College scholarships are most often awarded to students who shine on the football field or the basketball court. But a new online contest plans to recognize students who stand out at a different kind of game—like “Penguins Attack 2” or “Smiley Showdown.”
Angelo Tartaro, creator of ScholarGamers.com first envisioned the site as he watched a college basketball game full of players attending school on scholarships. The site went live in October, under the direction of Tartaro and an investment group from New Jersey.
Tartaro said that ScholarGames does not claim to educate students, but rather aims to “provide an opportunity to a very large population who are trying to get an education, but are limited by funding.” He thinks that video games have gained a bad reputation with parents and educators, but wants to note their popularity among students and acknowledge those who have a talent for gaming. The scholarships could potentially enable passionate students to pursue a degree in game design.
According to The Project on Student Debt, in 2009, four-year college graduates completed school with an average student loan debt of $24,000. This amount reflects an increase of 6 percent from the previous year. Tartaro himself has experience with student debt—his two daughters pursued a combined total of six higher degrees.
Students 13 and older are eligible to register with ScholarGamers for free. The contest, which began November 1, tracks user’s scores as they compete with one another in 20-minute rounds of Flash-based online games. Competition ends on December 15. Tartaro predicts that his site will achieve nearly 1 million hits by the end of the competition, though he did not reveal the number of students who are currently registered.
In January, after the contest has ended, 15 gaming finalists will travel to Walt Disney World and receive scholarships ranging in amount from $500 to $10,000. The scholarship money will be awarded in the form of investment plans, with the designated purpose of covering educational expenses.
We’re guessing that some of these scholarships will be used for game design and programming degrees, what else? You can learn more about online game design degrees at art-schools-online.com.
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