Athletic Scholarship Facts | Get an Athletic Scholarship (2023)

Athletic Scholarship Facts | Get an Athletic Scholarship (1)

Receiving an athletic scholarship to compete at the college level is the ultimate goal for many student-athletes. However, there are plenty of misconceptions about how scholarship offers work—and how much aid student-athletes actually receive.

College isn’t cheap, so understanding the details of this part of the process is important if you’re looking to lessen your college costs. Check out our complete guide to athletic scholarships below.

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What do athletic scholarships cover?

Who gives out scholarships?

How much money can you get?

How do you get a full ride?

(Video) Be wary of athletic scholarships

Do you have to get a scholarship to play?

How do you know if you’re eligible?

What if you get a verbal offer?

Can a scholarship be taken away?

What other kinds of scholarships are there?

(Video) How to Get an Athletic Scholarship - College Sports Just Got Chaotic!

What do athletic scholarships cover?

Athletic scholarships cover a portion of the costs for tuition and fees, course-related books, room, board and, sometimes, living expenses. The amount covered is dependent on whether the offer is a full or partial scholarship.

Who gives out athletic scholarships?

Athletic scholarships are offered at the NCAA D1 and D2 levels, as well as at the NAIA and NJCAA levels—combined, that’s thousands of schools.

Do D2 schools give athletic scholarships?

Yes, D2 schools give athletic scholarships. Most scholarships at the D2 level are partial scholarships. Full scholarships at D2 school are rare, but still possible.

Are full ride scholarships for all 4 years?

No, full ride athletic scholarships are typically one-year agreements between the college and the athlete, although some are multi-year.

View the table below for a breakdown of the number of scholarships offered for each athletic association.

Athletic AssociationNumber of SchoolsNumber of AthletesMaximum Number of Scholarships
NCAA Division 1350139,06374,243
NCAA Division 231085,38536,343
NCAA Division 3438144,0620

Learn about the different division levels.For more on athletic scholarships, hear what former fifth-round MLB draft pick Kyle Winters has to say: Are athletic scholarships offered one year at a time or do they vary? Check out the video to see how prospective student-athletes may find their scholarship offer change from year to year.

(Video) Do Junior Colleges offer full athletic scholarships?

How much scholarship money can you get?

Fewer than 2 percent of high school student-athletes are offered athletic scholarships, but it adds up to over $2.7 billion annually for D1 and D2 alone, so there’s certainly money out there. However, it’s important to understand that most athletic scholarships are not full rides. The amount you’re offered has a lot to do with your sport and whether it is a head count or equivalency sport.

  • Head count sports are always full rides. But they only include revenue sports: for men, that’s D1 basketball and D1-A football; for women, it’s D1 basketball, tennis, volleyball and gymnastics.
  • Equivalency sports usually hand out partial scholarships. It’s up to the coach to divide their scholarship money among athletes. That could mean they offer a full ride to one extremely high-level recruit (although that is rare), or it could mean they spread the money out among multiple athletes, which is much more common. Equivalency sports for D1 men include baseball, rifle, skiing, cross-country, track and field, soccer, fencing, swimming, golf, tennis, gymnastics, volleyball, ice hockey, water polo, lacrosse and wrestling. For D1 women, equivalency sports include bowling, lacrosse, rowing, cross-country, track and field, skiing, fencing, soccer, field hockey, softball, golf, swimming, ice hockey and water polo. All D2 and NAIA sports are equivalency sports. This articledetails some ways coaches decide on scholarship amounts.

As a response to COVID-19, NCAA D1 Council adopted legislation that loosened regulation regarding need-based aid and academic scholarships being awarded to student-athletes. Starting August 1, 2020, teams in equivalency sports will not have any athletes’ need-based aid and academic scholarships count against the maximum athletic scholarship limit. Prior to this update, athletes had to meet certain academic criteria for their additional aid to not be counted against a team’s athletic scholarship limit.

This means student-athletes will not be limited in how much need-based aid and academic scholarships they can stack on top of their athletic scholarship. With school and family budgets being impacted by the coronavirus, this rule change should allow sports programs that have available funds to extend more money to families and athletes—especially at colleges with higher tuition costs. This also makes it more important than ever forpotential recruits to obtain strong grades and test scores. This will allow them to secure more scholarship funds and aid even when athletic scholarship funds are not available.

How do you get a full-ride athletic scholarship?

Most student-athletes do not receive a full-ride scholarship—in fact, only 1 percent do. Still, full-ride scholarships as the goal for many athletes, as they typically cover tuition and fees, books, room and board, supplies, and sometimes even living expenses.

