline. The government has several commonly available options that could really make a dent in your student debt, depending on your income and other variables:

  • Stafford and Perkins Loans: Low-interest loans with repayment schedule that can change based on your income and employment status. These loans come in subsidized versions, for which interest doesn’t start building until after you graduate, or unsubsidized, where interest starts immediately when the loan is paid to you. These loans are much more flexible and forgiving than credit card debt, and are a great way to get money for college now that you can pay back later when you have a better paying job.
  • Pell Grants: A grant is basically free money with a few caveats. Pell grants do not need to be repaid, but you have to prove financial need and maintain a good record and continuous enrollment in school to get them.
  • Tax Breaks: The Lifelong Learning credit and the HOPE credit are two ways to pay less taxes on your income if you’re a student. Instead of giving you money directly, the Internal Revenue Service will let some of your income go untaxed so it can be used for educational expenses. These credits typically benefit students who are working while in school most significantly, and having a low income will increase your benefit from these credits.
  • Military Benefits: Those currently serving in the armed forces, veterans, and spouses and children of active duty servicemembers, can all get both governmental and private education assistance. The Post-911 GI Bill provides a certain amount of educational assistance, and many colleges and universities offer a per-credit-hour discount for those who have served in the military.

Financing your education doesn’t have to be a hardship. Many students take advantage of the range of student aid options now available. In the 2007-08 school year, 66 percent of undergraduate students received some type of financial aid, according to The National Center for Education Statistics. Below is a breakdown of what percentages of those students received different types of aid, including grants, loans, veterans benefits, and work study employment.

Depending on your circumstances, other scholarships may be available to you. Check out to see whether any other governmental or private scholarships might be available to help offset the cost of your education.

Institutional Scholarships

Once you’ve found scholarships from the government and outside organizations, it’s time to see what options your school has to offer. Many colleges offer merit-based scholarships for students who got exceptional grades or showed leadership potential in high school. Colleges also tend to offer scholarships within certain departments, so talk to an advisor from your school of choice and see what they have to offer you.

Cost of a Sport Management Degree

The cost difference between online and on-campus schools can be large, but higher education is expensive any way you look at it. The bulk of college expenses comes from the cost per-credit-hour of actual classes, with books and other materials further padding the bill, and if you go to a campus college, housing and food are also a financial drag.

University costs usually bend a little bit, depending on whether you are a full or part-time student, studying on or off campus, and depending what discipline you are studying. Full time students usually get a slight break on per-credit-hour tuition costs. Below is a breakdown of tuition and other costs for a few top universities with sport management programs.

  • Liberty University: $445 per-credit-hour (full time), $425 per-credit-hour (part time).
  • Drexel University: $1,000 per-credit-hour (graduate level studies)
  • Southern New Hampshire University: $311 per-credit-hour (undergraduate), $609 per-credit hour (graduate)
  • Ohio University: $20,100 (full Master of Athletic Administration program)
  • Post University: $490 per-credit-hour.

The number of credit hours required for a bachelor’s degree can vary between schools, but most programs hover around 120 credit hours. Master’s degree programs can be anywhere from 25 to 50 credit hours, so you’ll have to contact your school of choice directly to get an estimate on tuition costs for a master’s degree or beyond in sport management. Multiply the per-credit-hour tuition cost by the number of credit hours required by your school to estimate your total tuition bill. You’ll have to factor in the cost of books and living expenses for a more precise estimate.

Is a Sport Management Degree Worth it for You?

After looking at some of the costs per-credit-hour of sport management degrees, finding a way to pay for one might seem like a daunting task. If you already have a job in sport management, coaching, or athletic marketing, you might feel inclined to just stay in your current job and try to work your way up the ladder. That isn’t a bad strategy, but there are a few benefits that you’ll get from going back to school that you might not get from staying put.

  • Diverse Experiences: When you’re in school, you have the option to try out different activities and get a little taste of many aspects of sport management. Unless you’ve got a great, flexible job, you might not have this freedom at work.
  • Networking Opportunities: Professors and fellow students can be great resources for making new connections and finding new opportunities in the world of sport management. You can do this at work too, but it takes serious effort. At school, just by participating in class discussions and doing assignments you’ll be making social connections that can last for years and even get you your next job.
  • Higher Credentials: Some companies will pay for their employees to take continuing education classes. If you work for one of them, you could have the best of both worlds. Otherwise, if you want a certificate or higher degree, you’ll have to leave work and go back to school to get it. The upside is that when you get out, you’ll be eligible for higher paying jobs with more freedom and responsibility.

Getting a degree in sport management isn’t for everyone, but if you’re passionate about the field, and want to participate in the sporting industry on the macro level, going back to school will be worth your while. Check out the list below for some of the top accredited online schools where you can get a bachelor’s or master’s degree in sport management without quitting your day job.

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