Further your growth as a campus rec professional or aspiring professional by submitting an application for NIRSA Foundation scholarships and travel grants! Applications for the 2020 season open on Monday, October 7 and close on Tuesday, December 3.

Members at all stages of their career benefit from the learning, innovating, and networking experiences offered at NIRSA’s premier educational events. The NIRSA Foundation is proud to support professional development opportunities for the NIRSA family.

Great news for professional applicants from HBCUs

The NIRSA Foundation is excited to announce a change in prerequisites for all professional scholarship and travel grant applicants from Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs). The NIRSA Foundation Board voted to eliminate membership as a prerequisite for applicants from HBCUs who are applying for professional scholarships and travel grants.

The change comes after receiving feedback at the HBCU Roundtable at NIRSA 2019 about how the NIRSA Foundation can better serve the HBCU community. Attendees noted lack of departmental and institutional funding as barriers to purchase NIRSA membership and attend NIRSA professional development events, which they need to enhance their skills to advocate for campus recreation on their campuses. The NIRSA Foundation Board hopes removing the membership requirement for HBCU professionals will garner more applications from the HBCU community for travel grants and scholarships—especially the Founders Scholarship, which is exclusively awarded to a professional and student from an HBCU.

All scholarship and travel grant recipients from HBCUs will be required to purchase a NIRSA professional membership upon accepting a scholarship or travel grant.

Membership requirement also changed for student applicants

The NIRSA Foundation Board has also eliminated membership as a prerequisite for all student scholarship applicants. The Board hopes eliminating the financial barrier of membership to apply for student scholarships will result in increased applications and contribute to more accessible learning opportunities for the students of the NIRSA family.

All student scholarship recipients will be required to purchase a NIRSA student membership upon accepting a scholarship.

Submit an application today!

Applicants fill out a common application for either student scholarships, professional scholarships, or professional travel grants; one application automatically puts members in the running for all scholarships for which they are eligible. Applicants wishing to apply for the Founders Scholarship or Frederick R. Braden Scholarship for Social Justice in Collegiate Recreation must complete an additional question on the application. In addition to the standard application, students must submit a résumé and statement of support signed by the director of their recreation department, so start your applications early, students!

Student scholarships cover registration fees for future campus rec leaders to attend the 2020 NIRSA Annual Conference & Campus Rec and Wellness Expo or the J. Michael Dunn Student Professional Development Preconference Workshop. By attending our Association’s premier educational event, students develop personally and professionally, network with current leaders in the field, and establish their own connections with other student members from across the Association.

Professional scholarships ensure our members can take advantage of NIRSA’s amazing educational opportunities without worrying about the cost of registration fees. Professional scholarships are available for the following NIRSA professional development events in 2020:

In its eighth year, the Travel Grant Program, presented by Core Health & Fitness, awards a professional member from each of NIRSA’s seven regions travel assistance funds to attend the 2020 NIRSA Annual Conference. The $1,000 (USD) grant defrays the cost of travel as a reimbursement for expenses affiliated with airfare, mileage, and lodging.

Scholarship and travel grant recipients attending the Annual Conference also volunteer with NIRSA Foundation activities, allowing them to network with their peers, learn about the NIRSA Foundation, and meet some of the incredible donors who make scholarships possible.

Be sure to apply before the December 3 deadline, and help spread the word to your network!


Shomari Kee is currently the Director of Campus Recreation at Northern Kentucky University. Linda Knight is currently the Executive Director of Health & Wellness at College of William and Mary. They both serve on the NIRSA Foundation Board of Directors.