If you receive a scholarship for a D1 headcount sport, you’re guaranteed a full-ride. But there are only six headcount sports. If you play an equivalency sport, you can increase your chances of getting more scholarship money. For example, if you fill a specific and important role on the team—such as a baseball or softball pitcher—you’re more likely to receive a larger offer. You can also use the leverage of multiple recruiting offers to get coaches to increase the amount they are willing to give you. Sometimes, just moving down a division level will get you more money. A lower-level recruit for D1 might receive a larger scholarship at the D2 level.

Ivy League schools

Do Ivy League schools give athletic scholarships?

No. Ivy League schools do not give athletic scholarships—they only provide need-based financial aid.

Coaches can help their prospective athletes obtain financial aid rewards, but they do not have any scholarship money to give out to them.

In many cases, Ivy League schools are able to meet the majority of the cost of tuition; at most, families with an annual income less than $65,000 don’t make any contribution to their student-athlete’s education, while families with an annual household income between $65-$180,000 could be expected to contribute somewhere between 10 to 18 percent.

(Video) Get an Athletic Scholarship - Strategy for Unsigned Seniors 2023

In other words, don’t let a lack of athletic scholarship dollars deter you from pursuing an Ivy League education as a student-athlete.

Do you have to get a scholarship to compete in college sports?

Typically, there are more spots available on a team than coaches have scholarships to offer. So, not getting a scholarship doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. Student-athletes can walk onto a team, which means trying out without receiving a scholarship. Sometimes, athletes are asked to walk on, in which case they are called “preferred walk-ons.” You may also walk on to a team without a scholarship one year and be given a scholarship the next year, depending on your perceived value.

How do you know if you’re eligible for an athletic scholarship?

In order to receive a scholarship to an NCAA D1 or D2 program, student-athletes must meet certain eligibility requirements. They require you to meet a minimum academic standard and be considered an amateur athlete. However, just because you meet the minimum requirements for the school you want to play at doesn’t mean you will receive a scholarship. Your chances for an offer increase the better your academics are.

Note: The NAIA has its own eligibility centerand requirements.Read more about the differences between NAIA and NCAA.

What happens if you get a verbal scholarship offer?

A coach may decide to extend a verbal scholarship offer at various points in the recruiting process. However, these offers are non-binding; they are unofficial verbal contracts between a coach and athlete. Nothing is set in stone until the student-athlete signs their national letter of intent.

Your student-athlete can verbally commit to an offer at any point. Keep in mind, though, that committing too early can put your student-athlete at a disadvantage if they change their mind about a program later. If they do receive an offer, they should, first of all, thank the coach. If the student-athlete decides to accept the offer, this is considered a verbal agreement and is also non-binding. It is also acceptable to ask for more time in making the decision. The benefit of giving a verbal commitment is that it simplifies your recruiting process. It sends a message to other coaches that the student-athlete has made a decision so they can stop pursuing them.

Insider tip: Although not official, student-athletes should take verbal commitments seriously. Breaking them can sour coaches’ opinions on the recruit.

Learn more about verbal commitments.

Can an athletic scholarship be taken away?

Losing an athletic scholarship is the unfortunate reality for some college student-athletes. There are a few different situations in which this might occur:

  • Most commonly, the student-athlete might never have had the scholarship to begin with. Verbal agreements are non-binding; they do not guarantee you a spot on the roster or a scholarship. Even once you’ve signed your National Letter of Intent, your agreement might not include scholarship aid.
  • If you are injured, depending on the school you attend and whether it happened outside of games or practice, your scholarship can be pulled.
  • Coaches can decide not to renew your scholarship for the next year. This isn’t a case of the scholarship being “taken away” since they are typically only year-long contracts, but it can still come as a surprise to some student-athletes. Non-renewals can happen for various reasons, including a new coach joining the program, getting into trouble on or off the field, poor performance, etc.
  • If you are not eligible to compete for any reason—poor academics, not in good standing with the school, etc.—a coach is not likely to keep you on scholarship.

What other kinds of scholarships can you get?

Because most college student-athletes do not have full-ride scholarships, it’s beneficial to look into earning an academic scholarship as a supplemental form of aid. There are minimum academic standards student-athletes must meet to be considered for an academic scholarship, and these are different for every college and university. Remember, D3 schools only offer non-athletic scholarships, like academic scholarships.

Insider tip: Academic scholarships are much more secure than athletic scholarships. You can lose your athletic scholarship due to injury or poor performance, but as long as you maintain your grades, you will keep your academic scholarship even if you are no longer playing.

