The most gratifying aspect of the student-athlete experience is a college education. Tuition and fees, lodging and board, and course-related publications are all covered by full scholarships. Most student-athletes who get sports scholarships receive a portion of these fees covered. The remaining expenses must be paid for out of pocket.
In other words, student-athletes do not pay anything to attend their school.
Almost all schools that offer football, men's basketball, and some women's programs provide scholarships. Some schools with smaller athletic budgets may only be able to offer partial scholarships. Regardless of the level of funding, most athletes will receive some form of financial aid. It may be called something different at each school (such as a grant-in-aid), but it is still money saved up from other sources that is used to cover the cost of attendance.
Only a few high-profile cases have come to light in which colleges or universities did not fulfill their end of the bargain with their athletes. In many cases, those who have found themselves without a job or career after graduation have been unable to find other employment due to bad grades or criminal records. In other cases, students have had health issues that have prevented them from continuing their educations.
However, there are ways for an athlete to ensure they are receiving the full value of their scholarship.
Academic scholarships, NCAA financial assistance programs such as the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Opportunity Fund, and need-based help such as Federal Pell Grants are also available to many student-athletes.
In addition to receiving attention from coaches and teachers, many student-athletes gain other benefits by participating in athletics. They may make friends who share their passion for sport, become leaders on their teams, have positive experiences that change their lives for the better, and more.
The benefits of student-athlete experience vary for each person. However, many students say they benefit in ways such as making new friends, gaining confidence, learning leadership skills, and experiencing success beyond winning or losing games.
Some schools provide full tuition waivers for all athletes, while others limit this benefit to certain positions on campus or at the professional level. Some universities cover room and board while others require athletes to pay their own way. The amount of funding provided to student-athletes varies significantly from school to school and team to team.
In conclusion, student-athletes benefit in many ways when they participate in athletic activities. They make new friends, gain confidence, learn leadership skills, and experience success beyond winning or losing games.
Coaches often select who obtains a scholarship, the size of the award, and whether it will be renewed.
The amount of the scholarship can vary significantly, from $0 to $100,000 or more for men's athletes and $0 to $20,000 or more for women's athletes. The number one reason that men's basketball players do not receive any form of financial assistance is because they choose to work after graduation to pay off debt or save up for the future.
Women's soccer players tend to make the most out of their opportunities by receiving partial payments for training and competition expenses as well as awards for individual performance. These grants are often called "assists" and can range from $500 to $20,000 or more.
Athletes who play Division I football or basketball can apply for tuition waivers that cover about 30 percent of tuition costs. These funds are usually given to students who demonstrate academic excellence and community service.
Students who play at the highest level of college baseball and softball can receive an allowance for equipment needs.
Coaches sometimes give athletes gifts such as free t-shirts, tickets, or field passes in return for good grades or behavior.