Comparing Different Types of Scholarship offers
Receiving a college scholarship offer is an exciting time during a student-athlete’s recruiting process! But not all scholarships are created equally as there are many different types of scholarship offers an athlete can receive. Most scholarship offers are one-year agreements. Since the National Letter of Intent (NLI) is a legal binding contract between an athlete and the school, it’s important that you and your family fully understand the agreement and type of offer. Let’s take a quick look at the most common scholarship offers a student-athlete may receive from colleges.
- FULL-RIDE. A full-ride athletic scholarship covers the major costs of attending college like tuition, room and board, books and some course fees. Full ride offers are only available to the six head count sports: football, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s gymnastics, tennis and volleyball.
- PARTIAL. The remaining NCAA Division 1 and 2 sports are known as equivalency sports, meaning coaches have a pool of scholarship money that they can divide up amongst their team. A partial offer can cover a significant portion of college costs or very little. For example, one student-athlete on a team is offered a scholarship that covers tuition, while another teammate may only get offered a scholarship that covers the cost of books
- WALK-ONS. Sometimes, the offer is simply a spot on the roster. A walk-on offer means the coach would like you on the team but cannot (or won’t) offer any financial assistance. Walk-ons can earn a monetary scholarship going into future seasons, but nothing is guaranteed.
Scholarship amounts differ greatly from division to sport to school. While most athletes hope to receive a full-ride scholarship, the reality is only one percent of student-athletes receive one. The majority will be offered a scholarship that covers a percentage of the total cost of college. Depending on the overall cost of the school, the largest scholarship offer might not ultimately be the cheapest–or best–option. Examine your offer, consider the cost of attendance and what the cost will be after the scholarship offer is applied to help you and your family make an informed decision. Lastly, remember that offers are only good for one year so it’s important to plan for the possibility that the scholarship may not be renewed. However, there’s also the chance that the amount could increase!
If you’re thinking about competing at the college level, take the next step in your recruiting and create your free NCSA recruiting profile so college coaches can easily find your information online. You’ll also unlock access to NCSA’s digital tools and recruiting education resources to help guide you throughout your recruiting journey!