Partial Athletic Scholarships – A Comprehensive Guide 2023/24


Are you willing to know more about partial athletic scholarships? This guide will aid understanding on opportunities for partial funding in sports programs. 

Learn eligibility criteria, application processes, and how these scholarships can support your athletic journey.

Partial athletic scholarships serve as vital resources for student-athletes seeking financial assistance to pursue higher education while excelling in sports. These scholarships, offering partial funding, aim to support athletes in balancing their academic pursuits with athletic commitments.

Understanding the intricacies of these opportunities, from eligibility requirements to the application process, is essential for aspiring athletes aiming to leverage these scholarships to propel their collegiate sports careers.

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Partial Athletic Scholarships
Partial Athletic Scholarships

Athletic scholarships

Securing an athletic scholarship for college-level competition stands as a pinnacle ambition for numerous student-athletes. Yet, misconceptions abound regarding the mechanics and actual aid received through these offers.

Given the substantial cost of college, comprehending these nuances becomes pivotal in reducing educational expenses. look into our comprehensive guide to athletic scholarships below to gain insights and navigate this crucial aspect of the collegiate journey.

Benefits of the partial athletic scholarships

Athletic partial scholarships offer several advantages for student-athletes:

  1. Financial Support: While not covering the entire cost, partial scholarships significantly alleviate expenses for tuition, books, room, board, and sometimes living expenses.
  2. Roster Spot: A partial scholarship secures a coveted position on the team, allowing student-athletes to actively contribute to collegiate sports.
  3. Playing Opportunity: Student-athletes on partial scholarships often have strong chances to compete for playing time, enhancing their skills and contributing to the team’s success.
  4. Potential Scholarship Elevation: With dedication and performance, student-athletes on partial scholarships may earn increased aid in subsequent seasons, elevating their financial support.
  5. Flexible Aid Stacking: In certain cases, non-athletic scholarships or need-based aid can complement partial athletic scholarships, helping further offset educational costs.


Athletic scholarships contribute towards tuition, fees, course-related books, room, board, and at times, living expenses. The coverage amount varies based on whether the offer extends a full or partial scholarship.


Less than 2 percent of high school student-athletes receive athletic scholarships. However, for NCAA Division I and II alone, this translates to an annual sum exceeding $2.7 billion. It’s crucial to note that the majority of athletic scholarships do not cover full expenses. The scholarship amount offered depends significantly on the sport and whether it falls under head count or equivalency sports categories.


In NCAA Division I and II, remaining sports—termed “equivalency sports”—grant coaches a pool of scholarship funds to allocate among their team. While not covering the entire expenses, a partial scholarship can significantly contribute or minimally offset college costs. For instance, one athlete may receive tuition coverage, while another may solely receive book expenses.

As a response to COVID-19, NCAA D1 Council introduced regulations easing constraints on need-based and non-athletic academic scholarships. Since August 1, 2020, need- and academic-based aid in equivalency sports does not count against the maximum athletic scholarship limit. Previously, additional aid required athletes to meet specific criteria to avoid impacting a team’s athletic scholarship limit.

Although teams maintain a maximum athletic scholarship cap, athletes can stack need-based aid and academic scholarships atop their athletic scholarships. This rule adjustment intends to aid families and athletes affected by the pandemic, especially at costlier private institutions.

While partial scholarships might not fully meet financial needs, NCSA’s Senior Recruiting Manager, David Kmiecik, advises student-athletes on leveraging scholarship offers and exploring supplementary resources to cover college expenses.

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Not all athletic offers guarantee financial rewards; in some cases, the reward solely secures a spot on the team roster. Walk-on opportunities are prevalent in college sports, often more widespread than families and student-athletes anticipate. Amid the recruiting process, comprehending the nuances between various types of walk-ons becomes crucial for informed decisions.


A preferred walk-on invitation ensures a position on the roster, yet it does not include any athletic financial assistance.

What is a preferred walk-on?

