The Sparkle On Scholarship Presented by Kate Courtney In Partnership with SCOTT, Syncros, SRAM, and Rockshox

Frequently Asked Questions:


Who is eligible for the Sparkle On Scholarship? 

The Sparkle On Scholarship is open to all NICA 2022 - 2023 student-athletes graduating high school who will attend college for the 2023 - 2024 academic year and want to continue to balance academics with participation in the cycling community; whether through racing at the local or collegiate level, volunteering with cycling organizations (such as NICA!), trail stewardship, integrating riding in your college schedule, and the like. The goal is to assist in making college possible and to encourage student athletes to continue to ride and/or race their bikes. College attendance for the 2023 - 2024 academic year is key to eligibility and can be to community college or a 4-year college program. 

How does a student-athlete apply? 

The application will be available on March 1st and due by March 21st. Check back on March 1st for a link to the online application. 

How will recipients be selected? 

Scholarships will be awarded based on the information provided in the application. All applications will be thoroughly reviewed by a committee made up of representatives from NICA, both staff and coaching, parents of former NICA racers, community members skilled in selection processes, and representatives from the sponsoring organizations. 

Do I need to be a top NICA racer with plans to race for my college team?

No.  We have expanded the reach of the scholarship to include student athletes who have shown a love for the sport, a great attitude within a team and in competition, and a willingness to consistently show up, work hard, and “sparkle on.” 

How can recipients use the scholarship? 

A primary goal of the Sparkle On Scholarship is to ease the burden of the cost of college and to provide encouragement to continue to integrate cycling into a healthy, happy lifestyle while striving for academic success.  The scholarship can be used for college expenses including tuition, books and materials, and living expenses, and for expenses related to cycling community involvement and racing, including race fees, travel expenses, gear, and the like. Each applicant will likely need something different and the scholarship is meant to be flexible in meeting these different needs. 

How will the financial scholarship be awarded? 

The monetary part of the scholarship will be awarded in full upon confirmation of each recipient’s enrollment in the college of their choice. 

Is this a multi-year scholarship? 

This is a one-year scholarship. 

How will the mentoring program work? 

The mentoring program with Kate will consist of quarterly calls covering whatever questions, concerns, and/or challenges the recipients are experiencing with either college work or racing or integrating cycling into their college schedule.  For example, how to deal with the stress of college demands (hint: riding your bike is one of the best tools for promoting physical and mental well-being and connecting to a new community!). For those students who will be racing competitively, the mentoring examples could include, tips on how to get classwork done while traveling and competing, getting professors on your side when race schedules mean missing in-person class time, clarifying race goals and learning to balance them with being a college student, and generally how to make sure to keep the joy and passion for cycling alive. 

Will scholarship recipients receive a Scott bike this year?

We are working on putting together an equipment package for this year’s Sparkle On Scholars.  Check back for details!

How will a student-athlete’s financial need be evaluated in the application process? 

While financial need is not a requirement to be considered for the scholarship, need will be taken into consideration in the selection process. If you have financial limitations that will make going to college and continuing to participate in the cycling community a hardship be sure to let us know on the application. Whatever details you wish to share will be helpful in the decision-making process. 

Do I need to have a certain GPA to be considered for this scholarship? 

No. We are, however, looking for student-athletes who have shown grit and determination in the pursuit of good grades. 

Do I need to include a recommendation letter? 

No. Applicants will not need to provide a letter of recommendation, however you will need to share the name and contact details of your NICA coach should the committee need to learn more about you.

What if I haven’t heard from my dream school or made a decision about where I will be attending college? 

The requirement is that the applicant actually attends college for the 2023 academic year. There is no requirement to know exactly which school at the time of applying for the scholarship. 

What if I decide to take a “gap year” and defer my acceptance to college for a year, can I still be awarded the scholarship? 

No. The recipient must actually attend college for the 2023-24 academic year. 

When will I find out if I am selected for the Scholarship? 

We are expecting a large number of applicants and want to take the time necessary to evaluate all applications. It is our goal to make the selections as quickly as possible, but certainly by the end of April 2023. 

Will this scholarship be available for NICA student-athletes graduating in the future? 

The Sparkle On Scholarship will be awarded to graduating Seniors only in order to assist them in their transition out of NICA. NICA has incredible resources to support student-athletes during their time in high school and the aim of this scholarship is to provide continued support for students who wish to continue to contribute to their cycling community or compete while in college. Currently, all sponsors are committed through 2023 at the same level of support and we hope to continue to provide this scholarship beyond that date. It is our hope that this opportunity will be inspiring for young racers to continue to work hard and aim to be a recipient in their Senior year! 

Are Arizona, Minnesota and SoCal League student-athletes eligible even though they are no longer a part of NICA? 

Minnesota and SoCal League student-athletes are no longer eligible for this scholarship. Arizona student-athletes are eligible only if they are registered with the newly formed Arizona Interscholastic Cycling League.

Thank you for reading through these Sparkle On Scholarship FAQs, please share this page with your parent/guardian.

For questions and more information, please write us at scholarships@nationalmtb.org