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Full Scholarships vs. Partial Scholarships

By 1001recruittips August 01, 2018

Most NCAA scholarships are not “full rides,” and it’s important to know because all schools vary with tuition costs, as well as the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition.

FULL SCHOLARSHIPS: Chances are more likely to receive a full NCAA DI or DII scholarship in “head count” sports — men’s and women’s basketball, football, women’s gymnastics, women’s tennis and women’s volleyball. Each sport is allowed a maximum number of scholarship athletes, these sports aren’t limited on the total amount of aid given.

Example: NCAA DI women’s volleyball teams may only carry 12 scholarship athletes, total, as a “head count” sport. The rules do not specify the amount of aid covered among those 12 athletes– all scholarships may be full.

Maximum Scholarship Limits: An institution shall be limited in any academic year to the total number of counters (head count) in each of the following sports:
Football (FBS) – 85
Football (FCS) – 63
Men’s Basketball – 13
Women’s Basketball – 15
Women’s Gymnastics – 12
Women’s Tennis – 8
Women’s Volleyball – 12

PARTIAL SCHOLARSHIPS: All other sports are considered “equivalency sports,” — each sport is allotted a maximum number of total scholarships (varies by sport) that they are able to offer and coaches are able to split up those scholarships among players as they want. Normally, scholarships cover one or multiple expenses including tuition, fees, room and board, books, supplies. For example, wrestling may be allowed to offer 9.9 scholarships per year total, and how that is distributed among the team is decided by the coach. Some athletes may receive tuition, room and board and books while others may just receive financial aid covering part of their tuition.

Example: NCAA Wrestling may only offer a maximum of 9.9 total scholarships, divided up among the roster as each coach decides, as an “equivalency sport.”

Maximum Scholarship Limits:

Men’s Sports: There shall be a limit on the value (equivalency) of financial aid awards (per that an institution may provide in any academic year to counters in the following men’s sports:
Cross Country/Track and Field – 12.6
Fencing – 4.5
Golf – 4.5
Gymnastics – 6.3
Lacrosse – 12.6
Rifle – 3.6
Skiing – 6.3
Soccer – 9.9
Swimming and Diving – 9.9
Tennis – 4.5
Volleyball – 4.5
Water Polo – 4.5
Wrestling – 9.9

Women’s Sports: There shall be a limit on the value (equivalency) of financial aid awards that an institution may provide in any academic year to counters in the following women’s sports:
Bowling – 5
Cross Country/Track and Field – 18
Equestrian – 15
Fencing – 5
Field Hockey – 12
Golf – 6
Rugby – 12
Skiing – 7
Soccer – 14
Softball – 12
Swimming and Diving – 14
Triathlon – 6.5
Water Polo – 8


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