Athletic Scholarships & Financial Aid

Most collegiate athletes combine financial assistance, academic honors, and sports scholarships to fund tuition, housing, board, and books. Because college costs are rising, prospective student-athletes want to know their options for covering fees not covered by their sports scholarship. Let us know about the ‘Athletic Scholarships & Financial Aid’.

Athletic Scholarships & Financial Aid

It is possible to combine athletic and academic scholarships. However, the specifics of the procedure and its outcomes may vary by organization and department. Remember that there is a unique process and set of rules for combining academic and athletic scholarships.

Can I combine Athletic Scholarships and financial aid?

Numerous elements come into the recruitment process to help you get the ideal job. The cost of attending a school and the availability of financial aid are two factors that must be considered. Athletic scholarships, academic awards, grants, and other forms of financial assistance are some of the many options for paying for college. 

As a potential student-athlete, you may have many questions concerning the functionality of these packages and whether you can combine them.

This article discusses opportunities to receive and combine sports scholarships and other financial help. Of course, it is possible to combine sports scholarships with other forms of financial assistance, but doing so requires careful consideration of the potential effects on the person and the program and compliance with NCAA standards. Knowing the precise rules and laws regarding sports athletic scholarships and financial aid combinations is essential since they might vary depending on the division and the institution.

What is an Athletic Scholarship?

An athletic scholarship is a monetary help to a student-athlete by the school’s athletics department. A coach decides who gets a scholarship and how much they get. 

Scholarships are financial aid given to students for pursuing athletic careers at the university level. These resources are often allocated from the university’s sports budget. Since this is a grant, the athlete does not have to pay it back.

Athletes can only sometimes bet on getting a scholarship for all four years since many of them need to be renewed yearly. In addition, to continue receiving the scholarship, the athlete must meet specific criteria, such as maintaining a certain grade point average or reaching a particular level of performance in their sport. The amount and qualifying restrictions of the scholarship vary depending on the institution’s size and the sport.

What is Financial Aid?

Financial aid refers to any funding source for higher education that is not the student’s savings or salary. Financial aid might come from grants, scholarships, work-study jobs, and government or private loans. Financial help may cover a student’s total cost of attendance at an accredited university, including tuition, fees, room and board, textbooks and supplies, and transportation.

A wide variety of places may provide help. However, the federal and state governments are only two examples of organizations that fall under this category. Therefore, the amount of financial aid you get is subject to the policies of the federal government, the state government, and the institution itself, as well as any applicable laws imposed by these bodies.

Types of Financial Aid

There are two types of financial aid: 

Those awarded based on shown financial need and those awarded based on demonstrated academic performance. In its simplest form, need-based assistance is money granted to students based on the organization’s assessment of their financial needs. Merit-based aid is provided for those with outstanding potential or who have shown ability in academics, sports, the arts, or other areas.

The need or merit that led to the provision of financial assistance is irrelevant; you are under no obligation to return it. What sort of help you obtain will determine the answer. Scholarship and grant programs do not require repayment. Many loans have this feature.

Athletic Scholarship versus Financial Aid

There are many parallels between academic and athletic scholarships, the most prominent being that both are intended to reward outstanding achievement and help fund higher education. Students who do well in the classroom may get academic scholarships, while amazing athletes might receive sports scholarships.

However, the objective performance requirements for academic and athletic scholarships differ. Colleges and universities provide students with financial aid based on observable, objective criteria, such as standardized test results and grade point averages in high school. Athletic scholarships are handed out using subjective criteria. 

While statistics may play a role in the recruiting process, a coach’s decision will ultimately be based on the candidate’s shown dedication to the team, work ethic, and intelligence, as well as on the player’s physical ability.

What impact do sports scholarships have on need-based grants?

College sports coaches have the last say in who receives financial aid for athletics. Once the student has submitted a FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the financial aid office determines student eligibility for financial assistance (including loans, scholarships, and need-based help like work-study programs).

