This is Dr. Haraldur Karlsson from Texas Tech University

In the last few years, I have worked very hard with various universities such as the University of Texas in Dallas (UTD), Texas Tech University (TT), University of Texas in Brownsville (UTB) and recently University of Maryland in Baltimore County (UMBC) to promote their chess scholarship programs.

I want these universities and others to get as much publicity and recognition as possible. This would then help them obtain more chess scholarships for our young players. We must help them to help our young players. Therefore, it is a win win situation!

So far, 3 universities (UTD, Texas Tech, UTB) have / will contribute quite a number of chess scholarships to Susan Polgar Foundation events such as the Susan Polgar National Invitational, the Susan Polgar National Open and World Open Championships, etc.

Two of the more well known schools that give out annual chess scholarships are UTD and UMBC and they have given out probably millions of dollars in scholarships. Many other schools are now following their foot steps.

Earlier this year, with the help of Mr. Jim Stallings from UTD, Dr. Alan Sherman of UMBC and the College Committee, my proposal of adding a mixed double and all female prize was accepted and they will be implemented in the upcoming Pan Am Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship. We must continue to support these college scholarship programs to help our young players.

Today, my friend Dylan McClain from the NY Times wrote this piece about chess scholarships:

Good Opening Can Be a Scholarship

Published: December 27, 2006
New York Times

In the competition for the best students, colleges and universities are always looking for an edge. This year, Texas Tech University, in Lubbock, is trying a novel approach: offering scholarships to prospective students who are also elite chess players. With the scholarships, officials hope to attract students who might not otherwise apply to the university, which is part of the state system.

“To be quite frank, Tech is not Harvard and we have to compete really hard for the best students,” said Dr. Haraldur Karlsson, an associate professor of geosciences at the university who is also the chess club’s adviser. “And there tends to be a link between good chess skills and good academic skills.”

This year, Dr. Karlsson said, the university selected seven recipients for the scholarships. One is enrolled at Texas Tech, but six are prospective applicants, three from overseas.
“We are accessing a different pool,” Dr. Karlsson said. “We are getting them to look at us.”

Texas Tech joins a small group of institutions that have decided that good chess players are likely to succeed academically, and that offering chess scholarships can elevate a college’s reputation. The University of Connecticut’s engineering school, hoping to lure applicants away from the country’s top engineering programs, also began offering chess scholarships this year.

Other institutions with such programs include the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and the University of Texas at Dallas, each part of its state’s public university system. According to Jim Stallings, director of the Texas program and also chairman of the college committee of the United States Chess Federation, the governing body for chess in this country, there are “10 or so” such programs nationwide.

The full article is here.
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