There are also scholarship opportunities available outside of the school itself, including federal scholarships and those from corporations, nonprofit organizations and private providers. Go to to browse through the thousands of options.

By filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you can also receive federal aid in the form of grants, loans and work-study funds.

(Video) What does a sport scholarship actually cover?


Why scholarships are enough for college athletes? ›

Without the financial assistance, their impressive athletic performance will be replaced by a job after high school. They won't have a chance to compete at a higher level or, more importantly, earn a college degree and qualify for a higher paying position.

What are the chances of getting an athletic scholarship? ›

Getting an athletic scholarship can be highly competitive. Less than two percent of high school student-athletes are offered a scholarship. With those kinds of odds, knowing how to get an athletic scholarship requires a solid game plan.

What to do to get an athletic scholarship? ›

Here are five steps you take to stay on track for an athletic scholarship.
  1. Step 1: Understand what Division level best matches your skill set, then start researching colleges. ...
  2. Step 2: Gather all the information you need. ...
  3. Step 3: Start communicating with college coaches. ...
  4. Step 4: Manage your college recruiting process.

What happens when you get an athletic scholarship? ›

Still, full-ride scholarships as the goal for many athletes, as they typically cover tuition and fees, books, room and board, supplies, and sometimes even living expenses. If you receive a scholarship for a D1 headcount sport, you're guaranteed a full-ride.

What are 3 reasons college athletes should be paid? ›

Why College Student Athletes Should Get Paid
  • More Incentives for Student Athletes. College sports are already competitive but when money is on the line there is more of an incentive for student athletes to work harder. ...
  • Student Athletes Bring in Money. ...
  • Student Athletes Have No Time for Jobs.
Jan 24, 2023

Why do I deserve a sports scholarship? ›

You Deserve This Scholarship Because You Have Passion and Persistence. Letting your passion show through in your answer allows the committee to see your dedication. You deserve this scholarship based on your love of learning, your enjoyment of your field, or your passion for growth.

How many kids get athletic scholarships? ›

Only 57% of Division I athletes receive some form of financial aid, ranging from a book scholarship to a “full ride.” The amount is slightly higher in Division II at 63%.

How many people get athletic scholarship? ›

Fall 2022. Does the NCAA award athletics scholarships? Individual schools award athletics scholarships. Division I and II schools provide more than $3.7 billion in athletics scholarships annually to nearly 190,000 student-athletes.

How many athletic scholarships per school? ›

Division 1 FBS teams can give out a maximum of 85 full-ride scholarships to athletes. Division 1 FCS programs can provide a maximum of 63 total scholarships.

Do student-athletes get scholarships? ›

According to Next College Student Athlete (NCSA), less than 2% of high-school athletes earn some kind of athletic scholarship, most of which don't cover the full cost of school.

How long is an athletic scholarship? ›

With the exception of major conferences (Power 5), the majority of athletic scholarships are guaranteed only for one year. They are renewed as long as the student-athlete fulfills the coach's expectation and has no academic or conduct issues.

Are athletic scholarships common? ›

The vast majority of college athletes do not receive any scholarship money. Only about one or two percent of high school athletes are awarded any type of sports scholarships in college. A good percentage of those students receive very little money.

What benefits do student-athletes receive? ›

Student-athletes receive academic support, such as state-of-the-art technology and tutoring, and have access to athlete-focused academic advisors in addition to traditional academic advisors. The NCAA also provides resources each year to schools as part of the Academic Enhancement Fund.

What is the meaning of athletic scholarships? ›

An athletic scholarship is a form of scholarship to attend a college or university or a private high school awarded to an individual based predominantly on their ability to play in a sport.

What GPA do you need to get an athletic scholarship? ›

Ultimately, the minimum GPA you will need to be NCAA eligible is dependent on where you fall on the NCAA sliding scale. The minimum GPA you can have to be considered an early academic qualifier for D1 is a 2.3 GPA and a 980 SAT combined score or 75 ACT sum score.

Should college athletes be paid 10 reasons? ›

Top 10 Reasons College Athletes Should Be Paid
  • Sports Take as Much Time as A Full-time Job. ...
  • A Greater Stake for Students Will Make Games More Competitive. ...
  • Athletes Take Time Away from Study to Play Sports. ...
  • Coaches Receive Extravagant Salaries. ...
  • College Sports Money Is Not Used for Students' Benefit.
Feb 13, 2020

Why do student athletes deserve to be paid? ›

College athletes should be paid because they bring a substantial amount of money into their colleges, boost admission rates, put in full-time hours, and do not have the time to get a full-time job on top of their sport.