The office of Federal Student Aid of the U.S. Department of Education offers the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The government agency evaluates each student’s situation and customizes their assistance package accordingly. However, it won’t affect your athletic scholarship, which is fantastic news.

But this is one side of the picture; you can still get athletic scholarships even if you get an academic scholarship, with one important exception.

At the risk of being insensitively calculating, a coach will assign you a numerical value as a team member if you’re competing for a partial scholarship. Because coaches need to get the most out of their scholarship dollars, the amount of financial aid you’re offered for athletics may be affected if you’ve already been awarded a scholarship for your academic performance.

For instance, if a softball team in NCAA Division II has 18 players on the roster but can only provide scholarships to 7.2, the coach will have to distribute the remaining scholarships among the players. A coach may grant you a partial scholarship worth 40% of your college costs. Still, if you also get an academic scholarship worth 70% of your expenditures, the coach may reduce your scholarship award by 10% and use that money toward another player.

Criteria of Division I:

Student-athletes may use both athletic and academic scholarships; however, your GPA, admission test scores, and NCAA division are all factors. In addition, due to the NCAA’s classification of academic scholarships as “non-athletic financial assistance,” Division I students who want to receive both an athletic and academic scholarship must:

  • Obtain a position in the top 10 percent of your high school graduating class.
  • Complete high school with a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or above.
  • Possess an SAT composite of at least 1,200 or an ACT composite of at least 105.

Criteria of Division II:

The standard for combining athletic and academic scholarships is somewhat lowered at Division II colleges due to the limited number of available sports scholarships. Among those criteria are the following:

  • Complete high school among the top twenty percent of your class.
  • You must have a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or above on a 4.0 scale.
  • Have a combined SAT or ACT score of at least 1,140 or an equivalent score in other tests.

Policy To Get The Athletic Scholarship

Student-athletes at all levels of competition must show that they can succeed academically without receiving financial support from the athletic department to receive academic or non-athletic scholarships.  This policy prevents players from being offered scholarships based on their athletic abilities. The guideline also limits the number of merit-based, or other types of scholarships colleges may provide athletes.

Although it may be challenging to figure out how to combine athletic and non-athletic scholarships, receiving an intellectual scholarship is relatively straightforward, provided your academic record justifies it. However, if you need clarification about your scholarship eligibility, the school’s compliance office can provide you with the necessary information.

How College Athletic Scholarships Operate?

Each school has a fixed budget for athletic scholarships

While many sports may provide full athletic scholarships, most schools offer just a portion of financial assistance based on athletics and encourage student-athletes to apply for merit-based scholarships.

All sides are motivated by financial considerations, and for most institutions, the challenge is to find a way to recruit talented athletes without breaking the bank.

NAIA and NCAA College

Two major governing bodies for intercollegiate athletics at the four-year university level are the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

Despite their differences, these national governing bodies provide high school and collegiate players the chance to compete at the national level and win academic scholarships based on their physical prowess.


Swimming, track, and tennis may offer bright young Americans complete college tuition exemptions. Your school may provide financial aid. Athletic scholarships are appealing when college tuition rises. Individuals who excel in both the classroom and the sporting arena will be given priority for these scholarships. A student’s eligibility for financial aid—money set aside to assist pay for college — is based on their GPA or record. It may cover a wide range of expenses associated with higher education, including but not limited to tuition and fees, room and board, textbooks and supplies, and transportation.

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. How can I get a sports scholarship?

If you are prepared before junior year, you can start talking to recruiters. After then, universities will offer you scholarships and participation chances; you must assess and compare them before the deadline.

2. Where do I look for a job?

Start by shortlisting possible institutions, then determine whether they offer your sport.

3. What if I’m an international student-athlete?

As a worldwide student-athlete, you have a specific obligation to make sure your secondary school gave you a sound academic foundation and that you took the relevant standardized examinations (SAT, ACT, TOEFL, etc.).