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Recruiting Resources : NCAA Scholarships

Learn about NCAA Atheltic Scholarships

Receiving an Athletic Scholarship

Accompanying the National Letter of Intent is an athletics scholarship offer from the respective university, which also must be signed at the same time as the NLI. Understanding the basics of athletic scholarships is relatively simple but it's helpful to clarify several points about them.

According to the NCAA, only about two percent of high school athletes receive athletic scholarships (only 126,000 collegiate athletes receive scholarships); however, spread through this group is about $1.5 billion in NCAA athletic scholarship awards. Contributing to this low number is that only Division I and II programs offer athletic scholarships, while Division III programs are limited to just academic scholarships. Because of this, it's strongly encouraged to also focus on academics to secure a scholarship in college.

So you received an Athletic Scholarship...now what?

How long will my scholarship last?

The athletic scholarship you received is only good for one academic year, which is the same timeframe given for most other merit-based scholarships.

Will my scholarship rollover or be renewed?

It is important to know that each scholarship is awarded by the university and not the NCAA. On July 1st of each year following the first year of college, the university must notify in writing whether the student's athletic scholarship will be renewed or reduced for the next year. In most cases it's up to the coach to decide who receives a scholarship and for how much on a yearly basis.

Athletic Scholarship Coverage

So what will the university cover?

NCAA guidelines stipulate that full scholarships cannot exceed tuition and fees, room, board and course-related books, but such opportunities are not very common. Typically, only partial athletic scholarships are awarded, since each team has a limited amount of scholarships it can distribute.

How much should I expect to be awarded?

The amount of money given through a scholarship depends on the financial capabilities at each university. At an in-state, public university the NCAA estimated in 2008 that the average value of a full scholarship was roughly $14,000. That same year an out-of-state public university had an average close to $24,000 and full scholarships to private universities was more than $32,000.

Don't forget about other types of financial aid!

Along with receiving athletic scholarships, athletes can also be granted academic scholarships, need-based aid (ex. Federal Pell Grants) or other financial aid through the NCAA's Student-Athlete Opportunity Fund. However, because of NCAA regulations surrounding amateurism, certain types of financial aid cannot be accepted by athletes. Any questions about the limitations of financial aid should be directed to a university's athletic department or the college's financial aid office.