Will paying college athletes motivate them? ›

The incentive of getting paid will motivate a young player into not only delivering his possible best always but also stay committed to developing his or her skills.

How do you answer why I should win this scholarship? ›

Tips to Consider
  1. Link your passions to the scholarship. ...
  2. Show your grit. ...
  3. Share what you plan to do with the scholarship award. ...
  4. Treat it like a résumé, in paragraph form. ...
  5. Treat it like a personal statement. ...
  6. Treat it like a career and/or academic goals essay.
Aug 12, 2020

How do you start a scholarship essay? ›

The best choice is to write an attention-grabbing sentence. It should be something persuading or intriguing that will make a person continue reading your essay with great interest. Avoid long explanations or introductions. Instead, this sentence should be short and clear.

How do you write a 500 word essay for a scholarship? ›

The format of a 500-word scholarship essay is similar to a shorter essay. Each paragraph is about 75-125 words, and it consists of 3-5 well-written sentences. If you are writing a story or personal anecdote, the formatting can be more like a novel than a news article. It is ok to use 10% less or more words.

What sport gives the most scholarships? ›

These sports, such as football, soccer, hockey, and baseball, might be the ones that offer the highest number of full scholarships.

Can you lose an athletic scholarship? ›

Scholarships can be taken away

It's possible for student-athletes to lose their athletic scholarships, which can happen for a variety of reasons. The most common scenario is when a student-athlete thinks they have a scholarship, but all they have is an offer.

Do most kids get scholarships? ›

7% of students are likely to receive a scholarship. Only 1.5% of students will receive a full scholarship. $8.8 billion was awarded in need-based scholarships. White students have a 14.2% chance of getting a scholarship, while minority students have 11.2%.

Can you get 2 athletic scholarships? ›

It is possible to earn an athletic scholarship for more than one sport. It doesn't happen very often, especially at the NCAA Division I level.

What is considered a good scholarship? ›

It could be 25% of your one-year's tuition fee or $5,000-$10,000. You might get a $50,000+ scholarship and should consider yourself lucky if you get any amount above $15,000. The better and more robust your student profile, the larger amount you will get. Don't ignore smaller scholarships that offer $500-$1000.

How much do college spend on athletic scholarships? ›

US Colleges awarded over $ 4 billion in Athletic Scholarships during 2019-20:
Athletic Division# of SchoolsValue of Scholarships
NCAA I357$ 2.76 billion
NCAA II303$ 752 million
NAIA238$ 546 million
4 more rows

How can I get the most scholarships? ›

Top Tips for Winning Scholarships for College
  1. Create an accomplishments resume. ...
  2. Don't miss deadlines. ...
  3. Complete the scholarship matching profile thoroughly. ...
  4. Apply to as many scholarships as possible. ...
  5. Look for scholarship listing books. ...
  6. Find local scholarships on bulletin boards. ...
  7. Tap into family connections.

Where do athletic scholarships come from? ›

While most scholarship money comes from the college itself, there are some ways for student-athletes to receive funding from private sources. Many athletic departments have endowment scholarships set up by former athletes or alumni who support a specific sport or cause.

Do student-athletes get paid now? ›

Did you know that college athletes can now make money? They are not paid by their colleges or universities, but they can receive gifts from boosters; make deals with companies to use their names, images and likenesses; and endorse products.

Do scholarships expire? ›

Applying for scholarships is an important, must-do part of college prep, but it's important to note what many students don't ask: Do scholarships expire? The answer is yes, scholarships can expire.

Can you lose a scholarship? ›

Eligibility Changes

If you spend the scholarship on something other than what the scholarship is for, you could lost it. GPA – If the scholarship required a minimum grade point average to qualify or to maintain the scholarship and you fall below, you could lose the scholarship.

Do college athletes lose scholarship if injured? ›

“”When we make an offer of athletic scholarship, (student athletes) can't lose it based on injury,”” Lambinus said. The only way student athletes can lose their award is if they become injured outside the realm of sports.

Do athletic scholarships cover food? ›

The rule, which applies to walk-ons as well as scholarship student-athletes, is an effort to meet the nutritional needs of all student-athletes. The provision of meals approved today is in addition to the meal plan provided as part of a full scholarship.

What are positives about being an athlete? ›

Playing sports helps you stay in shape, teaches you how to organize your time, boosts friendships, and builds relationships with your peers and adults. Through athletics, you gain skills that can best be acquired on a court, track, or field.

