Scholarship Money for A Division III Athlete

Division III Scholarships

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Yes you did read that right— as an athlete you can make money at NCAA Division III colleges and universities.  I know what you are thinking- this is not what I have been saying in all of my previous posts.  Division III schools don’t give athletic scholarships out right?  That is still true.

Many Division III colleges do give money to student athletes.  They do it the same way they offer money to ALL of their students, athletes and non-athletes included, through a student’s academic achievement and academic scholarships.

While many colleges and universities will base their financial aid strictly on a needs basis, others will give students academic scholarships based on their previous academic achievement.  This can include some combination of their GPA, high school rank and/or standardized test score (SAT/ACT).  This can amount to SIGNIFICANT money!

Below I looked at three NCAA Division III soccer institutions (Whitworth, Otterbein and Messiah), and the various criteria they use to calculate academic scholarships that students can receive.  For these institutions, these are four year, guaranteed academic scholarships provided you remain in good academic standing.  And if you stop playing soccer, that’s OK, the scholarship won’t go away— this is Division III.

This info came right from their websites, so you can do the same yourself!

Messiah- Grantham, PA-

SAT score(2 tests) Class Rank Award Est Tuition + R & B % of Tuition + R & B
1000 Top 70% $8500 32,000 26.6%
1250 70 $9500 32000 29.7%
1448 70 $10500 32000 32.8%

Otterbein- Westerville, OH-

SAT score(2 tests) Weighted GPA + Class Rank Award Est Tuition + R & B % of Tuition + R & B
1030 3.15Top 40% $10000 36300 27.5%
1070 3.5Top 25% $11000 36300 30.6%
1150 3.75Top 15% $12000 36300 33.0%
1260 4.0Top 5% $13000 36300 35.8%

Whitworth- Spokane, WA-

SAT score (3 tests) HS GPA Award Est Tuition + R & B % of Tuition + R & B
1720 3.5 $9000 38654 23.3%
1800 3.6 $11000 38654 28.4%
1870 3.75 $14000 38654 36.2%
2020 3.75 $16000 38654 41.4%

As you can see, there is some significant money available.  It goes without saying, but the stronger you are academically, the more money you will receive.  In the case of Whitworth, approximately 41.4% of your education will be paid.  For the best of the best, schools will offer complete scholarships and pay for everything—these are usually limited to only a few individual students for a given class.

The point is that you want to make sure that you take care of the academic side of the house and not just focus on athletics.  If you look at Whitworth, if you can bring your SAT score up 80 points (over 3 tests) and your GPA up 0.1 points, it is worth $2,000. Or $8,000 over four years!

Now normally we don’t talk Division I and II, but I do want to take a minute to discuss how your grades and test scores affect there too.  If you are trying to get into Penn or Princeton, you are definitely going to need strong academics.  But how do strong academics make you more attractive to those coaches?  Basically the same way.

Many of those schools follow similar formulas for academic scholarships (provided they offer them), so if you are a student athlete and you can get an academic scholarship for 30-40% of the cost of tuition, room and board, then that coach only has to use 60-70% of an athletic scholarship for you.  They can take the rest of that money and give it to another student athlete.

For example, NCAA Division II Philadelphia University (Tuition + R & B = $36,950), offers academic scholarships ranging from $2,500 to $13,000 (  If right off the bat you are getting $13,000 in academic money, then the soccer coach only has to work with a student athlete to make up $26,950—if they offer a half-scholarship at $18,000— the student athlete is left with coming up with $8,950 per year which is a much more manageable number.

The bottom line—academics pay off!  Compare what you are paying for soccer registration fees, tourney fees, travel, hotels, etc. to what you might be spending on academic or SAT tutors. It might make sense to skip a tourney and go to an SAT prep class.