Not all scholarships are created equal. A full-ride scholarship will cover all of your tuition, fees, and room and board, while partial athletic scholarships will only cover part of the total cost of attending school. While a partial ride is still an amazing accomplishment and a significant amount of money, you are going to need to come up with the funds to make up the difference. Here are five primary ways that you can help to bridge the gap:
EXISTING COLLEGE FUNDS: If you have planned ahead and saved for college not knowing if you would be awarded an athletic scholarship, now is the time to dig into these funds. Combining your existing college funds with what the school offers you for an athletic scholarship will often be enough to pay for your entire education.
GRANTS: Grants are monetary gifts that are not designed to be repaid. This type of aid can come from a variety of sources, including the government, your college, trusts, or corporations. The school's endowment fund is a good place to start your search for a grant that fits your monetary needs. Because grants do not have to be repaid, it is basically free money. There are limited amounts of grant money available to qualified students, so be sure to start your search early
LOANS: The majority of student-athletes are eligible to apply for federal student loans. A federal loan usually has a lower interest rate than a private loan and does not require that the student submit a credit report. Private loans are also an option if you can secure favorable terms.
WORK-STUDY FUNDS: Federal work-study programs help college students earn money to pay for their educational expenses. Not only is this an ideal way to earn extra money, but it also looks great on your resume. There is a myriad of jobs for work-study funds available, both on campus and off.
ACADEMIC SCHOLARSHIPS: An academic award can be combined with athletic scholarships to help you to arrive at the total cost of attending college. Like everything with the NCAA, there are rules in place to make sure that this policy is not abused. If you believe that your grades have put you in the position to receive this type of aid, be sure to run the numbers by your school compliance officers.
It should be noted that college student-athletes need to be extra cautious about where they acquire the additional funds needed for their college experience. You need to be careful that you do not accept unauthorized funding that will get you into trouble with the NCAA or your university's own compliance department. Be sure to run any ideas by your compliance officer to make sure that what you are doing to earn extra money is legal and endorsed by the NCAA.