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Sports Scholarships, Athletic Scholarships and Financial Aid for Student Athletes

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This page provides information about sports scholarships, athletic scholarships, and other forms of financial aid for student atheletes. Approximately 1% to 2% of undergraduate students in Bachelor's degree programs receive athletic scholarships, a total of about $1 billion a year. Additional facts and figures concerning athletic scholarships may be found in the Backgrounder: Athletic Scholarships.

Of schools with a NCAA affiliation, only Division I and Division II schools may offer athletic scholarships. Division III schools -- the most prestigious institutions -- are precluded from offering athletic scholarships. Schools with other affiliations, such as NAIA, offer athletic scholarships according to the policies of the associations to which they belong.

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The types of scholarships that may be offered include archery scholarships, baseball scholarships, basketball scholarships, crew scholarships, cross country scholarships, fencing scholarships, field hockey scholarships, football scholarships, golf scholarships, gymnastics scholarships, hockey scholarships, lacrosse scholarships, rifle scholarships, sailing scholarships, skiing scholarships, soccer scholarships, softball scholarships, swimming scholarships, tennis scholarships, track scholarships, volleyball scholarships, and wrestling scholarships.

Athletic scholarships are generally not available for graduate study.

For individual sports scholarships that match your profile, search the FastWeb scholarship database.

Gender Equity in Athletic Scholarships

Female students should be aware that federal law (Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 USC 1681-1688) requires athletic scholarships to be distributed in an equitable fashion among the sexes. Consequently, a considerable amount of financial aid is available for women with athletic ability. The OPE Equity in Athletics Disclosure Website provides statistical information on men's and women's intercollegiate sports at almost 2,000 US colleges and universities, as mandated by the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act.

Athletic Associations

NAIA. National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, 6120 South Yale Avenue, Suite 1450, Tulsa, OK 74136. 1-918-494-8828.

NCAA. National College Athletic Association, 6201 College Boulevard, Overland Park, KS 66211-2422. 1-913-339-1906.

NCCAA. National Christian College Athletic Association, PO Box 1312, Marion, IN 46952. 1-317-674-8401.

NJCAA. National Junior College Athletic Association, PO Box 7305, Colorado Springs, CO 80933-7305. 1-719-590-9788.

NSCAA. National Small College Athletic Association, 1884 College Heights, New Ulm, MN 56073. 1-507-359-9791.

AAF. Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles, 2141 West Adams Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90018. 1-213-730-9600. Also known as the LA84 Foundation, AAF was endowed with surplus funds from the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.

NFSHSA. National Federation of State High School Associations, 11724 NW Plaza Circle, Kansas City, MO 64153. 1-816-464-5400.

WSF. Women's Sports Foundation, Eisenhower Park, East Meadow, NY 11554. 1-800-227-3988.

General Resources

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
The NCAA site provides information about the recruiting process, including information about NCAA rules on academic eligibility and recruitment procedures. It also includes information about NCAA scholarship programs and financial aid for student-athletes, as well as school-administered athletic scholarships. For more information, call 1-913-339-1906.

Recruiting Services

FinAid does not recommend using scholarship recruiting services for high school athletes, as these are rarely worthwhile.

Instead of paying a fee to a recruiting service, put together a profile of your athletic and academic qualifications. Include copies of the best newspaper clippings in which your performance is mentioned, letters of recommendation from your current coaches, and your sport's season schedule. A short 5-10 minute video of your athletic performance may also be helpful. Send copies of this athletic portfolio to the coaches at the schools you are interested in.

The number of schools that offer athletic scholarships is rather limited. Most athletic scholarships provide only partial support, and require that the student make satisfactory academic progress for renewal. Coaches can also refuse to renew an athletic scholarship if the student's athletic performance falls short of expectations. If the student quits the team, the athletic scholarship is usually terminated immediately. (Athletic scholarships are not terminated if the student is injured during competition.)