Being a preferred walk-on stands as the highest status for a recruit aside from securing an athletic scholarship. While it doesn’t offer athletic aid, preferred walk-ons enter college with a confirmed roster spot, receive uniforms, and hold a strong potential to compete for playing opportunities in their inaugural year.

Can preferred walk-ons transition to receiving a scholarship? Yes, scholarships can become attainable in the subsequent seasons, but this isn’t guaranteed. Typically, they stand at the forefront when scholarship funds become available. 

Some student-athletes opt to decline scholarship offers from smaller schools to join a larger program as preferred walk-ons. However, it’s essential to note that even preferred walk-ons could face the risk of being cut during try-outs or team camps if they fail to meet coach expectations.


In technical terms, preferred walk-ons do not have official documents to sign on Signing Day since they do not receive an athletic scholarship. Nevertheless, walk-ons play a crucial role in team success, and coaches often desire to commemorate their commitment. It’s advisable to inquire with your prospective coach about a ceremonial signing, particularly if your school hosts a Signing Day event. Additionally, don’t forget to showcase your new school pride by sporting its gear.


A recruited walk-on invitation signifies coach interest without financial aid, requiring you to secure a team spot through further tryouts or summer training camp. Despite the absence of financial assistance or an assured team position, certain student-athletes perceive a recruited walk-on offer as an excellent chance to compete at the pinnacle of their sport.

Partial Athletic Scholarships
Partial Athletic Scholarships


Usually, this occurs when a student-athlete secures admission to the school and intends to join the team via an open tryout. Often, a discussion with the college coach takes place before enrollment to confirm the student-athlete’s opportunity to try out for the team.

Various factors warrant consideration with any form of walk-on offer, particularly if the student-athlete has scholarship offers from other schools.

ALSO READ: Scholarship Owl – Navigate the Best Scholarship Opportunities Easily 2023/24

Conclusion on partial athletic scholarships

Partial athletic scholarships stand as invaluable opportunities for student-athletes aiming to pursue higher education while excelling in sports. While these scholarships cover a portion of expenses, they provide financial support, secure a spot on the team, and offer chances for playing time. 

Their flexible nature allows for potential increases and compliments from other aid sources. Ultimately, these partial scholarships serve as stepping stones for athletes to thrive academically and athletically in their collegiate journey.

FAQs on partial athletic scholarships

  1. What is an athletic partial scholarship?

   – An athletic partial scholarship is a financial aid package offered to student-athletes that covers a portion of their college expenses, such as tuition, books, room, board, or other related costs.

  1. How do I qualify for an athletic partial scholarship?

   – Qualifications for these scholarships vary among colleges and sports programs. Generally, outstanding athletic skills, a strong academic record, and a proactive approach in the recruitment process increase your chances.

  1. What costs does a partial athletic scholarship typically cover?

   – Partial scholarships can cover various expenses like tuition fees, books, room and board, and sometimes even living expenses. The specific coverage varies based on the scholarship and the institution.

  1. Can I combine a partial athletic scholarship with other financial aid?

   – Often, partial athletic scholarships can be combined with other forms of financial aid, such as academic scholarships, grants, or need-based aid, to further assist with covering educational expenses.

  1. Do partial athletic scholarships guarantee playing time on the team?

   – While receiving a partial athletic scholarship secures a roster spot, playing time is determined by the coach based on performance, team dynamics, and competition within the team.

  1. Can a partial athletic scholarship be increased in subsequent years?

   – Yes, some partial scholarships may be increased in subsequent years based on performance, academic achievements, or availability of additional funds within the sports program.

  1. Do all sports offer partial athletic scholarships?

   – Not all sports programs or colleges offer partial athletic scholarships. The availability and amount of scholarships may vary depending on the sport and the institution’s policies.

  1. How can I increase my chances of receiving a partial athletic scholarship?

   – Maintain a strong academic record, excel in your sport, actively communicate with college coaches, attend showcases or tournaments, and seek guidance from your high school coaches or counselors.



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