Men’s college lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in the country. In 2019, Division 3 lacrosse added 16 new programs, Division 2 added five new programs and the remaining divisions added three programs each. This growth in popularity has led to an increase in roster size over the years, which has a significant impact on student-athletes’ scholarship chances. This section takes a look at the most commonly asked questions about men’s lacrosse college scholarships, including how many lacrosse scholarships are given each year, how to get a men’s lacrosse scholarship and more.
|Division Level||Number of Teams||Total Athletes||Average Team Size||Scholarships Limits Per Team*||Scholarship Type**|
*Scholarship limits per team: This number represents the maximum number of scholarships a program is allowed to award each year. Because not all programs are fully funded, the true number of lacrosse scholarships available varies from college to college. As a result, very few lacrosse programs award full rides, as college coaches typically divide their scholarship money amongst multiple athletes. Ivy League schools do not award athletic scholarships but provide financial aid through academic scholarships.
**Equivalency scholarship: Lacrosse is an equivalency sport, which means each program is given a pool of scholarship money, depending on funds available, to divide up and award recruits and current roster players. For example, a lacrosse coach could divide the equivalent of 12.6 scholarships in any portion among 44 athletes on a team. As a result, full-ride scholarships are very hard to come by and student-athletes who do receive a scholarship are most likely to receive partial funding.
The NCAA D1 Council adopted legislation that loosened regulation regarding need-based aid and academic scholarships that are not tied to athletic ability. Beginning August 1, 2020, lacrosse teams will not have any athletes’ need- and academic-based aid count against the maximum athletic scholarship limit. Prior to this ruling, athletes had to meet certain criteria for their additional aid to not be counted against a team’s athletic scholarship limit.
Lacrosse teams will still have a maximum athletic scholarship cap, but student-athletes can seek to add as much need-based aid and academic scholarships as they qualify for. With school and family budgets being impacted by the coronavirus, this rule change should allow lacrosse programs that have the funds to extend more money to families and athletes that need it—especially at pricier private colleges.
When awarding lacrosse scholarships, coaches typically prioritize goalies, followed by their top recruiting interest on down.
There are roughly 15,200 men’s college lacrosse players across 440 programs from NCAA D1 to the NJCAA. If we break that number down into the two NCAA divisions with athletic scholarships, it comes out to 5,786 players competing for roughly 1,578 NCAA lacrosse scholarships. The high volume of players paired with the limited number of scholarships makes for fierce competition. Student-athletes looking to get a lacrosse scholarship should be diligent in building relationships with college coaches and finding opportunities to showcase their athletic talents.
It’s important to note that the numbers above are not directly indicative of how many scholarships are available each year. These numbers represent the maximum scholarships allowed per program at each division level, but the reality is that many programs are not fully funded and don’t offer the maximum number of scholarships. Lacrosse is also an equivalency sport, which means scholarship money is awarded according to the coach’s preference.
There is no way to truly know how much scholarship money men’s lacrosse players receive. Every college is different in terms of funding and how a college program uses scholarship money. Because lacrosse is an equivalency sport, college coaches are free to divide the pool of scholarship money in the way that best suits their needs each year. For example, the coach could divide up the scholarship money evenly amongst the entire roster to ensure each athlete has some financial aid.
Because full-rides in lacrosse are very uncommon, student-athletes will need to rely on more than just athletic scholarship money to cover costs. To maximize financial aid opportunities, student-athletes will need to do well in school, maintain a high GPA and explore other forms of financial aid, such as grants.
The NCAA offers full-ride scholarships to only six college sports, unfortunately, men’s lacrosse is not one of them. While Division 1 men’s college lacrosse awards the most scholarships, college lacrosse players will frequently need to pay for some of their college costs. That is why it is important you understand all forms of financial aid available to you.
Like NCAA Division 1, NCAA Division 2 programs utilize the partial-scholarship model, or “equivalency system”, to recognize student-athletes for their athletic talents. Partial scholarships can cover tuition, room and board, books and other fees. To cover the rest of their college expenses, student-athletes can use academic scholarships, apply for student loans and use job earnings.
Divisions 3 schools may not offer athletic scholarships, but 82 percent of all Division 3 student-athletes receive some form of financial aid through academic scholarship, grants and other forms of aid. In some cases, Division 3 schools are able to offer better aid packages than Division 1 and 2 schools. This is a great option for athletes who are strong academically and rely on scholarship money to finance college costs.
The NAIA does not set scholarship limits per team. That said, based on our experts’ feedback and communication with the NAIA, it is safe to assume the scholarship opportunities are similar to the NCAA level. Each team is going to be different in terms of the number of scholarships they have and how that coach divides them up.
Student-athletes have the opportunity to receive a full scholarship at a junior college. The NJCAA offers 28 men’s lacrosse programs a maximum of 20 full-ride scholarships per team. Coaches are free to divide up the 20 scholarships however they like, which means partial scholarships can be given to athletes. Student-athletes who plan to transfer to a four-year NCAA college should keep in mind that the GPA and standardized test score requirement to transfer might be stricter.
Below is a list of the best colleges for lacrosse scholarships across all three NCAA divisions. Student-athletes looking to play at these top programs should research athletes on the current roster to learn at what level they played in high school and determine where these coaches look for recruits.
NCAA DI: North Carolina, Virginia, Duke, Michigan, Maryland, John Hopkins, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Georgetown, Colgate
NCAA DII: Bentley, Rockhurst, Le Moyne, Rollins, Molloy, Tampa, Florida Southern, Wingate, Assumption, Indianapolis
NCAA DIII: Amherst, Tufts, Williams, Wesleyan, MIT, Washington & Lee, Middlebury, Franklin & Marshall, Haverford, Swarthmore
Lacrosse is an “equivalency sport”, which means coaches can divide a scholarship among multiple athletes. While not impossible, full ride college lacrosse scholarships are very rare. The most common way an athlete can get a “full-ride” is by combining a partial athletic scholarship with an academic scholarship. In order to be allowed to do that, you need to meet certain academic requirements with the NCAA.