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A college in Missouri [mi-ZOO R-ee] recently awarded a full scholarship to a student as part of its program for esports or video game competitions.
Maryville University offered Aiden Tidwell a full scholarship worth $40,000 to make him one of its esports varsity players. The scholarship grant covers Tidwell’s tuition, boarding, and meal plan.
According to Maryville’s esports club representative, the university began offering scholarships in recognition of online video games’ popularity. With this program, Maryville hopes to give students who are talented at esports better access to education.
As esports continues to garner millions of fans, Maryville esports director Daniel Clerke predicts that there will be around 150 national esports programs in colleges by 2020. He said that such programs provide a space for motivated video gamers and chances for students to score scholarships and set up a career in the industry.
Although esports has long been popular in other countries, it has only recently become a mainstream success in the United States. As the esports industry continues to boom, more and more colleges are now offering esports scholarships. Other universities already offer partial scholarships, but Maryville University is the first to provide a full scholarship to its online gaming varsity players.
Overall, the National Association of Collegiate /kəˈli dʒɪt/ Esports estimates that around 200 colleges in the United States spend over $15 million per year for esports scholarships. The association also added that more than 3,000 college students now participate in collegiate-level esports.