Athletic Scholarships and Student Loans

Athletic scholarships and student loans can go hand in hand when a student-athlete is looking for a comprehensive way to pay for college.

A student athlete may be granted an athletic scholarship as long as he or she has been accepted as a full-time matriculated student. Considerations given to a candidate for scholarship are based on outstanding athleticism as well as academic achievement. Such scholarships are available only from Division I and II athletic programs and are not offered in any form for Division III athletes. If a student does not qualify for a full scholarship, he or she is best served by exploring the array of alternative grants and student loans available to make up the difference.

Regrettably, parents and their children are often ill-informed about the actual availability of such coveted awards. In fact, less than 5 percent of all financial aid is awarded as either academic or athletic scholarships. High school coaches can often create unrealistic expectations about the accessibility of an athletic scholarship, and both parents and students can be left feeling cheated. However, there are numerous loans, including government subsidized loans and privately funded plans, that can help to defer the cost for student-athletes not eligible for a scholarship. Depending on the financial dynamic of the family, a loan can be made available to the parent or directly to the student. Given the sheer number of loan options to review, it is advisable to contact the financial aid office of the primary college or university of interest.

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