40 athletes from the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) will receive funding as part of a pilot scholarship.
The cohort of athletes will be included in the inaugural AIS Education Scholarship program. It is an initiative that aims to find the balance between sport and study, preparing athletes for their transition to life after sport.
The key consideration for the program is looking at easing the financial burden on athletes who are undergoing education.
The pilot scholarship was established this year as the AIS got a generous one-off private donation which supports athletes looking to strive towards their academic goals – striking a perfect balance between sport and study.
“Pursuing a passion away from sport can help provide athletes with a more well-rounded perspective, and ensure that they have more balance in their lives,” AIS Director People Development and Wellbeing Matti Clements said.
“It is common for athletes to struggle to adapt once their sporting career comes to an end however we find that athletes who undertake some form of study are better prepared for the transition.
“This AIS has a strong focus on helping athletes thrive in all areas of their lives, and this scholarship is one of many programs we offer to help athletes achieve all their goals, both on and off the field.”
Matilda’s veteran Clare Polkinghorne is one of the scholarship recipients, studying a Master of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University in Queensland.
“Obviously there will come a time when I will retire from football and I need to be prepared for that time and this gives me many options post football to continue with another career,” she said.
“I do think that having something other than football to focus on, actually helps me as a footballer.
“Study provides a different outlet for me, something else to focus on and recharges the batteries so I’m not constantly thinking about football.
“I’ve always enjoyed learning and I do think it provides a good balance to my life.”
For a full list of 2020’s scholarship recipients, you can find it here.