*Scholarships Limit Per Team: This is a maximum limit that the NCAA places on the number of full-ride equivalent scholarships that a team can award. When an NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 tennis programs is fully funded, college coaches have a maximum of 4.5 full-ride equivalent scholarships to award. While it is not impossible to receive a full-ride tennis scholarship, these are generally reserved for international athletes. Division 3 and Ivy League schools do not offer athletic scholarships. Instead, recruits can look to academic scholarships for financial funding.
**Equivalency Scholarship: Equivalency scholarships allow college coaches the flexibility to divide up their scholarship budget however they see fit each year. This means fully funded NCAA Division 1 and 2 programs can take the 4.5 full-ride equivalent scholarships and divide the budget to award a partial scholarship to each athlete on the roster. College coaches can also choose to award larger scholarships to fewer roster holders, which would leave some athletes with no financial funding. Programs that aren’t fully funded have fewer than 4.5 equivalency scholarships.
The NCAA D1 Council adopted legislation that eased regulation regarding need-based aid and academic scholarships that are not tied to athletic ability. Starting August 1, 2020, teams in equivalency sports like men’s tennis will not have any athletes’ need- and academic-based aid count against a team’s maximum athletic scholarship limit. Before this rule change, athletes had to meet certain criteria for their additional aid to not be counted against the athletic scholarship limit.
Tennis 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 can secure. This rule change should allow men’s tennis programs to extend more money to families and athletes that need it—especially at pricier schools with higher tuition.
In 2017, 34.3% of men’s tennis players competing at the NCAA Division 1 level were international athletes. Because collegiate tennis programs heavily recruit internationally, it’s no surprise that some college coaches reserve at least a portion of their scholarships budget for international recruits as an incentive to make the move to the U.S. But the reality is, regardless of whether a recruit is an international or American athlete, college coaches care most about playing level and academic record. College coaches want athletes who can immediately contribute to the team and can balance their athletic career while maintaining a strong academic record. For Division 1 programs, these athletes are often those labeled as Blue Chip players by TennisRecruiting.net.
Want to know how to get a tennis scholarship? The reality is, not every recruit will receive a scholarship, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still make the roster. Below we’ve outlined the four types of offers that college coaches can extend to a recruit.
- Full-ride scholarship offer: Fully funded NCAA men’s tennis programs are already working with a small scholarship budget of 4.5 full-ride equivalent scholarships. That combined with international recruiting and the pressure to provide these athletes with a financial incentive to commit to an American school makes full-ride scholarships for tennis players rare.
- Partial scholarship offer: To make the most of their scholarship budget, college coaches are more likely to award partial scholarships. This allows coaches to provide multiple recruits and current roster spot holders with financial funding to cover some college costs. For example, a fully funded tennis program with 10 athletes could choose to divide its 4.5 scholarships across eight of those athletes.
- Recruited walk-on (preferred): College coaches who lack the athletic scholarship budget to award every recruit with some financial aid, can invite a student-athlete to join the team as a recruited walk-on.
- Unrecruited walk-on: Should college coaches not fill their roster during the recruiting process, they will hold walk-on tryouts. Athletes who are interested in playing for the team can try out for an opportunity to earn a roster spot as a walk-on.
- Division 1 tennis scholarships per team: 4.5
- Total number of D1 men’s tennis teams: 255
- Average team size: 10
Fully funded Division 1 men’s college tennis programs have a maximum limit of 4.5 full-ride scholarships per team. To award aid, college coaches divide up their scholarship budget however they feel is necessary each recruiting season. Tennis programs that are not fully funded are faced with the challenge of dividing up an even smaller scholarship budget across both recruits and current roster holders.
While men’s college tennis scholarships are available at the Division 1 level, international recruits, which made up 34.3% of men’s NCAA Division 1 tennis athletes in 2017, are most likely to receive these top dollar scholarships. Providing financial funding is one of the tools that college coaches use when recruiting international athletes as an incentive to move to the U.S. to continue their education and tennis career. View Division 1 tennis programs.
