WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 28, 2022) – Marking the 15th year of offering funds and support to underrepresented students prepping for careers in the video game and other STEAM industries, the ESA Foundation opened its 2022-23 scholarship application process today. The Foundation’s annual Computer and Video Game Arts and Sciences Scholarship Program, open to applications through April 15, 2022, provides support for U.S. women and minority college students at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
This coming year, three types of support will be available, including an esports scholarship sponsored by Red Bull and involving its Tekken player Jeannail Carter, also known as Cuddle_Core. In addition, the ESA Foundation and its partner Gay Gaming Professionals will expand a scholarship for students supporting LGBTQ+ communities to include graduate students as well.
“Since 2007, the scholarship program has empowered aspiring video game creators while providing a pipeline of diverse talent to the industry,” says Anastasia Staten, executive director of the ESA Foundation. “Thanks to our partners and very generous donors, we’re thrilled to be able to expand our scholarship program during a pivotal time when financial setbacks caused by the COVID pandemic have impacted students’ ability to pay tuition across the country. Despite the pandemic, the video game industry has continued to grow, which means we need to grow a strong workforce with technical, game-playing and storytelling skills to serve an increasingly diverse audience.”
A scholarship program enabling a diverse group of students to focus on video games is advantageous for several reasons:
The ESA Foundation has awarded more than 450 scholarships to date. Aside from receiving scholarship funds, awardees are invited to network with game developers, attend educational and professional development sessions, participate in internships and meet industry leaders at events.
These experiences have helped many former scholars land jobs in the video game industry, with both indie and triple-A companies. Among them are these recent alumni: Sophia Nelson, cinematic lighting artist at WB Avalanche; Andrew Hoyt, associate software engineer at Treyarch; Isaac Wirth, associate games producer at Noggin; and Atsina Corrington, associate designer at Insomniac Games.
As the Foundation and its scholars weathered a challenging year, several video game companies, in particular, helped sustain the scholarship program in a myriad of ways, including providing financial and in-kind support as well as hands-on job experience for scholars. Among the companies were: AMD, Dreamhaven, Facebook Gaming, Jam City, Niantic and Take-Two Interactive.
Key ESA Foundation 2022-2023 Scholarship Details
Computer and Video Game Arts Scholarship: Established in 2007, the ESA Foundation’s Computer and Video Game Arts and Sciences Scholarship program has awarded scholarships exclusively to underrepresented students across the country, enabling them to follow their dream of earning video game-related degrees. Eligible applicants may qualify for the Foundation’s other scholarships, should they meet the eligibility requirements. To learn more and apply, click here.
LGBTQ+ Service Scholarship: Co-awarded by Gay Gaming Professionals, the scholarship recognizes students who show a commitment to service work in LGBTQ+ communities. Eligible students are those pursuing a degree in video game arts and sciences, competing on or managing a college esports team/club or pursuing streaming-content creation. All students must be enrolled full-time in an undergraduate or graduate program at an accredited four-year college or university. To learn more and apply, click here.
Esports Scholarship: Launched two years ago to help increase the numbers of women and minority participants in the esports industry, this scholarship is sponsored by Red Bull and this year features Tekken pro-athlete Cuddle_Core, a.k.a. Jeannail Carter. It will offer academic and non-monetary support—via networking, internships and professional development—to three underrepresented students pursing esports as a profession, by playing and/or managing, via their U.S. colleges and universities. In addition, the scholars will be given the opportunity to join Cuddle_Core for in-person mentorship sessions and watch her play in a tournament. To learn more and apply, click here.
Applications for all scholarships close April 15, 2022, at 11:59 PM EST.
The ESA Foundation awards scholarships to the next generation of industry innovators and supports schools and nonprofits that leverage interactive entertainment technology to create meaningful opportunities for America's youth. It seeks to harness the power of the video game industry to create positive social impact and supports geographically diverse projects and programs benefitting grantees of all ages, races and genders. To date, the ESA Foundation has raised more than $25 million for a wide variety of worthy causes, primarily through its signature fundraising gala, Nite to Unite.