Can Division 2 Colleges Give Athletic Scholarships


Receiving an athletic scholarship to compete at the college level is the ultimate goal for many student-athletes. However, there are plenty of misconceptions about how scholarship offers work and how much aid student-athletes receive.

College isn’t cheap, so understanding the details of this part of the process is important if you’re looking to lessen your college costs. Check out our complete guide to athletic scholarships below.

Can Division 2 Colleges Give Athletic Scholarships

Indeed, Division 2 universities in the US can offer athletic Scholarships. Division 2 schools are permitted to give athletic Scholarships, however, the number of Scholarships and how much monetary guidance might shift contrasted with Division 1 organizations. NCAA (Public University Athletic Affiliation) Division 2 schools are focused on giving a balanced school insight, adjusting scholastics, sports, and extracurricular exercises.

Understudy competitors considering Division 2 universities for athletic Scholarships ought to know that these foundations frequently have an emphasis on the general improvement of the understudy, both scholastically and physically. While athletic grants are accessible, Division 2 universities might not have as many full-ride grants as Division 1 schools.

Likewise, with any university athletic pursuit, it’s significant for understudy competitors to explore and discuss straightforwardly with the mentors of the particular Division 2 projects they are keen on. Mentors can give nitty gritty data about accessible grants, qualification models, and the general athletic enlistment process at their foundation.

Who gives out athletic scholarships?

Athletic scholarships are offered at the NCAA D1 and D2 levels, as well as at the NAIA and NJCAA levels—combined, that’s thousands of schools.

How much scholarship money can you get?

Fewer than 2 per cent of high school student-athletes are offered athletic scholarships, but it adds up to over $2.7 billion annually for D1 and D2 alone, so there’s certainly money out there. However, it’s important to understand that most athletic scholarships are not full rides. The amount you’re offered has a lot to do with your sport and whether it is a head count or equivalency sport.

  • Head count sports are always full rides. But they only include revenue sports for men, that’s D1 basketball and D1-A football; for women, it’s D1 basketball, tennis, volleyball, and gymnastics.
  • Equivalency sports usually hand out partial scholarships. It’s up to the coach to divide their scholarship money among athletes. That could mean they offer a full ride to one extremely high-level recruit (although that is rare), or it could mean they spread the money out among multiple athletes, which is much more common.

Equivalency sports for D1 men include baseball, rifle, skiing, cross-country, track and field, soccer, fencing, swimming, golf, tennis, gymnastics, volleyball, ice hockey, water polo, lacrosse, and wrestling. For D1 women, equivalency sports include bowling, lacrosse, rowing, cross-country, track and field, skiing, fencing, soccer, field hockey, softball, golf, swimming, ice hockey, and water polo. All D2 and NAIA sports are equivalency sports.

How do you get A full-ride athletic scholarship?

Most student-athletes do not receive a full-ride scholarship—in fact, only 1 per cent do. Still, full-ride scholarships as the goal for many athletes, as they typically cover tuition and fees, books, room and board, supplies, and sometimes even living expenses.

If you receive a scholarship for a D1 headcount sport, you’re guaranteed a full ride. But there are only six headcount sports. If you play an equivalency sport, you can increase your chances of getting more scholarship money. For example, if you fill a specific and important role on the team—such as a baseball or softball pitcher—you’re more likely to receive a larger offer. You can also use the leverage of multiple recruiting offers to get coaches to increase the amount they are willing to give you. Sometimes, just moving down a division level will get you more money. A lower-level recruit for D1 might receive a larger scholarship at the D2 level.

Do you have to get a scholarship to compete in college sports?

Typically, there are more spots available on a team than coaches have scholarships to offer. So, not getting a scholarship doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. Student-athletes can walk onto a team, which means trying out without receiving a scholarship. Sometimes, athletes are asked to walk on, in which case they are called “preferred walk-ons.” You may also walk onto a team without a scholarship one year and be given a scholarship the next year, depending on your perceived value.

How do you know if you are eligible for an athletic scholarship?

