The cost of college has risen more than 1200% in the last few decades and students are graduating with more debt than ever (over $26,000 on average). And not every athletic scholarship covers the full cost of attending college. In equivalency sports, coaches may split one full ride scholarship between multiple athletes. Some divisions are limited in how they can give out aid. Even top-tier Division I athletes have to worry about the cost of books, food, gas, and other day-to-day expenses.
So how can you fill in those gaps, save parents’ checkbooks, and keep students out of debt after they graduate? Here are 4 steps every athlete can take to make sure they get all the financial aid they can.
If you want to earn any kind of financial aid, you’ll need to qualify for it. That means:
- Earning a solid GPA and standardized test scores (you’ll need these to qualify to play sports, too – make sure to review the NCAA qualifying standards)
- Acting with integrity. Many students and athletes have lost a scholarships (or even admission) because of something dumb they did on their own time. The rise of social media means it’s easier than ever for what you do to become public
- Finding aid opportunities – there are lots of websites (like scholarships.com) where you can sort through scholarships, grants, and other aid. You can also ask your high school guidance counselors and the financial aid offices of any colleges where you are applying
Find the right school
Some schools cost a lot more than others – but the education (and the quality of the sports programs) don’t always match up. Overall, public schools tend to cost less than private schools, especially if you can pay in-state tuition. But many private schools offer generous financial aid packages – and remember that there’s a lot more to consider when picking a college than just financial aid and scholarships.
The focus here is on the ways athletes can supplement their sports scholarships, but athletic scholarships are our passion and I couldn’t help but mention them. Building a recruiting profile, connecting with coaches, taking official visits, and negotiating scholarship offers are all key to earning an athletic scholarship. Check here to see how many scholarship opportunities and programs exist for each sport.
Even the most committed college athletes can often use some extra scholarship dollars, and some schools (like Division III institutions or the Ivy League) do not technically offer athletic scholarships at all – instead, athletes rely on leadership, academic, community service, and other scholarships. Coaches can often help athletes find these opportunities through the financial aid office.
Be sure to check for other scholarships, too, including those that aren’t so obvious – many religious and ethnic associations offer scholarships, as do community service groups like the Boy Scouts and Rotary Club. Some colleges even have scholarships for people with a certain last name.
An sports scholarship can be at the heart of an athlete’s strategy to pay for college. But by being smart and exploring other opportunities, you can supplement that scholarship and bring your costs even lower. Combining the respect that employers have for college athletes with a low student debt load, you can be in a great professional and financial position the day you put on that cap and gown and get out into the real world.
Check out the article written by MSNBC which discusses how even though tuition rates are increasing they are not increasing by as much, however students and their families are paying more because scholarships and grants are not increasing with tuition, and some scholarships have even dried up.
Call a collegiate scout at 866-495-7727 to discuss how NCSA Athletic Recruiting can help you get started connecting with college coaches and click here now to get started on your free athletic profile!
Rising Tuition Costs Slow For The First Time In Decades
By Michele Richinick
Tuition at state colleges continues to rise, but the country experienced the lowest increase this academic year for the first time in almost 40 years.
In-state tuition cost about $8,900 for the 2013-2014 academic year, a 2.9% increase since the previous decade when it was 8%, according to the College Board’s 30th annual Trends in Student Aid report published Wednesday. That is the smallest one-year rise since 1975.
In addition, tuition at private universities this year rose 3.8% to an average of $30,100, a slightly lower rate than the increases in recent years, the report found.
“Any increase is not good news, but it shows people are working hard, and public and private institutions are facing increased costs themselves,” Kathleen Payea, a policy analyst for College Board, told msnbc.
But, while rising costs for a college education have slowed, students and their families pay more of their own money because grants are not rising at the same rate as tuition–and it’s not cheap. These out-of-pocket payments declined about seven years ago because of increased tax credits and Federal Pell Grants.
But Pell Grant funds are driven by student recipients. For example, the number of students enrolling in financial aid has declined in previous years, which means fewer individuals receive the grants, Payea said.
“All of these things together should be positive news for families that costs are being contained and universities and private employers and states are working hard to both provide grants to students as well as to do everything they can to contain those price increases,” she said.
The key is to “lift the covers and see what the real story is behind the numbers” whenever a report is published, said Harrison Wadsworth, executive director of the Coalition of Higher Education Assistance Organizations.
“We still need a robust financial aid system to help most families pay for college, though, and that is going to be important to make sure there are grants and loan dollars available because college is still a great investment for the vast majority of people,” Wadsworth told msnbc.
The average combined annual cost of tuition, fees, and room and board at the public and private level rose by 101% and 137% respectively over the last 50 years. Sending a child to a public university between 1950 and 1970 cost a family 4% of the household income. The number nearly tripled to 11% in 2010.
About 60% of students who earned a bachelor’s degree in 2012 from the first public or private nonprofit college in which they enrolled graduated with debt. The average debt was $26,500.
President Obama signed the bipartisan student loan bill into law earlier this year in August. As a result, the interest rate rested at 3.86% for undergraduate student loans and 5.41% for graduate loans. Without the legislation, rates could have increased from 3.4% to 6.8%.
The legislation was initially held up as Republicans didn’t want to spend anymore money to keep rates low and a number of Democrats wanted better guarantees that rates wouldn’t go up again.
From 2002 to 2013, the total number of federal undergraduate and graduate student loan borrowers increased by 69%.
The slowed increase could be a trend that continues into the future because consumers will react to high prices and put pressure on institutions to resist raising their enrollment prices, Wadsworth said.
“We have been reading and thinking that college costs are spiraling out of control,” Payea said. “What this means is that everyone is focused on what is happening to students and everyone is being really careful to be sure that it is not spiraling.”