Schools that offer significant numbers of sports scholarships include:
  • Albertson College (ID)
  • Baker University (KS)
  • Bethel College (KS)
  • Brescia University (KY)
  • Briar Cliff University (IA)
  • Centenary College of Louisiana (LA)
  • Concordia University (NE)
  • Dana College (NE)
  • Erskine College (SC)
  • Hannibal-LaGrange College (MO)
  • Holy Names University (CA)
  • McPherson College (KS)
  • Michigan State University (MI)
  • Midland Lutheran College (NE)
  • Missouri Baptist College (MO)
  • Morningside College (IA)
  • Newman University (KS)
  • North Greenville College (SC)
  • Pikeville College (KY)
  • Regent University (VA)
  • St. Vincent College (PA)
  • Tabor College (KS)
  • Talladega College (AL)
  • Tri-State University (IN)
  • University of Mary (ND)
  • Walsh University (OH)
  • Warner Southern College (FL)
  • Webber International University (FL)
  • Wingate University (NC)

Sports Scholarship Sites

The following web sites are associated with sponsors of non-college-controlled sport scholarships:

In addition, the Adaptive Athletics Scholarships is noteworthy in that it provides support to disabled athletes. This scholarship is tenable only at the University of Arizona.

Books

The following is a list of books focusing on athletic scholarships. Some describe the recruiting process, some list schools that provide sports scholarships and some do both. For further reading, be sure to check the FinAid bibliography. Check the copyright date before buying any book about scholarships, as any book that is more than one year old is too old to be useful.

  1. Laurie Blum, Free Money for Athletic Scholarships, Collier Books, MacMillan Publishing Company, 1993. ISBN 0-80502-660-6 ($14.95).

  2. Don Campbell, The Sports Scholarship Handbook: The Athlete's Guide to Beating the High Cost of College, Lulu Press, Inc., July 2004. ISBN 1-41160-953-0 ($24.98). 176 pages.

  3. Andy Clark and Amy Clark, Athletic Scholarships: Thousands of Grants and Over $400 Million for College-Bound Athletes, 4th Edition, Facts on File, July 2000. ISBN 0-81604-309-4 paper ($14.95). 338 pages.

  4. Keith R. Fossey, The football scholarship guide, Pigskin Press, Kenosha, WI, 1993. ISBN 0-96334-950-3 ($24.95). 308 pages.

  5. Penny Hastings and Todd D. Caven, How to Win a Sports Scholarship, First Base Sports, 2nd edition, 1999. ISBN 1-88430-910-0 ($19.95). 246 pages.

  6. William Kirchhoff, How to Win a Soccer Scholarship Worth Thousands, Authorhouse, October 1, 2002. ISBN 1-40333-281-9 ($11.45). 108 pages.

  7. Michael D. Koehler, Advising Student Athletes Through the College Recruitment Process: A Complete Guide for Counselors, Coaches and Parents, Prentice Hall, March 1, 1996. ISBN 0-13541-343-5 ($32.50). 288 pages.

  8. Robert J. Lullo, Prospect Gold: A Guide To Athletic Recruiting and Scholarships, Express Publishing, October 2003. ISBN 0-97463-810-2 ($24.95). 112 pages.

  9. Wayne Mazzoni, The Athletic Recruiting & Scholarship Guide, Mazz Marketing Inc., 1998. ISBN 0-96635-570-9 ($19.95). 111 pages.

  10. Kim McQuilken, The Road to Athletic Scholarship, New York University Press, 1996. ISBN 0-8147-5546-1 ($12.95).

  11. Whitney Minnis, How to Get an Athletic Scholarship: A Student-Athlete's Guide to Collegiate Athletics, ASI Publishing, December 1, 1995. ISBN 0-96451-530-X. 104 pages.

  12. Robert L. Scott, Athletic Recruiting & College Scholarship Guide: How To Market Your Student Athlete, HTMYSA, June 2003. ISBN 0-97129-511-5 ($24.95). 168 pages.

  13. Chris Tenkin, Winning a Sports Scholarship, Barricade Books, 1996. ISBN 1-56980-078-2 ($12.00).

  14. Ron Walker, Peterson's Sports Scholarships and College Athletic Programs 1996, 5th edition, Peterson's Guides, August 1, 2004. ISBN 0-76891-524-4 ($26.95). 613 pages.

  15. Dion Wheeler, A Parent's and Student Athlete's Guide to Athletic Scholarships: Getting Money Without Being Taken for a (Full) Ride, McGraw-Hill, 2000. ISBN 0-80922-443-7 ($16.95). 464 pages.
 

 
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