Can College planning through sports scholarships help your Child? This blog piece is for students and parents looking for information on College Scholarships with additional sections on Fencing Scholarships.

College planning through sports scholarships might be easy and simple for some but for others might not be so simple. If you are 7 feet tall and can dunk a basketball while wearing a blindfold, odds are you don’t need our help in finding a scholarship. The colleges are coming to you. But what happens if you’re a star athlete, unknown to college scouts, from an obscure high school? What if you beautifully succeed in a sport that few colleges offer direct scholarships for? Maybe, among many other academic and extracurricular activities, you have athletic talent but this is just one focus? Perhaps you plan on going to a small Division III school with a limited pool of scholarships?

If any of these describes your case, you may not have earned a big scholarship at your preferred college with your athletic ambition. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t incentives for athletic scholarship still waiting to be tapped. There are numerous organizations, corporations, athletic clubs and private benefactors hoping to create an opportunity for someone in your exact situation.

Athletic scholarship options vary from small donations for athletic gear and bigger contributions aimed at offsetting the full cost of your tuition. The competition for many of these scholarships is intense. But you’re an athlete and we know you’re not scared of a little rivalry.

As you proceed, take note that deadlines are always passing and new opportunities are always emerging. If a deadline for one of the opportunities below has passed, come back and visit in a few weeks for updates and changes. If you see anything out of place or are aware of any scholarship opportunities we might have missed, let us know! Good luck in your search!

Who gives out athletic scholarships?

Athletic scholarships are typically one-year agreements between the college and the athlete, although some are multi-year. They are offered at the NCAA DI and DII levels as well as at the NAIA and NJCAA levels combined. That’s thousands of schools. DIII colleges do not offer athletic scholarships. But many DIII student-athletes receive financial aid are full-ride scholarships for all 4 years? How much scholarship money can you get?

Fewer than 2 percent of high school student-athletes are offered athletic scholarships. These scholarships add up to over $3.1 billion annually for DI and DII 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 headcount or equivalency sport.

  • Headcount sports are always full rides. But they only include revenue sports: for men, that’s DI basketball and DI-A football; for women, it’s DI 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

Equivalency sports for DI men include baseball, rifle, skiing, cross-country, track, and field, soccer, fencing, swimming, tennis, gymnastics, volleyball, ice hockey, lacrosse, and wrestling. For DI 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 DII and NAIA sports are equivalency sports. This article details some ways coaches decide on scholarship amounts.

How do you get a full-ride athletic scholarship?

Most student-athletes do not receive a full-ride scholarship—in fact, only 1 percent do. Still, full-ride scholarships as the goal for many athletes because they typically cover tuition, fees, books, room, board, supplies, and sometimes even living expenses. If you receive a scholarship for a DI 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 DI might receive a larger scholarship at the DII level.

College Fencing Scholarships

Although it may not be a popular sport as football or other college sports, fencing has been in collegiate athletic programs for hundreds of years. Though not all schools offer it, some universities like Columbia, Penn State, Princeton, Notre Dame, Harvard St. John’s and U Penn have highly prestigious programs and offer generous financial aid and scholarships to well-qualified fencers.

Traditional fencing scholarships are competitive and require minimum GPA requirements, partly since the sport is not found at many colleges. As the sport grows in popularity in the United States, so will competition for scholarships. If you’re at all serious about fencing and your skill level is high, the sport could be something that not only gets you a good amount of scholarship money but lands you at a top university because of your unique skill.

The college-based scholarships you will find will most likely be partial scholarships. As schools with a tradition in the sport are interested in having a strong fencing team rather than one strong player they would award a full ride to. Even if you don’t end up playing at the collegiate level. Looking at clubs or intramural teams for scholarship opportunities or even a memorial scholarship that does not necessarily require you to compete at the college level.​

You need not to be one of the best fence players in the state to win a scholarship. You can always opt to play at colleges that have club or intramural teams. Organizations that offer fencing scholarships may put more weight on financial need, academic achievement or community service than the more competitive college-based awards. Check out some examples of where to find fencing scholarships below. For additional information about awards based on different criteria, try conducting a free college scholarship search at

College-Based Scholarships

If you plan on pursuing fencing in college, whether on the school-sponsored team or club level, your intended college could have funds and endowments for the sport. Often set up by alumni who have participated in the sport before you ever set foot on that campus. Schools like Notre Dame, Harvard and Stanford are well-known for their prestigious fencing programs. So your chances of participating on the teams will require not only high-level fencing skills but strong academics as well.

Make sure you do your research and talk to your financial aid office and athletic departments about local and college-based awards you could be eligible for. Communicating with the college fencing coach during your junior or senior year is highly recommended as well, to establish a relationship and good rapport – coaches will remember your initiative when it comes to considering you for a scholarship.

United States Fencing Association

The United States Fencing Association is the national governing body for fencing in the United States. It has several scholarships available to its members through its member clubs across the country. If you’re a member of U.S. Fencing or a U.S. Fencing-sanctioned state association or club. Research whether you’re eligible for awards through the organization. Since you may as well take advantage of your membership status.

If you have proven financial need, many of the local clubs will take that into consideration. if you’re really interested in joining. Presidio Fencing Club in Santa Barbara, for example, offers members scholarships through its Youth Fencers Assistance Program. Applicants are required to show a copy of their family’s tax returns. This is proof of financial need and maintain a GPA of at least 2.5. Consider all of your options when looking for funding to help you stay in fencing. As funding for the sport on the college level is not as plentiful as it is for more high-profile sports.