Scholarships for Athletes

Whether you are a parent of a college student, a high school senior or a college student, you already know the financial difficulty that college education can have on you. At the moment, a four year college education costs around $100,000 and this does not include the high cost of transportation, textbooks, food and accommodation. When all these expenses are added up, realizing the dream of a college degree can be quite difficult. If you participate in athletics, tuition does not have to be the reason you cannot attend college. There are numerous sources of college scholarships for athletes which you can use to your benefit.

Types of Scholarships For Student Athletes

Many schools offer different scholarships for student athletes. Some are based off pure athletic performance and ability while they are in high school sports, others are going to mix athletics as well as merit success in order to be eligible for scholarships. Depending on how good you are in your respected sport, and how well you do in the classroom, there are quite a few options available to you. It is possible that you will not have to pay a cent out of pocket to attend the school of choice. In other words, all costs for college including tuition, living expenses and book fee’s, are all covered by some athletic based scholarships.

However, this does not mean that all scholarships for athletes cover all of their college expenses, students have to find out about the specific scholarship they are applying for and how much that scholarship covers. Only then will they know what they are going to be paying out of pocket when the time comes for them to start applying for different colleges.

Athletic Based

The most common scholarship offered is the one that is based off your athletic performance
during high school. Depending on the university you want to go to, certain programs will pay
your entire tuition, others will pay for a percentage, and others are going to pay your tuition, plus out of pocket expenses. If you are highly recruited, it is more than likely you are set with finances, and with additional expenses. If you have been recruited by a particular school, you have to find out what they are willing to offer to you.

Athletic & Education Based

Another scholarship type is the one based off partial athletic ability, as well as your performance in the classroom. In the event that you do not get the full tuition based on athletics alone, many schools will look at your GPA in high school, as well as other extracurricular activities (such as clubs you are a part of), in order to determine how much they are going to fund the individual, as well as what additional benefits they will receive for attending that specific recruiting-college.

Keeping The Scholarship

Once you receive the Scholarships for Athletes that you are eligible for, you must follow
guidelines and rules to keep them. From maintaining a particular GPA, attending classes and tutor sessions, coming to practice on time, curfew, and any other requirements that are set forth in a particular scholarship, all have to be met, otherwise you run the risk of losing your funding. Many scholarships will give students one semester to rebound, in the event they break any rules, or fall below a certain GPA, but the most stringent ones are not as lenient.

What you receive, and the amount of money you receive, depends on the scholarship, what it is
based off, and what a school is willing to offer you, as a student athlete. If you are one of
the top performers, you are going to receive several offers. If you are highly recruited by a
few schools, you are also going to receive a fair amount of funding. You have to know
requirements, eligibility, and what is required to keep the funding and your scholarship, in
order to ensure you do not lose the money you are given after you have received the scholarship

Financial Aid Opportunities – Finding The Right Scholarship

Once you have a general understanding about the different types of scholarships available, you can begin your research by speaking to a college counselor or using an online scholarship directory service. There are a wide variety of sources for student athlete scholarships and if you are in need of college fee funding, below are some of the places you need to look.

  • The National Collegiate Athletic Association
  • University Scholarships for Student Athletes
  • USA Track and Field Foundation
  • Women Sports Foundation

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

For starters, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is the organization responsible for regulating the minimum requirements for both recipients and providers of scholarships. These set standards include: the minimum GPA and test scores that an aspiring student should attain to qualify for a scholarship or grant award, the terms and conditions with regards to recipients’ proportions, and the form and value of the scholarships and grants that the scholarship providers need to comply with. According to NCAA rules, scholarships can only be offered by schools under the Division I and Division II bracket while Division III schools cannot.

University Scholarships for Student Athletes

This is the most common source of financial aid to student athletes. Here, universities and colleges can pay for part or full fees and even a stipend may be added. To get such a scholarship, you not only have to be good at your sport but you also need to be proactive and resilient in searching for such an opportunity. Take it upon yourself to search and apply in schools that you would like to attend and teams you would like to play in. Additionally, go out and meet some of the coaches to see if they might be interested in getting you to play in their team.

USA Track and Field Foundation

This organization offers grants for the development of elite athletes as well as post collegiate track and field athletes of U.S. origin. To qualify, you must rank top ten in the nationwide event, get at least a “B” IAAF standard and your track and field income should be less than $30,000. This grant can be used to cover coaching fees, travel expenses, health insurance, training fees and injury care and prevention.

Women Sports Foundation

Female athletes have a reason not to miss college thanks to this foundation. This organization was established in 1974 and works to help women and girls advance their lives through sports and physical activity. They offer financial aid to aspiring female athletes and it comprises four types of grants with different eligibility requirements for each, a brief description of these is given below, you can learn more about each at the Women Sports Foundation website.

Travel and Training Fund
Offers training assistance to women in elite level competition.

The GoGirlGo! Grant
Provides funding for women athletes who are economically disadvantaged or are from low income or under-served communities.

The Dorothy Harris Endowed Scholarship
Offers monetary assistance to female graduate in the sport management field.

The Rusty Kanokogi Fund
Responsible for the advancement of judo in the U.S. Providing funding for female judo athletes who aspire to be at an elite-level.

If you are interested in more women oriented financial aid programs, you can learn more by checking out our article on scholarships and grants for women.

The Government and Private Organizations

The government and private organizations are willing to pay your college fees in exchange for your services in one way or the other. For instance, you can join the army or be a veteran that is eligible for college grants for veterans, and have your college fees fully paid for. If you are just joining the army however, you will have to serve there for a certain period of time before parting ways.

Other government grants include the Pell Grant and the FSEOG grant. Some are career or gender specific, such as grants for black women. Additional funding can be found if you are part of a minority group in which case the government may offer you minority grants and scholarships to promote more people of your particular heritage that are pursuing college education. To find out if you are eligible, all you need to do is complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and apply.

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