I got my athletic scholarship! Why do I still owe money?
After years of pouring yourself into your sport, you have that magical conversation with a college coach. You are leaning forward hardly daring to breath. The coach, leaning forward as well, begins the phrase you have dreamed about, “I would like to offer you a scholarship…” YES! It has really happened. You are pinching yourself to see if it is real. You look over to see broad smiles on the faces of your parents.
After you are out of the presence of the coach, the celebration grows. High fives and hugs all around. Your mom is weeping for joy, thinking about all the time, energy, money and sacrifice they have endured since you were five years old.
A week later you receive your financial package from the college. Right there on the first line is your athletic scholarship. You and your parents can’t help but swell with pride again.
You read on line by line. You see an academic scholarship and a Pell Grant. That’s good. Next comes work study. What’s that? The bottom items on the list are loans. There is the Federal Stafford loan for you and another line that reads parent loan.
The total at the bottom tells you that down to the penny the scholarships, grants, work study, and loans cover the exact amount of your bill. The college is pleased to announce you can afford their school.
What just happened?
It feels as though you were just punched in the stomach.
A common misconception is that an athletic scholarship will provide a free college education.
The search for a college athletic scholarship can be confusing and overwhelming. Here are two of the biggest myths about athletic scholarships.
Myth 1: Most college athletes are receiving full athletic scholarships.
Reality: Full scholarships are few and far between, especially outside of football and basketball for men; basketball, volleyball, gymnastics and tennis for women.
For all other sports, coaches must divide a certain amount of money. Many schools do not even allot as many athletic scholarships as the NCAA allows. Most Division 1 programs give out very few full scholarships. Rather than give the full scholarships to a few players, most programs break the total amount into smaller scholarships in order to distribute the money to many players on the team. The situation in Division 2 and the NAIA schools is similar, except that the dollar amount is less. Division 3 schools offer no athletic scholarships in any sport.
Myth 2: Recruited athletes are receiving near free educations.
Reality: The average Division 1 recipient of an athletic scholarship saves $10,409 annually. Compare that to an average annual price tag of $30,000 at Division 1 schools. A Division 2 athlete saves an average of $6000 per year from his/her total educational bill.
What do the numbers say?
Finally, a couple of numbers from John Millea, a reporter at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis:
- For every 100 high school athletes, there is one full athletic scholarship available.
- More than 60% of all NCAA athletes receive no athletic scholarship aid.
Don’t be discouraged, but be ready to work at the recruiting process.
There are good financial packages to be found at Division 1, 2, 3 and NAIA schools. You just have to spend the time finding the right school with the right total financial package. I would encourage you to find the best value you can, at a school you like, regardless of whether the scholarship is listed as “athletic” or not.
If you don’t want to miss out on playing in college, then it is time to get to work.
If you feel like you have been stumbling along or have not even started the recruiting process, it is time to take action.
How will you push forward and finally get college coaches to take notice of you: What is your specific plan? What action will you take first?
If you are ready for Recruiting to be made easy, you are ready for
How to Get Recruited: Got Talent. Get a Plan. Get Recruited.
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