Q&A: How Does My Player Get College Funding if He Does Not Qualify for a Scholarship?
Jim asks: What can my player do if he’s pretty good but not good enough to get a scholarship? Should he play club hockey or try and walk on at a DIII school, and then possibly try and get a partial scholarship later?
Answer: Every year there are at least 36,667 high school hockey players competing for less than 1,000 scholarships. Anyone who does the math will quickly realize that many talented players do not receive scholarship offers. Serious hockey players who want to continue to play at the collegiate level should not lose hope just because they are not invited to sign a national letter of intent. There are several other options to consider.
Athletic scholarships are only one way students can receive college funding. Many students collect significant college funding through academic scholarships and merit grants. Colleges and universities often award scholarships to students who meet specific academic requirements, and if a college coach is recruiting a player he may be able to pull for the individual in the admissions and financial aid offices to ensure that the student-athlete is not only accepted, but that he also receives the maximum financial package. Division III programs do not offer athletic scholarships but many Division III athletes receive substantial funding in the form of academic, merit and need based aid.
Club hockey is another avenue for student-athletes who want to continue their hockey careers at the college level. Club hockey teams range from very competitive to recreational. The degree to which a college funds the program also varies significantly. In most cases, club coaches do not have the ability to help athletes gain acceptance to college or receive financial assistance from the institution. Student-athletes may still receive academic and merit aid if their high school performance warrants the award.
In the end, it is important to evaluate college options as early as possible so a player will know their choices and make an educated decision on what college opportunity is right for them.
Editor’s Note: Thank you to NCSA for their response to this question.