college scholarship for online game playingYour mother always told you to stop playing Nintendo and study, but little did she know that your gaming skills would eventually pay off ... literally. Now middle-and-high school students, 13 and older, can play games to earn scholarship cash for college. Marketing executive Angelo Tartaro's ScholarGamers.com gives participants a chance to compete for large prizes.

The registration process takes about five minutes and includes filling in general information such as an e-mail address and school name. Then it's game time. The challenges are simple and colorful, reminiscent of old cell phone games. Included are favorites such as Gem Swap, think Bejeweled, Disc Toss where the player simply clicks as many flying Frisbees as possible and Pool.

In the first round, players must devote 20 solid minutes to computer play time and get through all five featured games. After the time slot ends, the website records high scores. Winners of each round can receive a variety of prizes such as an iPad, Amazon Kindle or a $100 gift card.

Thirty days into the round, the top 15 players will be flown to Disney's BoardWalk Resort. Nov. 1 marks the large competition kick-off, centered around a $10,000 first place prize. All 15 finalists will be granted scholarships via 529 plan contributions that can be put toward higher educational costs such as tuition or books. Every 45 days, the process starts over again with new participants. ScholarGamers.com plans to give away a total of 120 scholarships in one year.

As site traffic increases, ScholarGamers hopes to add more scholarships and increase the amount of scholarship cash. "With the average annual cost of a college education exceeding $30,000, and the average debt load of a college graduate exceeding $20,000, a college degree is a significant financial burden," Tartaro said in a press release. "We're aiming to make that goal more attainable for kids who aren't necessarily the star athletes or valedictorians, by leveraging one of their favorite pastimes for educational purposes."

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