Covering a wide range of sports, athletic scholarships in the USA offer talented students financial incentives for representing their university at the varsity level.
Did you know?
- Only certain sports have athletic scholarships available
- You must meet the academic requirements of an athletic association to be eligible
- Some universities offer eSports scholarships
University level sports are governed by athletic associations, who set the rules regarding scholarships and athletic recruitment. If a university isn’t a member of an athletic association, it is very unlikely that they have sports scholarships available.
Each athletic association will have its own eligibility criteria for international students. Guides are available on the associations’ websites:
- National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) – the largest association with over 1,000 member institutions, the NCAA distributes the most funding and is highly competitive
- National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) – the NAIA has around 250 member institutions
- National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) – the NJCAA covers two-year community colleges
You will have to register with the correct athletic association as well as applying to the university as a regular student. If you meet the association’s eligibility requirements and are a top athlete, sometimes the university will waive some of their requirements.
US athletic recruitment at the university level is highly competitive. Students in the USA can start the process as young as 14 years old. International students don’t have to begin quite so early but the sooner you start and the more time you put in, the more likely you are to achieve your goal.
You can follow a do-it-yourself route, contacting individual university coaches to inform them of your interest in their sport and to demonstrate your talent. The following resources might help you with this:
Or you can use a fee-paying sports scholarship agency. Others are available, but we have worked with the following in the past:
We encourage you to do your own research and chose the best option for your needs.