Do D3 Schools Give Athletic Scholarships?

If you’re an aspiring student-athlete looking to pursue your athletic dreams while receiving a quality education, you may have wondered about the availability of athletic scholarships in Division III (D3) schools. Unlike Division I and Division II institutions, which offer athletic scholarships, D3 schools have a different approach to student-athlete recruitment and financial aid. In this article, we’ll explore the landscape of athletic scholarships in D3 schools and provide you with insights on what to expect.


As a student-athlete, finding the right balance between academics and athletics is crucial. While athletic scholarships are not directly offered in Division III schools, there are other forms of financial aid available to support student-athletes.

Why does D3 not give athletic scholarships?

Division III is one of the three divisions in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). It consists of over 450 colleges and universities that emphasize a well-rounded student-athlete experience. D3 schools prioritize academics and personal development, and they do not offer athletic scholarships based on athletic ability.

Recruitment and Financial Aid in D3 Schools

D3 schools focus on recruiting student-athletes who align with their academic and athletic values. Coaches play a significant role in identifying talented individuals who can contribute to their teams. While athletic ability is a factor, admissions decisions in D3 schools primarily revolve around academic achievements, character, and potential fit within the institution.

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Win Merit-Based Scholarships

D3 schools provide merit-based scholarships that are not directly tied to athletic performance. These scholarships are awarded based on academic achievements, leadership qualities, community involvement, or other exceptional talents. It’s important for student-athletes to excel not only on the field but also in the classroom to increase their chances of receiving merit-based scholarships.

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Need-Based Aid

Financial need can be a determining factor for receiving aid in D3 schools. The financial aid office assesses the family’s financial situation and determines the level of assistance required. Need-based aid can come in the form of grants, work-study programs, or loans. Student-athletes can apply for need-based aid by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and any additional forms required by the respective institutions.

Outside Scholarships

In addition to the scholarships offered by D3 schools, student-athletes can also explore external scholarships provided by organizations, foundations, or local communities. These scholarships are not restricted to Division III and can be based on athletic achievements, community involvement, or specific academic criteria. It’s essential to research and identify relevant scholarship opportunities early in the college search process.

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Balancing Academics and Athletics

One of the advantages of participating in athletics at a Division III school is the ability to have a well-rounded college experience. Student-athletes have the opportunity to excel academically while competing in their chosen sport. The emphasis on academics in D3 schools ensures that student-athletes receive the support they need to thrive in their studies.

Tips for Prospective Student-Athletes

If you’re considering pursuing athletics at a Division III school, here are some valuable tips to enhance your college search and application process:

  • The Importance of Research: Take the time to research various Division III schools that align with your academic and athletic goals. Look into their athletic programs, academic offerings, campus culture, and resources available for student-athletes. This will help you identify schools that are the right fit for you.
  • College Visits and Communication: Schedule visits to the schools you’re interested in to get a firsthand experience of the campus, meet with coaches, and interact with current student-athletes. Additionally, maintain open and consistent communication with coaches to express your interest and showcase your abilities.
  • Maintaining Eligibility: Familiarize yourself with the NCAA eligibility requirements and ensure you meet the academic and amateurism standards. Stay on top of your coursework and maintain good academic standing to remain eligible to compete.
  • The Role of Coaches: Coaches play a vital role in the recruitment process at Division III schools. They can provide guidance, evaluate your skills, and advocate for your admission. Establish a strong relationship with the coaches of your target schools and demonstrate your commitment and dedication.
  • Showcase Your Abilities: Attend showcases, tournaments, and camps where college coaches and recruiters may be present. This provides an opportunity for them to assess your skills firsthand. Create an athletic profile, highlight your achievements, and share it with coaches to increase your visibility.

Remember, although Division III schools may not offer athletic scholarships, the focus on academics, personal development, and the opportunity to compete in collegiate sports can be highly rewarding.


While Division III schools do not provide athletic scholarships, they offer alternative forms of financial aid, including merit-based scholarships and need-based assistance. Student-athletes in Division III can excel both academically and athletically, benefiting from a well-rounded college experience. By conducting thorough research, maintaining eligibility, and actively engaging with coaches, prospective student-athletes can find the right Division III school to pursue their athletic aspirations while obtaining a quality education.

FAQs For Do D3 Schools Give Athletic Scholarships?

  • Can student-athletes receive any financial assistance in Division III schools?

Yes, Division III schools offer merit-based scholarships and need-based aid to support student-athletes. However, these scholarships are not directly tied to athletic performance.

  • Are athletic scholarships available in Division I and Division II schools?

Yes, Division I and Division II schools offer athletic scholarships based on athletic ability, in addition to other forms of financial aid.

  • How can student-athletes increase their chances of receiving merit-based scholarships in Division III schools?

Student-athletes should focus on excelling academically, demonstrating leadership qualities, and engaging in community involvement to enhance their chances of receiving merit-based scholarships.

  • Can student-athletes apply for need-based aid in Division III schools?

Yes, student-athletes can apply for need-based aid by submitting the FAFSA and any additional forms required by the respective Division III institutions.

  • What are some resources for finding external scholarships for student-athletes?

There are various online scholarship databases, foundations, and community organizations that provide scholarships for student-athletes. Researching these resources and staying proactive in the search process can uncover valuable scholarship opportunities.


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