Why are athletes important? ›

Students who participate in sports learn a sense of preparedness for the future. Being a high school athlete teaches kids that other people depend on them. Students develop the self-discipline, motivation and leadership skills that they will need to succeed in building a purposeful life.

Why are athletics important to colleges? ›

Increased enrollment and graduation rates

By participating in sports, students at the two-year college level save money via scholarships and an associate degree, while also being exposed to competition on a national level.

When did athletic scholarships start? ›

Student-Athlete Awards

Since 1964, the NCAA has awarded scholarships to help college athletes pursue additional educational opportunities.

What GPA is a 86? ›

To convert your GPA to a 4.0 scale:
Letter GradePercent Grade4.0 Scale
8 more rows
Feb 23, 2023

What is the easiest athletic scholarship to get? ›

Track and field scholarships are considered to be one of the most accessible and easy to obtain. That is largely due to limited competition. Many athletes are involved in track and field disciplines.

What GPA should a D1 athlete have? ›

Student-athletes must earn a 2.0 cumulative grade-point average each year.

Should college athletes get scholarships? ›

Scholarships are the fairest form of compensation for student athletes considering the financial strain that college athletic departments are under. Most schools in Division I, II, and III spend more money on athletics than they receive in revenue from the sports.

What percentage of high school athletes actually get a college scholarship for any sport? ›

The vast majority of college athletes do not receive any scholarship money. Only about one or two percent of high school athletes are awarded any type of sports scholarships in college. A good percentage of those students receive very little money.

Why athletic scholarships don t guarantee a debt free college degree? ›

More than a quarter (28%) of students receiving athletic scholarships receive less than $5,000. Athletic scholarships do not have much of an impact on student loan debt because college costs are higher at the colleges that offer athletic scholarships.

Why do athletes get into college easier? ›

College athletes are generally admitted through a school's early decision process. As the proportion of admitted athletes increases, so does the proportion of locked-in applicants. Colleges also benefit by admitting more students early since those people are not part of acceptance-rate calculations.

Are sports scholarships worth it? ›

Athletic scholarships are usually more valuable as a whole because there are fewer of them available. There are only so many athletes for each school. There may be countless academics. You could earn several small academic scholarships that add up to one sports scholarship.

Do all athletes get scholarships? ›

of all student-athletes receive some form of academic scholarship or need-based grant; institutional gift aid totals $17,000 on average. * Graduation rate for student-athletes, including those who transfer from one school to another.

How many athletes get scholarships? ›

How much is the average athletic scholarship worth? Annually, the NCAA awards more than $2.9 billion in athletic scholarships to over 150,000 student-athletes. Students can receive financial aid in the following forms: A full ride scholarship.

Do student-athletes have better grades? ›

Athletes were also shown to have higher grade point averages than non-athletes. Another study from the Institute of Medicine showed that kids who are very active typically perform better on standardized tests.

Can college athletes lose their scholarship? ›

Coaches can pull a scholarship mid-year for 3 reasons: 1) you are ineligible, 2) misrepresent information in a university document or 3) withdrawal from the team. The interpretation of these rules falls to the university and the coach.

What GPA do you need to keep athletic scholarship? ›

These GPA standards are outlined in the overall NCAA academic requirements. The lowest GPA you can maintain and still receive an athletic scholarship as a partial qualifier at a Division 1 or Division 2 institution is a 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.

Why college athletes shouldn't be paid scholarships? ›

By paying student-athletes, other programs in the school that don't bring in much money will be erased. Even the bigger schools in the NCAA won't be able to pay every single player and keep up financially with other sports programs resulting in them being cut off.

Do student-athletes do better in life? ›

Participating in sports can also help with academics. A national education study finds the grade point average of a high school athlete was slightly higher than those not involved in athletics. They also missed fewer school days.

How important is athletics for college? ›

Increased enrollment and graduation rates

By participating in sports, students at the two-year college level save money via scholarships and an associate degree, while also being exposed to competition on a national level.

Are student-athletes more successful? ›

Even when using the less-inclusive federal graduation rate, college athletes graduate at a higher rate than the general student body. The Division I student-athlete rates held steady at 69%, while the general student body dropped 1 point to 68%.


1. How to get an athletic Scholarship!
2. What You Should Know About Athletic Scholarships
(NCSA College Recruiting)
3. Are athletic scholarships offered one year at a time or do they vary?
(NCSA College Recruiting)
4. Which colleges give athletic scholarships?
(ASM Scholarships)
5. Full Ride Scholarships for Athletes [Types of Scholarships]
(NCSA College Recruiting)
6. How are athletic scholarships funded?
(ASM Scholarships)
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