Does Your University Offer Scholarships for Hunters and Anglers? This One Does

   04.20.15

College is expensive and is getting more expensive by the year. One small university in Alabama wants to make college more affordable, especially for students who love to hunt or fish. The University of Montevallo recently announced its President’s Outdoor Scholars program, an initiative led by university president Dr. John Stewart to support students who are outdoor enthusiasts and to provide them with partial scholarships. It’s a unique approach not taken by many universities, but Stewart hopes that the program will draw new students to the school.

“We live in an area of the country where hunting and fishing is part of the ethos, and part of our culture,” Stewart told Yellowhammer News. “I personally grew up doing a lot of hunting and fishing, with a great deal of respect for outdoor resources. We saw this as a way to serve so many students in our area who come to college and study, but also would like to remain plugged into their passions outside the classroom.”

The first 12 scholarships will be offered this fall to students who have demonstrated a passion for the outdoors and conservation. Stewart expects the program to grant 24 scholarships each year, each of which are funded by the University of Montevallo Foundation. The other half of the program is geared to keeping students involved in the outdoors while attending school. Stewart said that he, like many other university students, had to give up hunting and fishing simply because he was either too focused on his studies or there simply was not enough time or opportunity. For students looking to work in the outdoor industry or conservation, hands-on experience can be vital.

“I’d have to describe it as part club sport and part fraternity/sorority,” Stewart told Al.com about the program. “We’ll probably meet every two weeks and we’ll bring in people like game wardens to talk to the students and experts to do seminars on things like retriever training, preparation of food plots, how to build duck blinds, archery, preparing wild game and exploration of careers in outdoor sports and related fields.”

Applicants must first submit an essay reflecting on their personal experiences and commitment to conservation, and must be full-time students. The program will also include several hunting and fishing trips provided for by private donors.

“This program is very exciting to me,” Stewart added. “I hope kids really get behind it. I want them to take classes in environmental science program and really learn how to respect the resource.”

Founded in 1896, the University of Montevallo is often ranked as the best public master’s-level university in Alabama, and is consistently named as one of the best schools in the region. Montevallo is especially notable for its high graduation rate and the low average debt of its students.

What do you think? What other schools offer scholarships for hunters and anglers? Should there be more?

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