The Trust Scholarship Award Benefit

Degree completion and vocational training are critical opportunities for a successful transition for former players, which is why The Trust’s education program includes a scholarship award benefit for meeting those goals.

The Trust awards scholarships to eligible former players so they may obtain degrees at educational organizations, vocational institutions, technical programs and professional licensing programs. Such programs must adhere to the Qualifying Programs Guidelines.

Starting a new career at 33 years old can be kind of scary but going back to school gave me the opportunity to realize I could compete outside of playing football.

Will Poole, former NFL defensive back


A former player is eligible for The Trust Scholarship award benefit subject to the following requirements:

  • The former player must have completed at least two (2) Credited Seasons;
  • The former player must have activated their Trust benefits. (To activate your benefits you must have completed the intake process with a Program Manager/ Specialist and signed the necessary Release Forms.)

Former players who reside in the United States must meet one of the following requirements:

  1. Be a legal resident of the United States
  2. Have been granted permanent residency
  3. Have a valid visa that does not prohibit educational studies
  4. Have been granted temporary protected status along with approved Notice of Action issued by Citizen Immigration Services and verified through CIS Form g-845
  5. Have been granted asylum along with the approved Notice of Action issued by the Citizen Immigration Services.

Qualifying Programs Guidelines

For tax and other purposes, The Trust maintains guidelines to determine which programs will qualify for scholarship funding from The Trust (“Qualifying Programs”).

Qualifying Programs are generally those programs for which the prospective scholarship recipient is:

  • Pursuing studies or conducting research to meet the requirements for an academic or professional degree at a college or university that qualifies as an “educational organization” (more information on what constitutes an “educational organization” can be found below)
  • OR a full or part-time student at an “educational organization” that:
    • Provides a program that is acceptable for full credit toward a bachelors’ or higher degree OR offers a program of training to prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation
  • Is authorized under federal or state law to provide such a program
  • Is accredited by a nationally recognized accreditation agency (agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Education: Organization” is defined in the Internal Revenue Code as one whose primary function is the presentation of formal instruction and that normally maintains a regular faculty and curriculum and normally has a regularly enrolled body of students in attendance at the place where it carries on its educational activities. A non-exhaustive list of factors to consider in evaluating whether an organization will be considered an “educational organization” are (i) whether the primary function of the organization is education (or whether education is just one of many programs or services it provides), (ii) whether qualified teachers instruct the students, and the same teachers do so on a recurrent basis, and (iii) whether the organization offers a regular curriculum that is inter-related (or whether it offers ad-hoc educational programing) IRC 170(b)(1)(A)(ii).
  • The Trust reserves the right to interpret this policy in its sole discretion or amend this policy at any time, with or without notice. The Trust also reserves the right to reject any applicant or any program in its sole discretion, regardless of whether such program constitutes a Qualifying Program.

Application Process

Before being able to access the Trust Scholarship application portal:

  • Trust Referral: The former player must be formally enrolled in The Trust and have a referral sent to AthLife by his Program Manager/Specialist no later than the date indicated in the chart below.

Online Application:

  • Receiving Application Link: You will receive the link to the online application after you begin working with your AthLife Advisor and they determine that you are ready to begin the application process.

It’s the former player’s responsibility complete their application and provide any necessary supporting documentation by the assigned deadlines

A complete application includes:

  • Demographic information
  • Program details
  • Proof of Acceptance/Proof of Program Application
  • Undergraduate transcripts (grad applicants only)
  • Essay (first time applicants only)
  • Formal funding request

*Please note that you can still submit your application if you are waiting on acceptance into your program. Award decisions will not be announced and payments will not be sent until The Trust receives your proof of acceptance.

Application Submission Deadline: The completed application and all other required material must be submitted by 11:59 PM EST on the day of the application deadline.

Application Deadlines

Scholarships are awarded three times a year. The former player must be formally enrolled in The Trust and have a referral sent to AthLife by his Program Manager/Specialist no later than the date indicated in the chart above.

2024 Application Schedule:*


Referral Deadline

Phase 1 Deadline

Application Deadline

Award Notification Date

Period 1Closed


Period 2

June 11

June 14June 21July 26
Period 3October 15October 18

October 25

December 6

*The former player must be formally enrolled in The Trust and have a referral sent to AthLife by his Program Manager no later than one week before the scholarship deadline.

Get connected now. It's never too early to start exploring your educational opportunities!

Scholarship Awards

A former player is eligible to receive:

  • For undergraduate and graduate degrees, a former player may receive up to $20,000 (USD) per calendar year.
  • For qualified vocational institutions, technical programs and professional licensing programs, a Former Player may receive up to $5,000 (USD) per calendar year.

Please note there is an aggregate cap of $20,000 per eligible Former Player, per calendar year (i.e., max amount for undergraduate/graduate degrees and/or qualified vocational institutions, technical programs and professional licensing programs is $20,000 per calendar year).

The Trust Scholarship Award Benefit covers tuition and mandatory school fees, only. Books, room & board, registration fees, travel, late fees, school fines and parking are not covered. The Scholarship Award Benefit expires on December 15th of the calendar year in which your award is active. Invoices must be received by The Trust no later than December 15th at 11:59PM ET. Any unused or unapplied amounts do not extend or carry over beyond the expiration date.

Scholarship FAQs

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