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UPEI's director of athletics and recreation says scholarships are key to attracting elite athletes. (CBC)

The University of Prince Edward Island scholarships to student athletes are on the rise, according to the school.

Last year P.E.I.'s only university gave out more than $325,000 in athletic awards, an increase of almost 30 per cent over the previous year. 

The increase represents a steady increase over the last several years.

UPEI's director of athletics and recreation Bill Schurman said such scholarships are pivotal in attracting and retaining elite student athletes.

"We are pleased that we have been able to continue to grow the investment in our student-athletes,” he said. "In order to sustain the commitment to scholarships, we must continue the effort to engage our alumni, as well as the community at large."

Student athletes at UPEI are granted an average of just over $3,800, which is higher than the Canadian average of just over $3,000.

Given UPEI's tuition is among the lowest in the country, its student-athletes are receiving a higher percentage of tuition funding than most Canadian Interuniversity Sport member institutions.  

In 2012-13, 65 per cent of UPEI's sports scholarships went to female athletes.