To receive a scholarship to an NCAA D1 or D2 program, student-athletes must meet certain eligibility requirements. They require you to meet a minimum academic standard and be considered an amateur athlete. However, just because you meet the minimum requirements for the school you want to play at doesn’t mean you will receive a scholarship. Your chances for an offer increase the better your academics are.

What happens if you get a verbal scholarship offer?

A coach may decide to extend a verbal scholarship offer at various points in the recruiting process. However, these offers are non-binding; they are unofficial verbal contracts between a coach and athlete. Nothing is set in stone until the student-athlete signs their national letter of intent.

Your student-athlete can verbally commit to an offer at any point. Keep in mind, though, that committing too early can put your student-athlete at a disadvantage if they change their mind about a program later. If they do receive an offer, they should, first of all, thank the coach. If the student-athlete decides to accept the offer, this is considered a verbal agreement and is also non-binding. It is also acceptable to ask for more time in making the decision. The benefit of giving a verbal commitment is that it simplifies your recruiting process. It sends a message to other coaches that the student-athlete has decided so they can stop pursuing them.

Insider tip: Although not official, student-athletes should take verbal commitments seriously. Breaking them can sour coaches’ opinions on the recruit.

Learn more about verbal commitments.

Can an athletic scholarship be taken away?

Losing an athletic scholarship is an unfortunate reality for some college student-athletes. There are a few different situations in which this might occur:

  • Most commonly, the student-athlete might never have had the scholarship to begin with. Verbal agreements are non-binding; they do not guarantee you a spot on the roster or a scholarship. Even once you’ve signed your National Letter of Intent, your agreement might not include scholarship aid.
  • If you are injured, depending on the school you attend and whether it happened outside of games or practice, your scholarship can be pulled.
  • Coaches can decide not to renew your scholarship for the next year. This isn’t a case of the scholarship being “taken away” since they are typically only year-long contracts, but it can still come as a surprise to some student-athletes. Non-renewals can happen for various reasons, including a new coach joining the program, getting into trouble on or off the field, poor performance, etc.
  • If you are not eligible to compete for any reason—poor academics, not in good standing with the school, etc.—a coach is not likely to keep you on scholarship.


Division II colleges do offer athletic scholarships, but they typically follow a partial-scholarship model. This means that while full-ride scholarships are possible, they are not the norm. Instead, these colleges often provide partial scholarships to cover a portion of college expenses, allowing them to distribute scholarship funds across a larger number of athletes.

This model not only recognizes the skills and contributions of student-athletes but also aligns with the institutions’ budgetary constraints. Therefore, if you’re considering Division II colleges, it’s important to understand this scholarship structure and explore all available financial aid opportunities to support your academic and athletic journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can Division 2 colleges offer athletic scholarships?

Yes, Division 2 colleges can provide athletic scholarships to student-athletes. While Division 2 schools may not offer as many full-ride scholarships as Division 1 institutions, they still can award athletic aid to talented athletes. Division 2 colleges often offer a combination of athletic scholarships, academic scholarships, and other financial aid to help student-athletes pursue both their athletic and academic goals.

2. How do athletic scholarships at Division 2 colleges compare to those at Division 1 schools?

Athletic scholarships at Division 2 colleges are generally less comprehensive than those offered by Division 1 schools. Division 1 schools have more scholarship opportunities available and can offer full-ride scholarships to a larger number of athletes. In Division 2, scholarships are often partial, covering a portion of the student-athlete’s tuition and expenses. However, Division 2 schools may still provide a valuable opportunity for athletes to compete at a high level while receiving financial assistance.

3. Do Division 2 colleges have specific rules and regulations for athletic scholarships?

Yes, Division 2 colleges adhere to specific rules and regulations set by the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) regarding athletic scholarships. These regulations govern the number of scholarships a program can offer, the maximum amount of financial aid a student-athlete can receive, and other eligibility criteria. Student-athletes and their families must be familiar with NCAA rules to ensure compliance and to work closely with college coaches and the school’s athletic department during the recruitment process.

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