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Making College Affordable: Athletic Scholarships Aren’t the Only Way

Choosing a college is potentially a huge life decision. Yet, there’s so much uncertainty behind it. You may be the getting recruited to play sports in college, but how much can the coach actually help you? You may get some scholarship money this way, but is it enough to cover everything? Are you sure you want to roll the dice by leaving it all up to your ability to play sports?
Many athletes understand that the full athletic scholarship is very rare and statistically improbable. Does that mean you’ll have to pay for the rest of the tuition out of your own pocket? Fortunately, the answer is no.
Financial aid typically comes from four main sources:
  • college
  • student loans
  • government grants
  • scholarship organizations


College scholarships can be broken down further into two categories: need-based and merit-based. Merit-based scholarships are awarded to applicants with high academic standing. Need-based scholarships, however, are based on how much financial aid you’ll need to attend college. This is why they make you send in all those documents and profiles that disclose your financial information.
Each college approaches scholarships differently, so be sure to check their financial aid page on their website or their financial aid packet for their policies.

Student Loans

Student loans typically come from a bank or institution. While it certainly is an option, use this as a last resort once you have all your other options on the table. Scholarships and grants are free. Student loans accrue interest and need to be paid off.

Government Grants

As a United States citizen, you are also eligible to receive financial aid from the government. This comes in the form of grants and is another viable option for financial aid. It probably won’t cover all of your tuition, but it’s usually a decent chunk of change.

Scholarship Organizations

This is where things get very interesting. If you play your cards right, this could be your ticket into college, and you could earn yourself a full ride. Applying to these scholarships can be time consuming as some scholarships only give a few thousand dollars at a time, which means that you’ll have to apply to several scholarships. However, free money that comes in the four figures range is always nice. There are stories of people getting over $100,000 worth of scholarships by applying to every single scholarship they could qualify for.

Sample Financial Aid Package
Here’s a sample financial aid package that was shared on College Wrestling Recruiting:
Total cost for the first year
Financial Aid
Institutional Scholarship (need based and merit based)
Honors program merit scholarship
Work study (doesn’t include the money that was actually made from working on campus)
Total in Financial Aid
Remaining amount to pay

Additional Notes
Not bad, right? $6,200 is far more affordable than $52,000. Here are a few additional notes about this financial aid package.
This particular student athlete enrolled at an NCAA Division III school, where athletic scholarships are not allowed to be given (but the majority of student athletes are on other forms of financial aid).
No student loans were taken out, so this particular student graduated debt-free.
The package didn’t include government grants as the recipient was not a US citizen. This would have shaved off an additional several thousand dollars.
The student athlete did not apply to any external scholarship organizations either. This was simply because he had no idea that they existed.
You Can Do It Too
Such an option might be difficult to achieve (that’s a lot of need based and merit based financial aid), but it’s definitely possible! As you can see, this particular financial aid package still left some money on the table (external scholarships, government grants, and student loans if need be).
Full athletic scholarships might be the most straightforward financial aid package, but you’ve got plenty of other options on the table. If you don’t receive a full athletic scholarship, don’t count yourself out of the game just yet! You may still be able to more or less get the equivalent of a full ride to your school through other options.
How are you planning to pay for college?

CoachUp is the safest and easiest way to find a coach for personalized training. With our 100% money-back guarantee and vetted coaches, anyone can achieve their full athletic potential. Find your perfect coach today and become the athlete you want to be!

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