Updated: Mar 12, 2021
Thanks to research from Ohio University we are able to share relevant information with our students and parents regarding college athletic scholarships.
High school athletes often dream of nabbing a full athletic scholarship to the college of their choice. Unfortunately, hard data highlights that it’s quite difficult for a student-athlete to achieve a full athletic scholarship.
Division I – 346 Colleges and Universities – 56% of the student-athletes receive athletic aid and spend a lot of time on the field. For some sports up to 40 hours a week
Division II – 307 Colleges and Universities – 61% of the student-athletes receive athletic aid
The average athletic scholarship award is $10,400 and drops to $8,700 when eliminating football and basketball
Division III – 439 Colleges and Universities – 82% of the student-athletes receive academic grants
Why Choosing Division III Schools is a Good Option
Student-athletes who attend D-III schools are not as focused on sports as students who pursue their education at D-I and D-II schools. Many student-athletes who compete under the D-III banner do so because they love the sport and relish the competition. The prestige of playing for major D-I and D-II colleges and universities may not be present, but student-athletes still enjoy an exciting learning environment where they can pursue higher education while participating in the sport in which they excel. D-III schools host a wide number of sports, including the more popular ones such as basketball, baseball, volleyball and football, and less popular sports such as bowling, water polo, rowing, and ice hockey.
Benefits of Playing for Division III Schools
Division III is like the youngest sibling in the NCAA and yet, it has become the largest college sports division. It currently has the most number of institutions and student-athletes under its wing. In spite of these figures, Division III schools are viewed as the institutions where student-athletes who failed to make the senior high school varsity team enroll. The truth is that students who go to Division III colleges may have different priorities and access to opportunities. Due to less pressure in upping their sports performance to keep a scholarship, D-III student-athletes can focus on both academics and their preferred sport, while interacting with other students in a community-like environment.
The main difference between Division III colleges and universities and DI/DII programs is that they do not grant athletic scholarships. Students who enroll in these schools need to build their credentials based on other forms of merit and not just in sports. Although sports-based financial aid is not available, students can expect to receive financial aid to cover their education costs via needs-based assistance and leadership grants. As such, student-athletes with very good showing in academics and have other key accomplishments can still expect excellent financial support from these schools.
D-III schools are considered the lowest level in terms of competition but many D-II level and even D-I level athletes are enrolled here. Although some student-athletes prefer D-III schools for the academics, many also consider the overall aid package these schools offer to be better. In fact, some D-III schools offer academics-based merit awards and other accomplishment-based aid that could reduce tuition costs by as much as 100%. In all, D-III schools offer both financial and academic awards that many student-athletes prefer.
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