- Maximum scholarships available per team: 4.5
- Total number of D2 men’s tennis teams: 163
- Average team size: 10
NCAA Division 2 tennis programs are permitted to award a maximum of 4.5 full-ride equivalent scholarships per team. Division 2 tennis programs that are not fully funded face the same funding challenges as those at the Division 1 level, which makes it difficult to provide large Division 2 tennis scholarships to recruits.
- Division 3 tennis scholarships per team: 0
- Total number of D3 men’s tennis teams: 329
- Average team size: 11
NCAA Division 3 tennis programs are unable to offer athletic scholarships. To award recruits with financial funding, these schools award merit-based scholarships to student-athletes that meet the academic standards set in place by the institutions. It is not uncommon for a recruit to receive a Division 3 financial aid package that is larger than the athletic scholarships offered by Division 1 and 2 programs.
- Maximum scholarships available per team: 5
- Total number of NAIA men’s tennis teams: 107
- Average team size: 10
NAIA tennis programs can offer up to five full-ride equivalent scholarships per team, which is a slightly larger budget than NCAA Division 1 and 2 programs are given. Funding for tennis programs varies, which means some teams may have fewer than five NAIA tennis scholarships to offer.
- Maximum scholarships available per team: 9
- Total number of NJCAA men’s tennis teams: 82
- Average team size: 9
Competing at an NJCAA institution provides student-athletes with the best chance of receiving an athletic scholarship. Fully funded NJCAA tennis programs generally have the budget to offer the entire tennis roster with financial funding to cover the cost of attending a junior college. If a recruit is planning to transfer to a four-year NCAA college, they need to keep in mind that the GPA and standardized test score requirement to transfer and tennis scholarships requirements might be stricter.
The NCAA has established a list of eligibility requirements that recruits must meet in order to compete for an NCAA program. These requirements help the NCAA to determine a recruit’s academics and amateurism status.
To be eligible to compete at an NCAA school, recruits must:
- Complete 16 core courses
- Take the SAT/ACT
- Upon completion of these 16 courses, and the NCAA uses a sliding scale to combine your sum score
It’s important to remember that an NLI agreement will become invalid if the athlete fails to meet the NCAA eligibility center requirements upon graduating high school.
While you cannot directly apply for an athletic scholarship, recruits can build an athletic resume that can be shared with college coaches from programs on their target list of schools. Below is a list of steps to building a recruiting profile and getting exposure to college coaches.
- Build an NCSA Recruiting Profile: An NCSA Recruiting Profile increases a student-athlete’s exposure to college coaches as they search recruiting databases to build their list of potential recruits. Important stats and recruiting video live on this profile.
- Create a recruiting video: A first step many college coaches take during the evaluation process is to watch recruiting video. Create a strong recruiting video that highlights the recruit’s athletic talent with this list of recruiting video tips by position.
- Attend tennis camps: Want access to college coaches during the recruiting process? Consider attending tennis camps across the country to increase exposure and access to college coaches.
- Contact college coaches: College coaches may not be able to contact recruits until after June 15 of the athlete’s sophomore year, but recruits can still let them know they are interested in competing for their program by sending an introductory email. Learn how to write an introductory email.
Finding the right college fit with the greatest opportunity for an athletic scholarship can be tricky. To help recruits narrow the search, we’ve identified the best colleges for tennis at each NCAA division level and the NAIA. NCSA Power Rankings provide a list of the top schools that offer men’s tennis based on academics, cost, graduation rates and more.
- Top D1 men's tennis schools: Princeton University, Harvard University, Stanford University, UCLA, Yale University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of California, Duke University, University of Florida
- Top D2 men's tennis schools: University of California – San Diego, Bentley University, Truman State University, Rollins University, Point Loma Nazarene University, Bellarmine University, Hillsdale College, Grand Valley State University, Augustana University – South Dakota, Assumption College
- Top D3 men's tennis schools: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Amherst College, California Institute of Technology, Pomona-Pitzer Colleges, Johns Hopkins University, Emory University, Swarthmore College, University of Chicago, Tufts University, Carnegie Mellon University
- Top NAIA men's tennis schools: Asbury University, Taylor University, Loyola University New Orleans, Indiana Wesleyan University, University of North Georgia, Bethel University – Indiana, Westmont College, John Brown University, Concordia University – Nebraska, Olivet Nazarene University