There are many kinds of aid available for qualified students. Some are based on need, others on academic excellence. Athletic prowess is a well-known way to get a free ride to a degree. But there are others, like a beauty pageant prize or a talent show award, or ones which reward community service or club membership. Schools offer help with tuition and other costs, as well. Every avenue should be explored when facing the huge investment a college education requires.
Many a scholarship does not specify how it should be used, stipulating merely that the monies go for tuition and necessary expenses such as books or room and board. Others cover only certain activities or expenses. An athletic award, for instance, many only be binding as long as the student participates in a certain sport. An academic award might require maintenance of a certain grade point level. Institutional funds will probably not follow a student who transfers to another school.
Riding is only one facet of the horse industry, but an outstanding rider will find many opportunities as this sport rises in both popularity and popular appeal as a spectator sport. Both English and western riders will find aid packages, as horse show organizations, dressage associations, and rodeo groups seek to help high achievers get ahead in life. Winning over jumps or around barrels can help a student get a higher education.
Another source of funds is breed associations. A boy or girl who owns an Arabian horse, for instance, should check out awards given by Arabian clubs. There are similar awards for those who work with Quarterhorses, Morgans, Saddlebreds, and other breeds. Most of these offers are small, consisting of perhaps a thousand dollars a year, but there is no limit to the number of awards one student can get from various sources.
Schools which offer complete equine industry degree programs often field competitive teams. A regional list can be found on the home site of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association. (Winning at intramural competitions is one way schools attract students who may go on to become leaders in the industry). There are dedicated websites that post scholarship offers of all kinds, including equine ones.
There are other areas of expertise in the horse world, too. Those who can't compete over high jumps, on the polo field, or in the rodeo arena may prefer to focus on barn management, teaching lessons, or equine nutrition. As with any kind of education, there is scope for individual talent and achievement.
There is a treasure trove of financial aid out there, given by groups like the Boy Scouts or retailers like Wal Mart. Many corporations offer aid packages, as do civic groups and individual philanthropists. Any serious student should be able to find help to pay for higher education.
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