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Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship Program

In 1988, the National Collegiate Athletic Association established the Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship Program as a means of recognizing the contributions of the former executive director through encouraging excellence in academic performance by student-athletes.  Under this program, one male and one female student-athlete are annually awarded a postgraduate scholarship in recognition of outstanding academic achievement and potential for success in postgraduate study.  It is intended that an individual named a Byers Scholar will be recognized as one who has combined the best elements of mind and body to achieve national distinction for his or her achievements, and promises to be a future leader in his or her chosen field of career service.

The Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship Program is separate and distinct from the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Program, which provides numerous annual awards with smaller stipends.  The stipend for each Byers Scholarship is $24,000 for an academic year.  The scholarship amount will be reviewed every two years so that the purchasing power of the award will remain reasonably close to the award as initially conceived in 1988.  If the graduate school where the Byers Scholar is enrolled provides evidence of satisfactory performance and progress, the grant may be renewed for a second year.  Therefore, in any single year, $96,000 worth of scholarships are awarded ($48,000 to the current year's recipients and $48,000 to the previous year's awardees for their second year of graduate school). 

Final award is contingent upon acceptance and attendance at an accredited, nonprofit educational institution; stipends are paid through the institution in which the Byers Scholar is enrolled for graduate study.  Evidence of acceptance into a graduate degree program or a post baccalaureate professional degree program may be submitted after the notification of an award, but must be supplied by the institution in which the Byers Scholar enrolls for graduate work before the funding of the scholarship.  If the initial awardee is not admitted to an appropriate graduate program, the award will be withdrawn and an alternate will receive the award.  To defer the scholarship for any reason, a Byers Scholar must submit a written request to the committee liaison for approval.  Financial need shall not be a factor in the granting of these scholarships.  Awards from other sources will not disqualify an applicant, except that an awardee may not use more than one NCAA postgraduate scholarship.

The program is administered by the Walter Byers Scholarship Committee, established by the NCAA membership and appointed by the NCAA Divisions I, II and III Management Councils.  The committee will review the nominations, contact the finalists for an interview by the committee and select the final recipients.

Qualifications for the Walter Byers Scholarship 

To be eligible for consideration, nominees shall: 

1. Have an overall undergraduate cumulative grade-point average of 3.500 or better (based on a maximum 4.000), or the equivalent in other recognized grading systems;                                                            

2. Have competed in intercollegiate athletics as a member of a varsity team at an NCAA member institution;                                                            

3. Be a graduating senior or be enrolled in graduate study at an NCAA member institution;                                                           

4. Have intentions of applying for admission into a graduate degree program at a properly accredited, nonprofit educational institution or into a post baccalaureate professional degree program at a professionally accredited law school, medical school, or the equivalent, without restriction as to the national site of the institution;                                                            

5. Be committed to work on a full-time basis toward a graduate degree or toward a post baccalaureate professional degree;                                                            

6. Have evidenced superior character and leadership;                                                            

7. Have demonstrated that participation in athletics has been a positive influence on the nominee's personal and intellectual development.  Relative success in athletics is important but not of overriding significance; and                                                    

8. Enroll into a graduate degree program within five years of being named a Byers Scholar. 

United States citizenship is not a required criterion to satisfy eligibility requirements.

Financial need shall not be a factor in the granting of these scholarships.  Awards from other sources will not disqualify an applicant, except that an awardee may not use more than one NCAA postgraduate scholarship.

Evidence of acceptance into a graduate degree program or a post baccalaureate professional degree program may be submitted after the notification of an award, but must be supplied by the institution in which the Byers Scholar enrolls for graduate work before the funding of the scholarship. If the initial awardee is not admitted to an appropriate graduate program, the award will be withdrawn and an alternate will receive the award.

Click for more information from the NCAA Web site.

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Date Updated: June 7, 2010