Athletes considering university entrance should be aware that there are scholarships in place for the most talented. The schemes are:
- For England and Wales, TASS (Talented Athlete Scholarship)
- In Scotland, Winning Students
- In Northern Ireland, Talented Athletes Entry Scheme
TASS is funded by the government through Sport England and by the National Lottery. It is a partnership between Higher Education institutions and the national governing bodies of 30 sports. At present, more than four hundred athletes aged over 16 and still in education while competing at England Talent level in their sport are being supported. TASS provides athletes with a tailored package that includes strength and conditioning, physiotherapy and other core services.
The awards are annual from 1st September to 31st August. Athletes are nominated by the governing body of their sport. You can get more information from their website or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winning Students is the Scottish equivalent of TASS. Scholarships are awarded annually and can be worth up to £5,500 p.a. Part-time as well as full-time students can be supported and disability athletes as well as the able-bodied can apply. The criteria for awards can be found on the Winning Students website and further information is available from Jason Atkins, Winning Students Coordinator on 01786 466553.
The situation in Northern Ireland is slightly less straightforward, and athletes who hopefully scholarship should ask the university of their choice about availability.
Since it began in 2003, TASS has invested more than £20 million in athletes and networks to support athletes. Some 6,000 awards have helped athletes reach their potential. Results achieved by TASS athletes and alumni show how success has progressed:
- Beijing 2008: 19 medals (15 at the Olympics, four at the Paralympics)
- Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010: 55 athletes won 85 medals
- London 2012: 200 athletes produced four medal winners including 10 multi-medallists – 15 gold, 15 silver and 27 bronze medals (33 Olympic, 24 Paralympic)
- Glasgow Commonwealth Gamers 2014: 18 gold, 23 silver and 22 bronze medals