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College athletic scholarships


Thursday, December 29, 2011
As you begin your college scholarship search, be sure to look beyond awards that are based solely on academic performance. If you excel in sports, there is no reason why you should not look into athletic scholarships.

However, you will need to do some research about college athletics before you start searching for these scholarships. First, it is important to understand the divisions of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and which division the schools you are interested in applying to belong.

Colleges and universities that belong to the NCAA determine the level at which they will compete and apply for membership in one of three divisions.

Large colleges and universities are typically Division I schools. According to the NCAA Web site these schools must offer at least 14 sports to be eligible for this designation. Smaller public schools and independent colleges tend to place in the Division II category, which signifies an intermediate-level division of competition. Division III schools must offer at least five sports for men and five for women. Eighty-one percent (352) of Division III institutions are private schools.

Knowledge of the different divisions is important because Division III schools offer academic scholarships, but not awards based on applicants’ athletic abilities. However, colleges and universities that are a part of the remaining two divisions are allowed to offer this form of financial aid.

The NCAA states that Division I and II schools provide about $2 billion in athletic scholarships on an annual basis, with more than 145,000 student-athletes receiving partial or full awards.

There are currently more than 1,000 NCAA member schools. According to the organization’s Web site, “the NCAA’s core purpose is to govern competition in a fair, safe, equitable and sportsmanlike manner, and to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount.”

Athletic scholarships are offered for a wide range of sports. While searching, you may come across awards for basketball, baseball, football, hockey, lacrosse, field hockey, wrestling, sailing, gymnastics, fencing and many other athletics.

Should you decide to attend a two-year college, you may still be eligible for athletic scholarships. The Web site for the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) states that students who attend member schools and play on their sports teams may be eligible for financial assistance.

While athletic talents can certainly open doors for you during the college admissions process, it is important to continue developing your skills in the classroom, in addition to those on the field. After all, college sports require you to maintain good grades in order to play.ADNFCR-16000756-ID-800674024-ADNFCR

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