The first numbers you will need to know about is the cost of college. Currently the average family pays $125,000 for four years of college. Within the next 5-10 years it is expected to jump up to $200,000. The financial burden can end up with the family or on the individual – paying it off for many years or decades into the future. There are ways out there to help reduce costs though, including scholarships, grants and government funding, financial aid. Some families set up tax-sheltered college funds when children are young, that can only be spent on education expenses. If you are a player, the first step might be to talk to your family and find out what (if anything) they are going to contribute, and what is realistic for you (or your financial institution or government loan) to be paying.
With over 100,000 high school senior athletes getting ready to graduate every year, there are a lot of people competing for the same awards. There are over 18,000 student athletes, and around 5,000 spots available for you as college seniors graduate and free them up. The majority of these players don’t have athletic scholarships though, so if you need that aid your numbers just reduced further. The balance is not even between men’s and women’s programs either. There are 997 Men’s soccer programs and 1194 Women’s programs. This includes Division 1 through NAIA. There are even more Junior College programs as well.
Within these programs is an allotted amount of funding for scholarships: Division I programs have 9.9 scholarships for men’s soccer and 14 for Women’s soccer, Division II has 9 and 9.9 respectively with Division III not having any athletic scholarships. NAIA schools can have up to 12 scholarships for both. Keep in mind that many programs will choose not to fully fund though, which means they actually have less than the maximum number of scholarships available.
Scholarships can often be divided up between players too, so instead of one player getting 100% of one, two could get half each and so on. With rosters of over 25 players for training and travel, the programs are very rarely going to spend a full scholarship on one player. Here is a scenario to help you see the numbers better. Imagine College A has a 30 man roster with 8 seniors, 9 juniors, 8 sophomores, and 6 freshmen. Out of these players you would assume the seniors have maybe 50% to 75% of a scholarship dropping the 9.9 count down to 6 remaining. Maybe two juniors are getting 50% and the remaining 7 getting about 30% dropping the numbers to 3 scholarships remaining. One stand-out sophomore is getting 50% and the remaining 7 are getting 25% leaving the numbers at less then 1 full scholarship to divide amongst the 6 freshman. Those freshmen would have to be standouts as well.
A College Athletic Scholarship is something that is attainable, but in reality, coming out of high school only 3% of HS football players receive a scholarship to play in college, only 1.5% of HS basketball players receive scholarships to play, and the percentages are even less for soccer players.
So which division is more likely to give you scholarship funding? We will discuss the reality of What DI, DII, DIII and all that means in one of the other sections.